After an arsonist destroyed the top lift hut of Kimberley Alpine Resort’s main chairlift the night of opening day, the future of the season and what it would look like was uncertain at best.
The loss of the main artery to the ski hill coupled with the constantly-evolving pandemic resulted in year that was more challenging for resort staff and guests than anyone could have anticipated, but with the season complete, KAR’s management’s statements are focused on gratitude and the resilience of the community.
“We would like to thank all of our season pass holders and everyone who came up to the resort for their support this winter. It has admittedly been a challenging winter, but we have been inspired to work hard and do more by the resilience and positivity of the skiers and riders, and of the business community, in Kimberley,” said KAR’s area manager Ted Funston.
“We love to see how challenging times in Kimberley don’t seem to break us apart but instead how they just seem to make us better and bring us together. It’s a big part of why we’re proud to be a part of the community.”
At the season end festivities on Sunday, April 10, Funston told the crowd of attendees that the lift repair is on schedule and going along smoothly.
“All the critical parts have been ordered and Leitner-Poma has very generously prioritized our re-build in their production schedule,” Funston said. “We look forward to reconstruction through the spring and summer to be ready in the fall for next ski season. We can’t wait to be back in full operation next winter and see everyone back up here.”
Funston had numerous businesses to thank for helping KAR get through the season and keep people recreating on the mountain. From New Dawn Developments who lent equipment, Bridge Interiors for providing tents, Kimberley Rotary for lending their barbecue trailer and Dreadnaught Racing for the use of their safety fences.
Then there is Revelstoke Mountain, Castle Mountain and Kicking Horse Mountain resorts who lent snowcat shuttles, providing an additional solution for getting people up the hill.
“We would also like to thank all our staff who worked harder than ever this winter, and who had to be flexible and patient as our operations changed on a regular basis,” Funston added. “We couldn’t have done it without them! We really look forward to celebrating the season with them at our first staff party in two years next week.”
The resort pulled out all the stops to close out the season strong, with three back to back weekends packed with entertainment, starting with the Shred Kelly Concert, followed by North Star Days and finally the final weekend of the year featuring the triumphant return of Spring Splash and the Dummy Downhill.
Saturday’s Spring Splash was a huge hit, with dozens of contestants braving the steep slope, quick jump and cold plunge in front of an enthusiastic audience.
Saturday also featured the music of The Hip Replacements, a premier Tragically Hip tribute band coming all the way from Kelowna to perform. Gary the Cat, the social media sensation who made several appearances at the resort over the winter, was also in attendance giving adoring fans the chance to get a photo with the illustrious feline.
Sunday was the last day of the season and it definitely went out with a bang, as a couple dozen ingeniously designed dummies sailed off a ramp to their demise, before being plundered by a hoard of excited children.
This year featured some truly special designs, such as the Sully Van Mine-Ski, the result of 20 years of development, celebrating the history of the Sullivan Mine, or “President Zalenskyy Kremlin Krasher” that soared higher into the ski than any other dummy and was met with thunderous applause.
Kimberley’s Leather Apron Revival provided the soundtrack for evening after all the dummies came to their final resting place, capping off a great weekend and a ski season that won’t soon be forgotten at Kimberley Alpine Resort.