A snowy ski season possible for Wapiti ski hill

Wapiti Ski Hill may soon have snowmaking capabilities, depending on the outcome of a future feasibility assessment.

Wapiti Ski Hill may soon have snowmaking capabilities, depending on the outcome of a future feasibility assessment. The District of Elkford applied for the B.C. Rural Dividend Grant in May, and was awarded $10,000. The money will be used to hire a consultant who will conduct a feasibility study for snow making at Wapiti ski hill.

Scott Beeching, director of planning and development services for Elkford told The Free Press the project has a timeline of three months which will including hiring a consultant that has experience in snowmaking and the operations of a small scale ski resort.

“The consultant will work with District staff and the Ski Club to compile local and industry standard information and apply it to the Ski Hill then the consultant could determine the feasibility of such a project,” he said.

According to Beeching, the feasibility study was identified because of the lack of snow over the past two ski seasons, which forced the ski hill to be closed during peak weekends and holidays.

“Weather is a challenge and the Ski Club cannot rely on the snowfall. Temperatures are conducive to pre-Christmas and December openings but the average season starts in January because there is not enough snow cover,” he said. “The Christmas/ New Year holiday week can be very lucrative; unpredictable opening and closing makes it difficult to plan and budget year to year.”

Snow making capabilities would provide the Wapiti Ski hill with a stable snow base making for a more predictable and lucrative season.

“A reliable schedule will enable users from out of town to plan vacations with greater certainty,” said Beeching. “The positive social impacts of the ski hill cannot be understated, as the hill has been a focal point during the winter for many years. This project is building off existing infrastructure and should have little environmental impact, the water source has been identified and a water license will not be difficult to obtain.”

The study will aim to determine what investments would be needed to equip the ski hill and how it would affect the business of Wapiti and its surrounding community.

“The first step of the project would be to identify existing programs, assets and infrastructure that are in place that support snow making. Then to determine the cost and source for additional equipment and infrastructure that would be required, identify man-hours and training to operate the equipment,” said Beeching. “The final step would be an analysis to determine what would be required [for] marketing and promotion, to ensure the project is sustainable and meets the goal to build capacity for economic growth in the community.”

According to Beeching, a reliable snow pack and schedule will benefit more than just vacationers.

“Wapiti Ski Club has, in the past, had two full-time ski patrollers and employs more than 30 students, however none of these positions were filled the last two seasons. This number will increase as required as the predictable and expanded season requires, mostly seasonal with some year round jobs,” he said. “Experienced construction and trades people will be required at the installation stage and local tourism should increase benefiting retail sales, accommodation, food and beverage providers.”

 

Just Posted

Mountain biker rescued

An injured mountain biker has been rescued by Fernie Search and Rescue.

Cameras to capture airborne dust

The District of Sparwood will install two cameras to document airborne dust caused by a nearby mine.

Housing affordability in spotlight

Elkford residents will soon learn the results of a survey on affordable housing for seniors.

Veteran golfer reflects on club anniversary

With a spring in his step, Patsy Caravetta hops up the steps… Continue reading

30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The weather could stay well into next week, according to Environment Canada

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

B.C. NHL prospect expected to make ‘full recovery’ after an incident in Calgary

Jordy Bellerive was injured in a reported house fire Saturday night

BC Lions defensive back Marcell Young levels streaker in home opener

Young hit the fan near one of the 45-yard lines

Police: Taxi driver who hit 8 Moscow pedestrians fell asleep

Two Mexican World Cup fans were among those hit

B.C. VIEWS: Orphans of our urban drug culture neglected again

Child advocate Bernard Richard leaves B.C. with harsh message

From marijuana beer to pot cookies, Canadian companies creating cannabis edibles

Manufacturers think that edibles will do well with users who don’t want to smoke or vape

Privacy lawyer warns against victim blaming in recent sextortion scams

Perpetrators get sexual photos of the victim and threaten to share them with friends and families

QB Jennings leads Lions to 22-10 win over Alouettes

B.C. wins CFL home opener over Montreal

Most Read