Wapiti Ski Resort in Elkford has renewed its operating agreement with the province for long-term viability support lasting 30 years.
The ski hill worked with the province to create a master plan that gives them the opportunity to grow the resort and possibly add attractions like snow tubing and a ski and snowboard school in the winter and cycling in the summer.
“The master plan is the basis of the operating agreement. The operating agreement now would allow for tubing, skiing, mountain biking, and a snow sports school as well,” said Scott Beeching, Director of Planning and Development Services, and Wapiti volunteer. “The ski hill is run by a volunteer organization and it gives them more options to make the hill more viable.”
The renewed agreement gives the Elkford area more attractions for its inhabitants and will also bring more people to Wapiti and the surrounding areas.
“It gives us another amenity to the community and attracts visitors. I volunteer at the rental shop there. People will come in and we start talking and I ask them where they are from and they say Calgary. When I ask what they are doing in Elkford, they say that the ski hill brought them here,” said Beeching.
The hill features 14 runs with 1,000 vertical feet of elevation. The resort is run entirely by volunteers and includes a fully trained ski patrol. Wapiti gets over 350cm of snow every year and offers a terrain park, day lodge, lessons and rentals. Another factor that bring skiers and snowboarders to the area is the day pass price.
“There have been people from England, and when I asked them what they thought of the ski hill they said they really liked it because it was smaller and I think the cost is only $20 compared to other resorts who charge upwards of $80. They’re beginners and they would much rather pay $20 than $80 because the hill is more appropriate for them,” said Beeching.
Wapiti has instilled itself within the minds of many more experienced riders as well.
“When we were doing the master plan, we had a few guys from the province come out and on their way from Kamloops they stopped at every resort. They came to Elkford on a Thursday, the hill opens on weekends so we started the lift for them so they ended up having the whole hill to themselves and we had 40 or 50 cm of powder that week so they had fresh tracks,” said Beeching. “They loved it, I caught up with them after their trip and they said the only thing they talked about on the way back was Elkford. After skiing all the areas around here Elkford left the biggest impressions on them and that’s pretty cool.”