Majority of Marble’s ski slopes will be ready for Boxing Day
The Newman family of Corner Brook have long known where they will be and what they will be doing Dec. 26.
Chris Beckett, general manager of Marble Mountain, is seen at the base of the mountain Tuesday with the snow guns making the powder in the background. — Photo by Geraldine Brophy/The Western Star
“If Marble is open, we will be there,” said Stephanie, a mother of two.
After days of near constant snowfall, leading to back-breaking work for just about everybody, there is at least one group of people with smiles on their faces as they move snow around.
The crew at Marble Mountain has been looking skyward with their arms outstretched, but they haven’t been praying to the snow gods for a break. This December has actually been a stark contrast from recent winters, and the snow guns have been firing away on the slopes for about a week.
There have been no warm spells, no downpours, and the cold streak has been ideal for snowmaking. The area has also been dumped with plenty of snow to help efforts along.
That is exactly the type of winter a family like the Newmans desire. Stephanie and her husband Sheldon, both of Corner Brook, have been enjoying the slopes throughout their lives.
Now it’s a family activity. Jenna, 11, and Andrew, 9, both have about four years experience on their skis, and carve up all slopes on the hill, from novice to expert.
Stephanie is anxious for another ski season to begin.
“I’m like a kid on Christmas Day,” she said.
Despite the ideal winter conditions, Chris Beckett, general manager of Marble Mountain, said there has not been any skiing yet. Conditions are just not conducive, he said, and they won’t be until the Dec. 26 opening.
There is quite a bit of work to do to get ready for the start of the season, and not all slopes will be available when the lifts roar to life Boxing Day.
The east side of the mountain will not be ready —unless there is a major snow storm between now and then — but the majority of slopes elsewhere will be a go.
“We have lots of natural snow, not quite enough to get us open, but we have lots of man-made as well,” Beckett said. “We are pushing that around on the west side of the mountain, and getting those trails ready to open.”
With enough snow made on most of the west side, efforts are being concentrated on other parts. The base of the mountain will be a priority, with the Caribou Road and Jigger runs getting a lot of attention before opening day.
It has been an easier feeling among staff so far this year, acknowledged Beckett. Three years ago the hill didn’t open until late January — and then only with limited upper slopes.
“It’s looking real good,” he said of the slopes. “The biggest thing is, it has been cold for such a long period of time that we have been able to make more snow than we have in the last couple of years. We have lots of natural snow, which has been great, but it has been cold for a week — and that is enormous for us, from a snowmaking perspective.”
Beckett said skiers are anxious to get on the slopes, and staff are excited about the prospects of seeing them.