Many local skiers and snowboarders have taken to social media to express frustration at the timing of Marble Mountain Resort’s closure.
Skiers and snowboarders head towards the lift for another run down the slopes at Marble Mountain in this 2012 photo. Some users of the ski slopes are disgruntled because the resort has closed, despite lots of snow. — Western Star file photo
The hill closed for the season last Sunday with plenty of snow still on the slopes.
Since then many frustrated users have posted on the Marble Mountain Accountability Coalition, claiming the hill should still be open.
The group had more than 160 likes as of mid-week and while the group is looking for improvements in a number of areas at Marble, many user comments reflect the notion the slopes were shut down too early this year.
One longtime skier who’s spoken up about the issue is Joe Dicks of Steady Brook. Dicks has had a ski pass for more than 20 years and said the closure this year, combined with low volumes of skiers, amounts to another missed opportunity for the resort.
Closing a ‘problem’
“As far as I’m concerned, closing during a weekend where there’s an opportunity is a problem,” Dicks said Wednesday.
“When you have something to sell and you can’t sell it, that’s a shame isn’t it?”
Dicks said the provincial government has placed too much emphasis on making Marble a four-season resort when the bulk of revenues come during the three months the hill is open to skiers and snowboarders.
With the cafeteria and bar not being used fully and with passes getting more expensive, he said the time has come for a solid operational review.
“It has less to do with skiing and more to do with running the four-season mandate,” Dicks said. “I’m here to support the ski hill. If the government wants to be involved with developing a regional economic driver, then they need to support that vision with funding.”
He said he hopes the Facebook page can help lead to a larger discussion about how to run the hill in a more efficient, user-friendly manner.
“People are asking why it isn’t better than it is,” he said. “That’s enough of a question to say let’s have a look at this and see what we need to do to make this opportunity real. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the public asking questions.”
Meanwhile Marble general manager Chris Beckett said while there were discussions in early March about keeping the hill open into April, it would simply be too costly.
He said guest interest tends to wane at this time of the season. He said to remain open wouldn’t be fiscally responsible even with less than the full crew of 120 employees and reduced runs or hours.
“We run out of skiers and snowboarders before we do snow,” Beckett said. “Even with one lift, there’s a lot of people you need behind the scenes to be operating”
Beckett said he was aware of the disappointment among users and said he appreciates the passion and desire to continue using the slopes.