CLARENVILLE, NL— Clarenville’s White Hills Resort, as of April 9, is officially closed for the 2018 season.
Resort manager Chris Sheppard, who took on the job in November, 2017, says the resort had a rough start but a strong finish.
“We had a rough start, with the lack of snow; we never had a lot of cooperation from Mother Nature, but I think we made the best of it,” explained Sheppard.
“We had lots of positive feedback from our clients… things got quite busy once we got some snow. Our school groups were able to rebook and get out here and our weekends picked up with our regular clientele.
“Things balanced out with a rough start, and then a positive finish.”
He also said the numerous events hosted by the resort, which included food festivals and outdoor events like the “dummy downhill” get together, were a success with both old and new clientele, adding ideas for possible summer events are being passed around, but no final decisions have been made.
It’s still unknown when the $75,000 loan due the town will be paid back.
“We’re still looking at that. It’ll be into next year for sure,” Sheppard explained.
He added it’s not that unusual for the Alpine Development Alliance Corporation board to borrow money from the town and pay it back over a period of a year or two years.
“It’s not as unusual as people think it is,” he concluded.
In addition to the loans, this year’s municipal budget included a $25,000 capital contribution to help offset expenses.
Sheppard also said they’re till finalizing their final numbers, and that any income won’t be known until after April.
Expenses and revenue both vary on a monthly basis, Sheppard explained. He noted that a lot of costs, such as snow making, are upfront, and that monthly costs are tied directly to how many clients they have.
Even after a mild, rainy winter, Sheppard said plans for next year’s season are already in the works.
“We’re always planning and trying to do new and exciting things. For next year we’ll have our events calendar out much further in advance so people can plan their weekends around those events. For the first time you’ll be able to buy your lift passes and season passes online, and we’re also working with the town to do a strategic plan around possibly converting the hill into a bike park for the summers.”