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P.E.I.'s provincial ski park still waiting to open

Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale makes snow whenever the temperatures are cold enough, but the park is still not open due to a mild start to winter.
Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale makes snow whenever the temperatures are cold enough, but the park is still not open due to a mild start to winter. - Alison Jenkins
BROOKVALE, P.E.I. —

Skiers are having to wait a little longer than usual to hit the slopes or trails in Brookvale this year.

The Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park, located at 2018 and 1800 Route 13, hasn’t been able to welcome visitors for snow sports yet due to the mild temperatures. The two park facilities include a downhill ski park and lodge and a cross-country skiing, tubing, biathlon, snowshoeing and fat-biking facility.

Erin Curley, assistant superintendent of the park, said her team members are working whenever and however they can to be ready, but it all depends on the weather.

“We’ll open as soon as we can. (We) can’t really make a plan because we have been experiencing a milder pre-season than we would like, so getting snowmaking done (with) storms and the rain in between has certainly been a challenge,” she said. “We’d love to be open. We miss seeing our customers and wish we could be open for them right now.”

A snow gun at the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale pumps out snow when the temperatures are cold enough. - Alison Jenkins
A snow gun at the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale pumps out snow when the temperatures are cold enough. - Alison Jenkins

 

Despite the slow start, Curley remains optimistic.

“It’s been later in the past,” said Curley. “We’re not concerned at this point. There’s nothing you can do. The weather is what it is, and we have to rely on Mother Nature to help us out, whether it be in the form of a snowstorm or cold temperatures to make snow.”

Curley said staffing levels are lower than when the park is open, but there are several people at work completing projects and making sure the park and facilities will be ready to open as soon as the weather makes it possible.

Even when the hill and trail are open, the number of employees on site varies depending on how busy the park is.

“We’re very much a weather-dependent business. The nice days, people come out. The somewhat colder days you see fewer people,” she said.

A snow gun at the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale pumps out snow when the temperatures are cold enough. - Alison Jenkins
A snow gun at the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale pumps out snow when the temperatures are cold enough. - Alison Jenkins

 

For now, she’s playing it all by ear.

“We can’t really plan for anything, unfortunately. We’re taking it day-by-day and watching the weather, making snow when we can and trying to keep everything ready to go when that weather does seem to be on our side.”

Curley encouraged everyone who is waiting to enjoy the parks to follow the park on social media, check the park website or call the snowphone.

Alison Jenkins is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government.

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