Mogul, slopestyle and bordercross courses are now open at Canyon Ski Resort.
The new trails were built this summer ahead of the 2019 Canada Winter Games. They opened to the public when the hill opened on Nov. 11 – the earliest opening in the resort’s history.
“It feels good we were able to open the same time as the mountain resorts,” said David Martel, resort general manager. “A lot of the hard work we put in the off-season was worth it.”
The snow-making system was upgraded in the off-season, which is a big reason the resort opened so soon.
The resort will host some skiing and snowboarding events for the 2019 Games.
Trees were chopped down to make room for the new trails and earthwork projects were completed with dirt during the summer.
“It’s a little bit more efficient if you can get that base template made of dirt rather than snow,” Martel said.
This winter will be treated as a trial period for those trails heading into the Canada Winter Games. Any problems will be fixed in the off-season.
Martel said the feedback for the new trails has been tremendous.
The resort has also opened up more beginner terrain. This is the first year the double chair lift will bring people to beginner runs; in the past only the triple chair could be used for beginner run access.
Martel said he wants beginners to strive on the hills.
“If we aren’t teaching people how to ski, we would get those intermediate and expert skiers years from now,” he said.
Plenty of people have been to the resort since mid-November, but the cold weather around Christmas has kept some people away.
The resort closed for the day Friday due safety reasons after temperatures dropped to -30 C.
“It’s an unfortunate time this weather has come – this is a time people like to come out to ski with family and friends. Being a seasonal business, it’s not something we want to see, but that’s the nature of the beast,” Martel said.
There is only one winding road that can bring people to the resort.
Road maintenance is one of the most important parts of the operation, Martel said, adding the most common visitors during the week are school groups.
“We can have up to 20 school buses a day coming down that road so that road is definitely a priority for us.
“We do get that some people have different senses of comfort when they drive, but our lodge is at the bottom of this hill,” said Martel.
If the parking is full at the resort or the weather is too bad to get to the bottom of the hill, there resort opens up a parking lot at the top of the hill.
People can buy a ticket and ski down the hill from there; however there is no place to rent equipment and no warm building to change in.
There are no plans to open a lodge at the top of the hill, but it’s possible in the long term, said Martel.
The skiing season at Canyon wraps up at the end of March.