For many people, winter means having to wear a parka and storing a just-in-case shovel in the car.
But for others, winter represents ski season. And for all those Central Alberta ski and snowboard enthusiasts, Canyon Ski Resort is opening early.
In fact, the ski hill was the first to open in Western Canada for the 2018-19 season. Co-owner Robyn Martel said this is a first in the ski resort’s history.
She said there’s one ski resort that opened earlier in Quebec, but Canyon is the first to open in Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba this winter.
“This is Canyon Ski Resort’s earliest openings ever.”
Snow guns, which supplement natural snow, were fired off around midnight Sunday and everything came together in four days to open up Thursday evening. The four-day turnaround is another first for the ski hill.
Martel said some of the other “big boy” ski resorts that Canyon competes with, such as Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Nakiska Ski Area, plan to open Friday.
The resort is also excited to be part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games this season. Martel said the ski hill will host freestyle skiing and snowboarding events for the Games.
“This is a national-level competition, so we’re going to see the best of the best in Canada come out and compete. Obviously, we all know these are potentially future Olympians,” she said.
“These events would be the biggest ones Canyon has ever hosted.”
The Canyon Ski Resort’s Facebook page was buzzing recently when a clearance sale of skis, snowboards and boots was announced. The leftover inventory will be donated to the Canadian Ski Patrol.
“There are a lot of parents who look for used equipment for their kids because they grow up quite quickly,” said Martel.
The ski resort offers night skiing three times a week, snow tubing and various ski and snowboard programs, according to its website.
The ski hill will be open Thursday evening from 5 to 9 p.m, Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. over the weekend.