With serious snow on the way, ski hills stoked for big year

If long-range weather predictions are right, this could be the year that makes ski fanatics forget the bare hills and warm days of recent seasons.

While most people could care less, to skiers and snowboarders, this compares to having 13 days of rain in July.

Matt Mosteller, also known as “Powder Matt,” is a self-proclaimed ski bum who, after searching far and wide for the best snow, found himself in the small mountain town of Fernie, B.C.

Mosteller is the senior vice-president of resort experience for Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, the company that owns Fernie Alpine Resort, and other resorts in Alberta and British Columbia.

“From all counts, including all the major weather services, it looks to be epic,” said Mosteller of the year ahead, in terms of snowfall.

“You should get those fat skis quickly.”

The Weather Network hasn’t divulged its winter weather forecast yet. However, it will be available to the public in November.

Without the official forecast, it’s hard to say exactly what’s coming for Western Canada.

Nevertheless, snow had already fallen in the high country of Alberta and British Columbia.

Resorts like Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Fernie have already received multiple noteworthy shipments of snow, leading them to start building trails and preparing for their respective opening days.

“We are preparing for this winter with loads of summer grooming to prepare the slopes, and a new winch cat for those who still like groomers on those epic pow days,” said Mosteller.

Large amounts of snow means that resorts will have their hands full keeping their runs bombed and groomed, limiting the inbound risk factor of skiing.

Nevertheless, there is always a fair number of skiers who wish to travel past the boundary line and into the back country.

This yearning for fresh turns and outstanding GoPro clips may put skiers deep into avalanche country, a place where gear can make, or break survival.

“In regards to gear that stands out from the rest, I would have to go with the new Voltair Avalanche Airbag from Arcteryx,” said Nic Monod, John Monod’s grandson.

John Monod is the owner of Monod Sports, a ski shop known across Canada.

Monod Sports is well-known now that Tatum Monod, Nic’s younger sister, has broken into the world of professional skiing.

Nic Monod also happens to be the third generation in his family to run the shop in Banff, instilling a wealth of knowledge and insight into the world of ski gear.

Nobody wants to be caught in an avalanche, however, it is an inherent risk of the activity and being well prepared is essential. The Voltair Avalanche Airbag from Arcteryx is an element that can be used multiple times, and it relies on a battery-powered inflation technology.

“The bag is one of the more lightweight airbags on the market and can be deployed 20 times in cold temperatures,” said Nic Monod.

Quality and design of the equipment is another factor to consider.

“The K2 Marksman Ski is an asymmetrical design in which left and right designated skis offer enhanced and unmatched outside edge control, the Marksman is meant to help you play all over the mountain, and use your whole ski while doing it,”said Monod.

Having new gear every year with the latest technology would be optimal, yet not exactly attainable for most skiers due to the rising cost of equipment.

That leads most ski resort patrons to hold onto their gear for multiple seasons or for as long as they can.

“Ski’s aren’t cheap, and it’s good to take care of your stuff,”said Nigel Moss, head service technician at Ski Cellar Snowboard, in Calgary.

He recently moved from Fernie and has worked in ski shops for the past four years.

Moss makes sure the equipment that passes through his hands receives the best treatment and service possible.

“Getting your skis serviced is very important, not only to help keep them functioning as well as they did when they were brand new, but to help prolong the life of them,” he said.

This ski season is aiming to be memorable according to weather predictions.

“All indications show strong sales and advanced bookings for this winter. I think people are pretty stoked for winter snowfall predictions,” said Mosteller.

About William Bewcyk 5 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, William Bewcyk is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2016-17 academic year.