Mother Nature helps hills kick off ski season early

Eager skiers and boarders were able to hit the hills early this year at the four major ski resorts in the Banff area of the Canadian Rockies.

While Norquay was the first ski hill to open to sliders, Nakiska, Lake Louise and Sunshine were not far behind.

Simon Moffatt, director of sales and marketing at Norquay, said the hill was the first resort to open in Canada, on Friday, Nov. 3 with approximately 400 guests showing up.

“We had several park features set up, great coverage across the run that was open, and many people were scoring powder turns just beyond the run itself,” said Moffatt.

He said that the best snowmaking conditions for Norquay were in the four days and nights prior to opening.

On Wednesday and Thursday before the hill opened, there was more than 40 cm of snow accumulated, to help create great early season conditions.

Just Lake It: Jasper Johnson, Communications Manager, stands inside the Lodge of Ten Peaks on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. Johnson was happy that the opening date was pushed three days earlier to ease the rush of opening weekend skiers. (Photo by Jessie Foster/The Press)

Matt Mosteller, the senior vice president of marketing and resort Experience for Nakiska, is excited about the new run they have created off the Silver Chair.

“We’re so stoked about having the biggest snowmaking system in Alberta, as that really helps us open up so many ski runs early for guests to enjoy,” said Mosteller.

Mosteller said the snow-making guns have been going since October and that he would like to give a big thank you to Mother Nature for providing some of the “deepest early season snow ever.”

Due to snowfall, Lake Louise was able to open on Tuesday, Nov, 7, three days before the originally scheduled kick-off date.

Event supervisor Leigha Stankewich was happy to announce that they had the opportunity to give away a $200 gift card to one of the riders who started arriving as early as 6 a.m. on opening day.

“We were surprised with having just under 600 people at the resort, which is pretty surreal for a Tuesday,” said Stankewich.

To keep the excitement high, Lake Louise organized a marshmallow roast sponsored by the hill’s outerwear sponsor, North Face, on Friday, Nov. 10.

North Face was busy giving away stickers, toques, sunglasses and water bottles to anyone wearing their brand.

Kicking Horse Coffee was also there sampling its new canned Cold Brews.

Kickass Coffee: Jesse Millen from Kicking Horse Coffee shows off the company’s new canned cold brews at Lake Louise on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. Before 9:30 a.m. on opening weekend he had already given away upwards of a hundred cans. He had three different varieties to offer, medium roast, dark roast and the kick ass brew. (Photo by Jessie Foster/The Press)

Jesse Millen, a tour manager, was marketing the coffee cans to the “mountain-minded people of Lake Louise,” before heading to the Vancouver area as well as the island.

Robert Colwell wasn’t at Lake Louise for the marshmallows or the sticker giveaways. Instead, he was stomping his boots to be one of the first skiers Friday to ride the chair.

“I couldn’t believe they opened on Tuesday, I thought I’d be the first one up for the year,” said Colwell.

“I’m still very excited for the day to start.”

These go-getter enthusiasts aren’t about to let a little bit of rock and pre-season conditions get in the way of enjoying a day on the hill.

Spread the stoke, get the amp going and kick-off the season right. – Jasper Johnson

Kendra Scurfield, the media and communications manager for Sunshine Village, says conditions were above average for November, which allowed them to open two days earlier than planned.

“The snow pack is not at its peak,” said Scurfield.

“Therefore, we do advise skiers and snowboarders to ‘ski aware’ as there may be unmarked hazards on the slope.”

Communications and marketing manager Jasper Johnson, from Lake Louise, wanted to remind everyone to “spread the stoke, get the amp going and kick-off the season right.”

About Jessica Foster 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Jessica Foster worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.