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djspookman said:The cold yesterday did not deter anyone at Magic. The place was packed for NYE weekened! Never seen it so busy on on a NYE weekend in the past 11 years! Snow was great, temps LOW, but tolerabe.
The cold yesterday did not deter anyone at Magic. The place was packed for NYE weekened! Never seen it so busy on on a NYE weekend in the past 11 years! Snow was great, temps LOW, but tolerabe.
Deep freeze hurts ski hill operationsacross Canada after promising start
U.S. skiers who bought vacation packages are skiing despite frigidtemperatures
TheCanadian Press Posted: Dec 29, 2017 1:09 PM MT Last Updated: Dec 29, 2017 2:15PM MT
Bitter cold enveloping much of Canada has reduced the number ofskiers on the slopes during the key Christmas holiday season, blunting industryoptimism boosted by good early snow conditions and strong foreign visitorinterest due to the weak Canadian dollar.
As Environment Canada issued extreme cold alerts for parts ofB.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, the Mont Orford ski area east of Montrealannounced it would close for the day on Thursday to ensure guest safety. Thecold snap is expected to last all weekend.
It was –23 C at Sunshine Village in Banff National Park atmidday on Friday, and Kendra Scurfield, a spokesperson for theresort, said that was keeping some would-be skiers off the slopes.
"It has been a bit slower," she said.
"But luckily, we do have Canada's only heatedchairlift."
Dan Markham with Lake Louise Ski Resort said there were fewervisitors than they'd typically see at this time of year but the slopes were farfrom deserted.
"There's a lot of hardy souls out there," he said.
Fewer skiers out east
At Mont Tremblant to the north of Montreal, the slopes wereactive with vacation package buyers, many from the United States, according toAnnique Aird, vice-president of sales and marketing.
"It turned cold here the last few days which is making itmore challenging but people are dressing well and still skiing. The upside isthe really blue sky days," she said.
She conceded the resort is seeing fewer day visitors because ofthe low temperatures.
The picture was less optimistic at Mount St. Louis Moonstone,about 145 kilometres north of Toronto, which has no onsite accommodation andrelies on day skiers to fill its slopes, with about 30 per cent of its annualvisits during the Christmas season.
"The 27th, 28th and 29th should be the busiest days of theChristmas holidays and our attendance so far has been about half of what wenormally have," said general manager Robert Huter. He added the cold meansskiers are missing out on "unbelievable snow conditions for this time ofyear."
Cold all across the west
In most ski regions in the West, temperatures were also inthe –20s C.
Some hills were changing the way they offer services such as skilessons, with more frequent breaks to warm up, because of the cold butChristopher Nicolson, CEO of the Canada West Ski Areas Association, said hehadn't heard of any closings.
He said people who pre-booked their vacations for the holidayswill come anyway, but the cold will discourage local skiers.
"I think overall the industry is quite optimistic we'regoing to have a good year," he said, pointing out the low value of theCanadian dollar versus the U.S. greenback is diverting more internationalguests to Canada and keeping Canadians at home.
The dollar is trading at around 80 cents US, up from about 74cents US a year ago. It was at par about five years ago.
The exchange rate is giving Canada a big advantage over U.S.resorts, and an early shortage of snow in the western U.S. is exaggerating thetrend, said Mike Colbourn, president of SnoCountry.com, an American site thattracks snow conditions at resorts throughout North America.
"When you're planning your destination ski vacation, andyou're looking east and you're looking west, it's a compelling argument to goto these world-class resorts (in Canada) if you're watching your dollars,"he said.
U.S. resorts offering discounts
He said many U.S. resorts are offering discounts to bettercompete with their Canadian rivals.
Yves Juneau, CEO of the Quebec Ski Areas Association, said thenumber of U.S. visitors to Quebec ski resorts last year rose 32 per cent to242,000, the highest in at least three seasons, and the trend is continuingthis year.
He said the cold weather is hurting Quebec hills, with somereporting as much as 80 per cent fewer skiers than normal.
Some ski resorts have also been closing early or cutting back onnight skiing under an arrangement with Hydro Quebec to reduce electricity usageduring times of high demand, a situation also linked to the extreme coldweather.
"It's really significant. For us, the Christmas season is aportion of the year we can't miss," said Juneau. "Fortunately, we hada strong season start so that gave us a bit of a cushion."
The cold weather isn't affecting all of Canada's major skiresorts.
At Whistler-Blackcomb, 120 kilometres north of Vancouver, theforecast Friday was for a high of minus 8 C, with 15 centimetres of new snow.
"We're getting hammered with snow right now and have seen30 centimetres in two days," said spokesman Marc Riddell. "Around 96-to 97-per cent of our terrain is open."
He said snow conditions allowed the resort to open a week earlythis year but wouldn't comment on attendance.
Withfiles from CBC News
© The Canadian Press, 2017
Ski Conditions Report: A detailed report describing the snow conditions on the mountain the day of your visit. Skiers should become familiar with the following snow surface descriptions: Ice: Packed Powder, Slush: Packed Powder, Frozen Granular: Packed Powder , Packed Powder - A thin covering of snow over bare earth.