Weather slowing down opening of Optimist Hill in Saskatoon

0
18
accureweather

The closest thing to hitting the mountain slopes for Saskatoon families this winter may be Optimist Hill.

Bradley Sylvester, who is president of the hill operator OSP Community Development Corporation, said the first full season got cut short when the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the province.

“We started up in the middle of December (2019) and we had a good year until (March) 17th,” Sylvester said.

“Had COVID not come along, we still had probably another four weeks of operations, really good spring skiing, because the hill was in awesome shape, the weather was perfect until about the 10th of April and, of course, we couldn’t be on the hill after (March) 17th, everything was shut down.”

For this upcoming season at the toboggan hill in Diefenbaker Park, Sylvester is optimistic in uncertain times.

“Given the pandemic year and we know there’s a lot of families that aren’t going to leave the city or the province this year for vacation. Even considering going to Alberta or to other places in Canada, some families are hesitant to do that, given what’s going on with COVID. So we anticipate a very busy year,” he said.

“We kind of compare ourselves a little bit to the golf business. Golf didn’t have tournaments this year but they sure had a lot more people using their facilities for a few regular rounds of golf. And they actually attracted a whole bunch of new people that never golfed before, mainly because there was a lack of other things to do.

“Team sports are still kind of parked right at the moment. It’s just another thing to do when you’re in Saskatoon and in the winter.”

Despite the city receiving large amounts of snow in early November, Sylvester said the weather has not been co-operating enough to set a concrete start date for opening the hill.

“Even though we had a ton of snow and everybody knows we had a ton of snow, we still don’t have enough snow at the hill … You get to the top of the hill and none of the snow stayed and we need a bunch of snow up there. So we actually have to make some snow and the weather’s not co-operating,” Sylvester said.

“We would have been open as soon as we could have in early December. It’s starting to look like mid-December now. It might be the second or even the third week of December … (depends) on how the weather goes and that’s normal for ski hill operations.”

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, measures will be in place to make this a safe season for skiing, snowboarding and tubing.

“We’re going to be 100 per cent masked, masks required at all times on the hill, medical exemptions are not allowed on the site… We’ll use the term face covering, so a scarf or a balaclava or some kind of covering needs to be worn at all times,” Sylvester said.

“If you’re going to rent skis or a tube, there’ll be some (release) forms to sign… Everything will be paid for outside.

“Just have patience this year, like anything to do with COVID. When you arrive, it’s going to take longer to get your rentals… social distance but have patience and we’ll all have fun together this winter outside.”

Sylvester said operators are currently in the process of constructing and installing a second lift system.

“It’s 135 metres… with the capacity on those lifts of about 800 persons per hour. There shouldn’t be much for lineups,” he said.

“We’ll be able to social distance in those lineups and conveyance systems are naturally a distancing thing. You need to be six feet apart anyways on the lifts so it’s the safest conveyance system that exists for any of the ski hills in Western Canada.”

The middle of December is the targeted date to have the second lift operational, according to Sylvester.

 

Indigenous Services minister to acknowledge Liberals won’t meet…
Why has wedding of Japan’s Princess Mako still not gone ahead?
Global News logo Weather slowing down opening of Optimist Hill in Saskatoon

The closest thing to hitting the mountain slopes for Saskatoon families this winter may be Optimist Hill.
a person flying through the air on a snow covered slope: Here’s what’s in store for the upcoming season of skiing and tobogganing at Optimist Hill in Saskatoon. © File / Global News Here’s what’s in store for the upcoming season of skiing and tobogganing at Optimist Hill in Saskatoon.

Bradley Sylvester, who is president of the hill operator OSP Community Development Corporation, said the first full season got cut short when the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the province.

“We started up in the middle of December (2019) and we had a good year until (March) 17th,” Sylvester said.

“Had COVID not come along, we still had probably another four weeks of operations, really good spring skiing, because the hill was in awesome shape, the weather was perfect until about the 10th of April and, of course, we couldn’t be on the hill after (March) 17th, everything was shut down.”

Read more: Enchanted Forest in Saskatoon to continue tradition through COVID-19 pandemic

For this upcoming season at the toboggan hill in Diefenbaker Park, Sylvester is optimistic in uncertain times.

“Given the pandemic year and we know there’s a lot of families that aren’t going to leave the city or the province this year for vacation. Even considering going to Alberta or to other places in Canada, some families are hesitant to do that, given what’s going on with COVID. So we anticipate a very busy year,” he said.

“We kind of compare ourselves a little bit to the golf business. Golf didn’t have tournaments this year but they sure had a lot more people using their facilities for a few regular rounds of golf. And they actually attracted a whole bunch of new people that never golfed before, mainly because there was a lack of other things to do.

“Team sports are still kind of parked right at the moment. It’s just another thing to do when you’re in Saskatoon and in the winter.”

Saskatchewan sports associations concerned over new provincial COVID-19 restrictions

Despite the city receiving large amounts of snow in early November, Sylvester said the weather has not been co-operating enough to set a concrete start date for opening the hill.

“Even though we had a ton of snow and everybody knows we had a ton of snow, we still don’t have enough snow at the hill … You get to the top of the hill and none of the snow stayed and we need a bunch of snow up there. So we actually have to make some snow and the weather’s not co-operating,” Sylvester said.

“We would have been open as soon as we could have in early December. It’s starting to look like mid-December now. It might be the second or even the third week of December … (depends) on how the weather goes and that’s normal for ski hill operations.”

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, measures will be in place to make this a safe season for skiing, snowboarding and tubing.

“We’re going to be 100 per cent masked, masks required at all times on the hill, medical exemptions are not allowed on the site… We’ll use the term face covering, so a scarf or a balaclava or some kind of covering needs to be worn at all times,” Sylvester said.

“If you’re going to rent skis or a tube, there’ll be some (release) forms to sign… Everything will be paid for outside.

“Just have patience this year, like anything to do with COVID. When you arrive, it’s going to take longer to get your rentals… social distance but have patience and we’ll all have fun together this winter outside.”

Read more: Coronavirus — What you should know about ice skating outdoors this winter

Sylvester said operators are currently in the process of constructing and installing a second lift system.

“It’s 135 metres… with the capacity on those lifts of about 800 persons per hour. There shouldn’t be much for lineups,” he said.

“We’ll be able to social distance in those lineups and conveyance systems are naturally a distancing thing. You need to be six feet apart anyways on the lifts so it’s the safest conveyance system that exists for any of the ski hills in Western Canada.”

The middle of December is the targeted date to have the second lift operational, according to Sylvester.

Video: Warming trend: Dec. 1 Saskatchewan weather outlook

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here