Thieves broke into Shames Mountain over the Canada Day long weekend, stealing equipment and causing damages worth $25,000.
“You can imagine the feeling… I think violation is the best way to describe it,” said Christian Theberge, Shames Mountain general manager, over the phone. “It’s just a shock. We’re so surprised to see something like this happen.”
The regular caretaker, who lives by the ski hill was off duty that weekend.
The culprits attempted to pry open the two metal doors leading into the maintenance shop, damaging them in the process, before breaking through a window. They also kicked in the door to gain access the generator building, broke into the rental shop but left all the rental equipment alone, and tried to force open a few of the day lodge doors without success.
“We’re fortunate most of our doors held, and they did not get into everywhere that they tried to,” Theberge said.
Items stolen include jerry cans with ‘Shames’ written on the side, a Fluke Power metre, three flat-screen TVs, a half-inch cordless impact drill, a set of winter tires on rims, and hand-held radios. The thieves were also after copper wire and stole all the battery leads to the ski hill generators, along with all the electrical grounding wire.
RCMP sent in a forensics team to pull evidence from the scene, including fingerprints and tire tracks. Theberge has also put a message out to the public to notify police if they know anything about the break-in.
Terrace RCMP have not released any details of the investigation.
The theft comes at a critical time for Shames Mountain as crews were just getting ready to start replacing the hill’s drive bullwheel, a main piece of the facility’s chairlift.
Since the break-in, the facility has been secured with temporary repairs done to one of the three generators, making it possible for staff to resume the project.
“We lost a few days here and we ended up working through the weekend trying to catch up,” Theberge said. “We’re very fortunate with this being an insurance claim that we can have professional contractors take care of the actual repairs to our infrastructure and we can keep focusing on our project.”
Theberge said it has been seven years since the last break-in at the ski hill, after which the thieves were apprehended almost immediately.
Shames is now waiting on the delivery of new steel doors and windows and is looking at ways of upgrading security.
“What’s been fantastic to see is the overwhelming support from the community,” Theberge said. “It truly shows the theft was not from people that represent what this community stands for.”