Shames Mountain is closing out a successful 2021-2022 ski and snowboard season thanks to more than $240,000 of investments made by the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PPRA) Community Investment Fund, the organization announced on April 11.
Two critical infrastructure projects have had a significant impact on the operations at the ski hill managed by My Mountain Coop (MMC), PPRA stated in a media release. Both on and off-hill capacity was expanded with improved safety and operations which have developed new opportunities for all ages and abilities to participate in the winter activities.
The most substantial improvement to enhance the visitor experience was the installation of a new industry standard conveyor lift known as the ‘Green Carpet. This allowed beginner skiers, snowboarders and those with disabilities, plus their equipment to be protected from the elements while utilizing the ski lift. The new lift replaced an old rope tow that proved challenging or the less able-bodied to use.
The conveyor belt enabled the construction of two new tubing lanes beside the beginner slope, which gave the “thrill of the hill” without participants having to commit to skiing or boarding.
“Previously, we had a high failure rate amongst new skiers and boarders, but the conveyor lift has transformed the experience for young children, helped lower the average skier age and introduced an entirely new demographic to Shames Mountain,” Christian Theberge, general manager of MMC, said.
The project’s total cost was $695,000, with PRPA’s Community Investment Fund (CIF) contributing $80,000.
“We are grateful to the Community Investment Fund for allowing us to lower the barrier for beginners to attract more people to our facility and keep them coming back,” Theberge said.
Another $160,000 contributed from the CIF was invested in parking lot expansion, making the facilities easier to access. Upgrades included improvements to the access road, expanding the existing parking area, and building a new lot and structures to house snow-clearing and other equipment.
“The developments have allowed for a greater number of visitors and provided the infrastructure needed to support operations both on and off the hill,” PRPA stated.
“These investments have broadened access to the recreational activities at Shames Mountain and opened up new opportunities, particularly for youth and families,” said Shaun Stevenson, president and CEO of PRPA.
“As one of northwest British Columbia’s most important winter outdoor recreational assets, we’re delighted to continue to support its growth through our Community Investment Fund, so more people in our region can become involved in skiing and snowboarding,” Stevenson said.
Past investments on multiple projects by the CIF in partnership with MMC have included two contributions of $50,000 each for grooming equipment, as well a $10,000 gain for winning the Project of the Decade contest was contributed by PRPA to the parking lot expansion project.
K-J Millar | Editor and Multi-Media Journalist
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