Innisfail Ski Hill busy this winter

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Mother Nature cooperates with plenty of snow

INNISFAIL – The Innisfail Ski Club has been open now for more than a month with this year’s steady blast of winter making the venue an attractive place for many to shed the winter blues.

“Great family entertainment is our goal,” said Bernie Vanderham, vice-president of the ski club. “It’s used very well by people of all ages.”

Vanderham said they had to wait for Mother Nature to cooperate and provide more snow before the hill could open at the start of the New Year.

“We had a good start with that initial snow (in October) and then it all melted,” he said, noting hours of operation. “We’re open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.”

He noted how the club prepares the ski hill for the winter season.

“We have some minor grooming equipment that we use to keep the snow (maintained),” he said. “Once we open then we do some grooming when necessary to sustain it and try to keep it as operational as possible.”

The Innisfail Ski Hill has been a part of the Innisfail community since 1952 and opened at the current location in 1962.

Local skiers have been eager to hit the ski hill, noted Vanderham.

“We have a Facebook page that we use called the Innisfail Ski Hill and we post all of our recent updates there,” he said, noting the ski season can run anywhere from December to March.

They don’t operate if there is not enough snow or if the temperatures are too cold and dip below -25 C.

Vanderham said using the ski hill is a winter activity enjoyed by the entire family.

“It’s a great place to learn how to ski. It’s a family-orientated ski facility,” he said, noting rentals are available in the chalet. “Rates are very reasonable.”

Volunteers, including those who help with the concession and rentals in the chalet and run the tow rope, manage the Innisfail Ski Hill. Vanderham added there are several other volunteers who help with maintenance and operations.

“We’ve got fourth generations skiing there,” said Vanderham. “There’s been a lot of people that have learned to ski there.”

For more information, times or weather updates visit the Innisfail Ski Hill page on Facebook.

Bernie Vanderham, vice-president.

“It’s a great place to learn how to ski. It’s a family- orientated ski facility.”

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Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean is a reporter with the Innisfail Province, joining the newspaper in 2013. She covers Penhold municipal politics, news and community events as well as sports in and around the town as well as in Innisfail.