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No snow, no problem

March 13th,2024 | News

GROOMED AND GRANULAR: The snow in your backyard may be all but melted, but conditions at Camp Fortune are decent. The hill has 14 runs open for day and night skiing and plans to remain open through the Easter weekend. Photo courtesy Camp Fortune

Don’t judge the region’s ski conditions by your melty backyard. That’s the message Erin Boucher is trying to get out to skiers and snowboarders after a week of warm weather and rain made winter all but disappeared across the Hills. But not at most area ski hills. 

“We survived Saturday’s rain and got a bit of natural snow,” said Boucher, marketing director at Camp Fortune in Chelsea. By press time, the hill had 14 runs still open, but with temperatures set to rise into the double digits this week, that number could shrink. 

“For now, we have full coverage on all of our main runs, but we all know snow melts, and we cannot work miracles, although we came pretty close this season. Our advice is to ski now,” encouraged Boucher.

She said Fortune hopes to stay open until Easter Monday but added that the hill will assess conditions and release a schedule of spring skiing for the rest of March. Boucher said the hill will be open all week – day and night – during Ontario’s spring break. 

Edelweiss director-general Jean-Sébastien Saia reported similar conditions at his hill this week, noting that the slopes are open every day, including at night, and that now is a great time to ski and board along the hill’s nine runs that remain open. 

“Conditions are actually beautiful,” said Saia. We have full snow coverage on all our trails with no bare spots yet.” 

He told the Low Down that snow crews at Edelweiss this year anticipated a warmer-than-usual winter but were able to make enough snow early to create a solid base that is now helping extend the season. Edelweiss plans to stay open through all of March, he said.  

“The exceptionally warm temperatures were challenging, but our constant investments in our snowmaking capacity and installations allowed us to offer exceptional skiing and full coverage through the winter,” he explained. “New technologies allow us to produce snow at warmer temperatures, and we knew this year would be the most challenging yet with the strong El Niño weather pattern that we were aware of.”

Vorlage closed

Centre Vorlage in Wakefield hasn’t been so lucky. The hill officially closed the ski season on March 11, noting that the warm weather had “caused too much damage” to the few runs that were still open. Owner Alex Gaboury said the hill is investing in “top-notch” snowmaking gear for next season and is pivoting toward hosting NHL playoff parties this spring before the hill switches to a mountain bike park for the summer. 

Mont Cascades has nine of its 21 runs open this week, with night skiing and three chair lifts open, while Mont Ste-Marie has 18 runs open, including two double black diamonds and two black diamond runs. 

These conditions won’t last, so hit the slopes this week before the snow is gone for good. 

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