White Hills manager Chris Laturney stands in front of the slopes with snow being made in preparation for the Saturday, Jan. 9, opening date.
For the second consecutive year, White Hills Ski Resort in Clarenville will open to skiers and snowboarders on Jan. 9.
New manager Chris Laturney told The Packet the facility started making snow on Dec. 27 and expects some runs to be fully operational by the Saturday opening date.
“I’m pretty confident that we’ll be open (on that weekend),” said Laturney. “It will be limited terrain. We’re looking to open the beginner area with access off the magic carpet (ski lift) and we would like to have one run from top-to-bottom for the lift access.”
He said Jan. 9 is a little late to get going for the season, but that is the reality throughout eastern Canada.
“I’m from Ontario and those guys are in the same boat. Even a little more worse off than us,” he said.
Laturney said the cold, dry weather the region has had at the end of December is ideal for making snow.
“We couldn’t have asked for better weather to get our man-made snow going,” he said.
“It allows our snow guns to make the most amount of snow. Usually when we’re getting natural snow, the humidity is too high. It clouds over and keeps all the warmer air and humidity (around).”
But that isn’t to say the “natural” snow is not needed. Laturney said staff can groom the fallen snow into the manufactured stuff to make a nice, even combination for skiers.
Perhaps even more importantly, he said having some snow in the forecast gets local people thinking about the winter activities and calling for passes.
“It helps get everybody in the winter sports frame of mind if you get a little snow on the front lawn and around town and stuff like that,” he said.
“When we had that bit of snow early in the season, you can see the jump. You get more phone calls the next day; you get more website visits and people asking questions about when we’re opening. Definitely getting some natural snow around is a big bonus.”
Once the opening date hits on the ninth, Laturney would love to see a lot of locals on the hill and continuing to do so throughout this winter, saying how easily accessible it is for those in the region.
“It’s right at their doorstep,” he said.