Sola Seib, from Terrace, hits the first jump at the Loaded Sports competition at Shames Mountain on Saturday, April 7, 2018 (Shannon Lough/The Northern View)

High speed internet coming to Shames Mountain in Northwest B.C.

Internet, upgraded point of sale software will minimize lines, reduce COVID-19 risk

My Mountain Co-op, Shames Mountain is seeking grant funding for a project designed to mitigate COVID-19 risk ahead of the coming snow season.

On Aug. 14, the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine board voted to support My Mountain Co-op in its applications to the Northern Development Initiative Trust’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program.

My Mountain Co-op is a non-profit community co-operative that operates the Shames Mountain Ski Area. It is seeking nearly $10,000 to support the installation of high speed internet. Additionally, the society is working on a point of sale software upgrade so that customers can buy passes online and go straight from their vehicle to the lift.

Both those initiatives will mitigate the COVID-19 risk by reducing lines and congestion at the ski hill and downtown Terrace office, according to Dave Gordon, My Mountain Co-op vice-chair.

“We have a really small downtown office, we can’t afford to have a bunch of people there and on ski day there is usually a great big lineup, our internet has been so bad in the past we’ve asked people to bring cash just because we couldn’t process online transactions,” he said.

Coupled with the improved internet, the new point of sale software will enable contactless online sales, which should minimize lines to rent gear and buy lessons and passes.

Terrace based Sienna Networks will construct microwave relay towers between Terrace and Shames Mountain beginning in the late summer. My Mountain Co-op is incurring a cost of only $13,922 for the project thanks to a donation from Sienna Networks. The total value of the project is over $100,000.

City of Terrace Councillor Sean Bujtas recognized benefits of the initiative beyond mitigating COVID-19 risk.

“I think that’s really great from a safety point of view for young people, that would give them the ability then to message parents,” he said.

“As a parent I think I’d be a lot more comfortable knowing I could reach out to my kid that way.”

Last season was a resounding success for My Mountain Co-op and Shames Mountain. Excellent snow conditions drove visitation up 20 per cent but the COVID-19 pandemic cut the season short in March.

Usually, Shames Mountain would budget for a five to 10 per cent increase in visitation following such a successful year, but due to the uncertainty around COVID-19, it is tentatively assuming attendance will be similar to a usual year.

READ MORE: Shames Mountain near Terrace works to reassure customers ahead of next snow season

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