An investment of nearly $2 million this year will take Terrace’s Shames Mountain Ski Area to new heights, according to Christian Theberge, general manager.
“It moves the ski hill into a modern operating environment,” he said, adding that there is a sense of excitement as My Mountain Co-op, the non-profit community co-operative that operates Shames Mountain, readies for the new season.
Blockbuster additions to the ski area this year include a 4,000 square foot public access parking lot, a covered beginner conveyor, snow tube lanes, a brand new snowcat vehicle and front end loader, plus an equipment storage and maintenance shed.
The beginner conveyor lift — dubbed the green carpet — will make the experience of discovering skiing much better, Theberge said, describing it as a “game changer.”
“We’re talking about an experience that used to be comparable to a tug of war with an elephant if you were a beginner, which is now going to be as simple as riding an escalator in a city mall,” he said.
“Three quarters of the lesson was spent teaching the kids how to ride this lift, the old handle toe that we had, so now of course, kids are going to be hopping right on the lift right away.”
But beginners are not the only ones to benefit from a new feature at Shames Mountain. The new snow tubing lanes based at the bunny hill, and accessible from the green carpet will open the mountain to people who are unable to ski.
The 300 foot run has engineered deceleration zones to add to safety and will be sold in two hour blocks to the general public on weekends.
“Whatever the situation might be that they cannot ski anymore, they’ll be able to come tubing and really enjoy the ski hill experience with the rest of their families,” Theberge said.
On weekdays, the snow tubing lanes will be reserved for school group bookings.
Overall, Theberge said that the season is shaping up to be a good one, with My Mountain Co-op seeing strong sales of season’s passes as skiing remains a popular and safe activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Season-long equipment rentals are returning for a second year, and lessons programs will be taking place adhering to all COVID-19 protocols.
“I think what we were able to provide last year to the community was a relief and a feeling of normalcy that most had lost in one way or another due to our current pandemic,” Theberge said.
“We’re of course thrilled to be able to provide that service for our community again this season.”