Thunder Bay area ski hills optimistic despite warmer temperatures

By Kevin Jeffrey
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

There may be rain and brown grass on the ground within city limits, but both Loch Lomond and Mount Baldy continue to operate during the holiday season.

Laura Woodbeck, the Office Manager with Loch Lomond, stated Wednesday that they are very optimistic that more winter-like conditions will be coming.

“We have an absolutely beautiful base on the south side, and we will be running [our first night ski session] tomorrow until 9:00 p.m.” Woodbeck added.

“We are looking forward to the temperatures dropping and hopefully we’ll have even a better south side and [be able to open] the north [side] for you for next week.”

Woodbeck added that the owner had a simple message when asked about any possibility of closing down operations in the face of warmer weather.

“As far as Jason Gerry says, we are scheduled to be open – we are open. We have the base to stay open and we’re still hoping for the temperatures to drop. We have been amazed with how well man-made snow had held up with Mother Nature’s temperament,” Woodbeck noted.

Mount Baldy co-owner Daniel Kardas hasn’t seen a winter like this in the six years that he’s been involved in the ownership group.

“It’s [been] lots of long hours and a really good crew around here making it happen, believe it or not,” Kardas told Dougall Media Wednesday. “When it comes to snow [mixed with] three days of rain, that doesn’t really work out so [well]. We’re powering through, and we just got to get that word out there to people that we do have a lot of snow.”

Mount Baldy has three runs open, and snowmakers are optimistic that cooler temperatures will allow them to fire up the snow-making machines.

“We do have to wait till temperatures [are] between eight and 10 degrees below zero consistently to start making snow,” mentioned Woodbeck.

“If it stays that cold during January and February, we will have the rest of the snow made and hopefully Mother Nature will top that up for us, and the season will last as long as the season will last.”

The optimism is contagious at Mount Baldy as the Port Arthur ski club enjoys the unseasonable weather.

“I have been in the business for 40-plus years and I have seen a lot of times in skiing when you have varying weather like this that creates these situations,” States Program Director and Head Coach David Bradley.

“These guys are coping with it really well; [I believe that] this surface that we have right now is going to be bulletproof when it gets cold and they’re going to put new snow on top of that, and we’re going to have a fantastic base for the rest of the season.”

It’s anything but optimism for the Kamview Nordic Centre and General Manager Dave Suttie, who expresses frustration with how things have changed at the hill since last year.

“In years past, we usually have some snow on the ground and a little bit of skiing going [on] but yeah, this year is definitely a little late,” said Suttie.

“[This isn’t] the first time this has happened, but we’re hoping we get a change in the weather here soon so we can get some skiing going for sure.”