The lack of snow and the inconsistent weather aren’t keeping skiers and snowboarders off local slopes.
At Horseshoe Resort, general manager and vice-president Jonathan Reid says investing $1.5 million in snow making is paying off.
“We have fixed and semi-automated snow making in all of our main runs that tie all of our main lifts together,” he explained. “We’ve had those open right through the holiday.”
While natural snow helps, Horseshoe Resort solely relies on snow making for a good base and safe terrain on which to to ski.
“What’s been challenging is it’s cold at night but not cold enough during the day,” Reid said. “It will be nice to get a nice, long run of a couple of days of cold weather through the day and night.”
He hopes to have runs completely open this weekend.
“Hopefully, we will start to see the skiers come out with more wintry weather in the forecast,” he said. “It looks like we are going to get some snow later in the week, which will really help our alpine and cross-country centre.”
The Nordic ski trails have been closed since about New Year’s Day, when rain claimed most of the resort’s natural snow.
“That business is run strictly on natural snow,” Reid explained. “It’s a tough start, for sure.”
He projects the Nordic ski trails will soon be open, and the resort will be well on its way to being fully open.
“People will come back and get out skiing as soon as the weather turns here for us,” he said.
All eyes will be on Horseshoe Resort this weekend as it plays host to the Timber Tour, Ontario’s provincial competition series for the best athletes who compete in moguls, slopestyle and halfpipe.
“We are looking forward to that and the winter weather,” Reid said. “There are a lot of people who have been sitting inside, waiting for the weather, so I think we will be busy soon.”
Dan and Leila Thomas from Oro-Medonte have been skiing together at Horseshoe Resort for a few years. They have been on the slopes four times so far this year.
“We enjoy the fitness,” Dan said. “We like getting out into the open air and the fact that you don’t think of anything at all when you’re skiing.”
Leila says skiing is good for mental health.
“It keeps you in a good sort of frame of mind,” she said. “It’s a really pleasant and happy resort here and we enjoy coming here.”
The snow making at Horseshoe Resort has been “really good,” Dan says, adding the conditions are ideal for him and Leila.
“Obviously, there is a little less snow than usual,” he said. “It really hasn’t affected us because we just like to take it easy.”
Heather Furry and Steve Venhuizen brought their children, Austin and Ally, to Horseshoe Resort on Tuesday afternoon for their first family ski trip. They are from Niagara Falls.
“This is the first time our kids have ever been on skis,” Venhuizen said. “I haven’t skied in 25 years.”
The trip was gifted to the family for Christmas.
“It’s a good family experience and something they can remember for years to come,” Venhuizen said. “Plus, we get to be outside, enjoy the fresh air, and it’s a bit of exercise.”
He was impressed with the conditions at Horseshoe Resort.
“There is more man-made snow here than we thought,” he said. “There really isn’t any snow back home.”