A few downhill ski trails open, cross-country remain closed, in Brookvale, P.E.I.

There is only one snow-making machine at the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park in Brookvale, P.E.I., meaning it has to be moved around. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)
There is only one snow-making machine at the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park in Brookvale, P.E.I., meaning it has to be moved around. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)

The first three downhill trails opened Thursday at the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park in Brookvale, P.E.I. — the Bunny trail, the Double Trouble trail and the Front Lawn trail.

"We did have a lot of mild weather earlier in the fall," said Erin Curley, superintendent of the ski park. "But things have kind of turned around this past week or so and we've been able to make some good snow."

All other downhill trails remain closed, as are the cross-country skiing trails and the fat bike and snowshoe trails. Online, the conditions of the closed trails are listed as having "thin sections" of snow.

"Unfortunately, we're a little more reliant on the weather and we need some more snow from mother nature in order to get open on this side of the property," said Curley.

On Thursday, staff were busy making snow to prepare the site, which Curley said is necessary with warm weather expected between now and the new year.

"The warm temperatures are a worry," she said. "However, in my experience the snow we make holds up better in warm temperatures — in fact, even holds up in rain."

Snow-making challenges

This is the first time workers have needed to make snow for the cross-country part of the park.

And there's only one snow-making machine, so it'll have to be moved around.

"It's certainly been a learning curve for sure. Because there is no power for snow-making here, we are using a portable generator to power the snow gun," Curley said. "That on its own is a challenge, trying to get it close enough to the gun to power it up."

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

Once a pile of snow is made, it'll have to be trucked into the woods and spread on the nearly five kilometres of cross-country trails. It's just one more thing on the list of preparations for the 2023 Canada Winter Games, which are now less than two months away.

"We had a parking lot resurfacing done this year and driveway and certainly we are pleased with how it came out," Curley said. "We renovated the building by increasing the deck capacity and making things more accessible. We changed the accessibility options into the buildings. We added a new wax hut to allow for the capacity of the Games."

Brookvale is currently open on a reduced-hours holiday schedule, and officially opens for the 2023 season on Jan. 3.

While there's still more snow to be made, staff said everything will be ready to go before the Canada Winter Games begin Feb. 18.

"It's been a busy, stressful time for a couple of years," Curley said. "But I can't wait for February to see how it all rolls out."

And if mother nature adds some flurries to what Brookvale is making, it wouldn't hurt, either.