Marble Mountain winds down shortened season as skiers hit the slopes for final weekend

·3 min read
Marble Mountain had a good season despite only being open for a month, says operations manager Richard Wells. (Colleen Connors/CBC - image credit)
Marble Mountain had a good season despite only being open for a month, says operations manager Richard Wells. (Colleen Connors/CBC - image credit)
Marble Mountain had a good season despite only being open for a month, says operations manager Richard Wells.
Marble Mountain had a good season despite only being open for a month, says operations manager Richard Wells.(Colleen Connors/CBC)

Marble Mountain's season is coming to a close Sunday, a month after officially opening for what has been a challenging year for the ski resort.

The season began with uncharacteristically warm and dry weather early in the year that saw a severe lack of snow for much of the island.

As the hill was preparing to open in February, the province was thrown into lockdown by a spike in COVID-19 cases related to the coronavirus variant B117.

After public health restrictions were relaxed, and the weather began to cooperate and build upon the facility's foundation of man-made snow, the resort finally opened its runs on March 4 and started the season strong, according to operations manager Richard Wells.

"It's the strangest winter I've ever been a part of," Wells told CBC News on Saturday.

"Highs and lows, not getting going until the first week of March and then a month later shutting down, obviously because of deteriorating snow pack. Never in my life have I ever been a part of a winter this up and down."

But Wells and the crew at Marble Mountain pushed forward, and ski and snowboard enthusiasts were right there with them in the excitement on opening day.

"It might have been the adrenaline, the wait, who knows, but it was up there on one of the best runs of my life, for sure," he said.

Despite a shortened season, Wells said the numbers were big, sometimes seeing about 1,400 people in a day.

The mountain will close for the season on Sunday.
The mountain will close for the season on Sunday. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

The business also ran into some mechanical problems in the early going, leaving it with only one operational ski lift. Wells said the lines were big, but customers were still only having to wait about five to 10 minutes before catching a ride to the top of the mountain.

"The patrons this season were just amazing to deal with. We couldn't see the smiles, but I know they were there behind the masks," Wells said.

"One out of 100, maybe, you're kind of reminding to 'hey put your mask on' but I, again, am very impressed as to how everybody followed the rules and followed what we put forward."

Looking ahead, Wells is hoping for a normal year next year, with full services out of the gate. But, he said, the turnout has been great and the culture that surrounded the mountain in the 80s and 90s has been revived.

"Obviously nobody knows at this point what we're looking at a year from now, but certainly, let's imagine what we can do with snowfall if we're having this much fun with minimal snow and starting in March," he said.

"We're really excited. Again, patrons are super ecstatic and [there are] lots of smiles out there."

The last chair of the season is set for 6 p.m. on Sunday.

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