Ski season off to strong start

Do you hear that sound of “shoosh, shoosh” coming from the mountains?

That snow-carved whisper says that it’s been a beautiful start to the 2022/23 ski season at Marmot Basin.

It’s been great since the hills opened, said Brian Rode, vice president at Marmot, with a strong showing of skiers that’s on par with past openings.

“I think what happens when people see that we've got these good snow conditions early on, it will certainly encourage the really avid skiers to come out early, because they're pretty anxious to get on the slopes,” he said.

“Not everybody comes out on opening weekend, but it certainly starts the momentum for us.”

There are those who show up with enthusiasm as early as they can, while others take that excitement and build it up for the upcoming holiday season.

“The other thing that it does is it really does have an effect on shoring up the Christmas period,” Rode said.

“A lot of people who are looking where they're going to go skiing during the Christmas break will have perhaps a few options in their mind. They keep track of who's got good snow and how much of the runs are open, how much of the ski area is open.”

Marmot opened early and with both the lower mountain and the upper mountain areas, meaning a lot of runs available for skiers and snowboarders alike. There’s a great base of half a meter at the mid-mountain, Rode said.

Only the Knob area remains to be opened and areas like Eagle East and Tres Hombres simply need more snow.

“Once the knob opens, then we'll have what we call all of our main runs open,” Rode said. “We got a lot of snow up there, but we need another snowfall [and then] we'll get real close to getting that open.”

There has also been a strong showing of people taking part in the Mountain Collective pass program, and the number of Calgary-area skiers getting their two free days at Marmot has been promising. Rode has heard from some of them that good conditions and lots of runs open is tough to resist.

“It's definitely having an impact down in that Calgary area.”

Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh