Skiers and snowboarders in southeastern Alberta breathed a sigh of relief this week after Alberta Environment and Parks confirmed it would continue to operate the popular Hidden Valley Ski Hill this season.
"The ski club is thrilled that [the provincial department] will take on operations of the hill again," said Morgan Blair, board member with the Elkwater Ski Club.
"It's a massive economic driver for our region. It provides social benefits, health benefits, I really can't say enough about the value that it brings for a region that is otherwise mostly prairie."
The Hidden Valley Ski Resort is located near Elkwater, Alta., in Cypress Hills Provincial Park.
Uncertainty about this year's ski season lingered after Alberta Environment and Parks issued a request for proposals to find an operator to run the facility.
A spokesperson with the province said Thursday it would operate the facility for the time being, adding it would reissue the request for proposals as soon as possible.
"We look forward to finding and working with a suitable partner to ensure Hidden Valley's long-term success," said Bridget Burgess in a statement.
Scott Dent, owner of The Boarding House, a Medicine Hat snowboard and skate supply store, said he was excited to hear the news of the hill's reopening.
"We're hoping everyone gets out and takes advantage of the hill this year," Dent said.
"I think maybe some of us took for granted that we had that hill so close to us, and I hope they all get out and use it lots this year."