Poor snow conditions delay openings at New Brunswick ski hills

Even the frigid temperatures leading up to the official beginning of winter were't enough to open runs on most New Brunswick ski hills.

Inconsistent temperatures, lack of snow keeps dozens of runs closed

The Sugarloaf Provincial Park ski centre delayed this weekend's planned opening because it didn't have enough snow. (Radio-Canada)

The combination of inconsistent chilly temperatures along with a lack of snow has made for a slow start on most of New Brunswick's ski hills.

Mont Farlagne in Edmundston is open to snowshoers and tubers, but its runs are closed. Crabbe Mountain also isn't having much luck. Its beginner hill is open, but 22 other groomed trails along with its glades runs remain closed.

The Sugarloaf Provincial Park ski centre near Campbellton was scheduled to open this weekend. But a lack of snow prevented that from happening. The park has new snow-making cannons, so it is aiming to open next week.

But the park's general manager Greg Dion told Radio-Canada a delay in the arrival of the snow-making machines also delayed the opening of the park for the ski season.

"If we had these cannons at the end of November, we could have made enough snow in time for the opening."

Bill Anderson said Poley Mountain has snow making machines that only cover half of its runs. So while the weather may be cold, nothing can beat a true snowfall. (Radio-Canada)

The ability to make snow doesn't always mean success though.

Poley Mountain general manager Bill Anderson said inconsistencies with temperatures has made preparations difficult.  

At the moment, Poley only has five out of its 33 runs open. 

"It seems like lately it can be plus 10 today and minus 10 tomorrow, so there's no consistency to it," Anderson said.

He said while the December weather has been frustrating to ski hill operators, it's hardly a surprise.

"This has been the trend for the last 10 years, you know, up and down," he said. "It seems like a little bit more this year, but that's been the trend."

Tthe recent cold snap has snow-making crews going full out, but they can only cover half of the hill's runs, Anderson said. The rest will depend on Mother Nature.

With files from Serge Bouchard