Nfld. & Labrador

Marble Mountain cleaning up after flooding, 'like making snow out of chocolate milk'

Marble Mountain is in cleanup mode after a wet weekend on the west coast left deep crevices and clogged culverts throughout the resort.

Marble Mountain is cleaning up after flood damages leave 20-foot crevices in hillside

Water and mud made a mess of Marble Mountain Ski Resort on Saturday. (Marble Mountain Facebook)

Marble Mountain ski resort, like much of Newfoundland's west coast, has a huge mess to clean up.

"Right now, there's no doubt about it, it's very bad," said Tony Abbott, chief operating officer of Marble Mountain.

The mountain in Steady Brook has lost more than half of its snow after heavy rain and unseasonably warm temperatures. 

The melting snow and rainwater made the slopes an ideal environment for major mud and water runoff.

"The biggest problem we have at Marble Mountain is that we've had at least nine culverts overflow and washed out," he said.

What we're looking at is 20-feet- deep crevices through the gravel.- Tony Abbott

As of 9 a.m. Saturday when Abbott spoke with CBC Radio's Weekend AMonly two culverts on the hill were under control.

Efforts at the ski resort right now are focused on diverting the water off the mountain.

"On what we call Marble Chute, basically what we're looking at is 20-feet-deep crevices through the gravel," Abbott said.

"Unfortunately, we lost some of our power lines underneath the ground, we had buried lines that have been damaged."

Steel lines for snowmaking have also been damaged, some of which may not be repaired fully until summer.

"The biggest problem that we do have is ... the water that we do have to make snow … right now is like making snow out of chocolate milk. The rivers are just pure silt," Abbott said.

Snowmaking will be the major issue to tackle after the cleanup, while lift chairs seem to have come out of the ordeal unscathed. 

"We've got a lot of work to do, but I'm hoping definitely by the weekend we'll have two or three trails open, if not more."

Never seen anything like this

Cleanup costs did not discourage Abbott, he said; his only concerns regarding losses are from the resort being closed during the cleanup and new snowmaking process.

In his 38 years' spending time at Marble Mountain, Abbott has seen washouts before, but has never seen anything as bad as this weekend's damage on nine of the resort's hills.

"There's the good and there's the bad, there's no doubt about it — I'm not going to say it's not bad up here. It's the worst I've seen in 38 years," he said.

For now, Abbott is hoping Mother Nature will team up with them to help replenish the snow.

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