Smokey Mountain ski hill gets a makeover, with new lifts and runs
New lifts at Labrador City ski hill scheduled to be up and running by mid-December
Workers are hustling to finish work being done to Smokey Mountain in Labrador City in time for the winter skiing season.
Smokey, as well as the Menihek Nordic Ski Club, had to make adjustments to make way for the new Moss Pit to go in at the nearby Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) mine's Wabush 3 project.
"The hill couldn't be operated with the new Moss Pit right in our back yard," says Toby Leon, president of the Smokey Mountain Ski and Snowboard Club.
IOC is footing the bill for three new lifts to be installed. Old light poles are also being replaced with new ones, offering better lighting on the ski hill.
The changes were a long time coming, Leon said. In 2016, when plans for Wabush 3 were put on hold, so were plans for changes at Smokey Mountain.
All of the same runs will be part of the mountain, but the access will be different as the entire mountain will be accessible from one chair lift. The new lifts are more durable, which was needed with the Moss pit right in Smokey's back yard.
"[IOC] gave us a hill that could live with that blasting, which is huge."
Smokey Mountain has been in operation for over 50 years and Leon said upgrades were sorely needed.
"It's been old for 25 years," Leon said.
Along with a new quad chair lift, two new surface lifts are being installed.
"All these lifts are going to take us higher and offer a wider range of options for the skiers and the snowboarders," said Elise Boeuf, product coordinator with Leitner Poma, the company that manufactures the lifts.
"I can't wait to see people riding the hill because it's going to make it much more fun ... Smokey, it's a very precious place."
The goal is to have the new lifts up and functional by mid-December, said Leon.
"I had a conversation with someone at IOC ... he said I'd better have snow for him on the 15th of December and I said he'd better have lifts for us on the 15th of December."