Cheaper rates, more night skiing planned for Marble Mountain
Western Newfoundland's ski resort opening Jan. 1, in line with typical snowfall, in hopes of boosting revenue
The people running Marble Mountain say they've listened to the public and are making significant changes to get more people out to the western Newfoundland ski resort for the upcoming season.
Some of the changes include cheaper season and day passes, and extended hours for night skiing.
It's all part of a plan to make the Steady Brook resort more financially self-sufficient, according to Tony Abbott, chair of the interim board of directors.
"We were going downhill, but not the right way," said Abbott about Marble Mountain's direction in recent years.
According to a release from government <a href="https://twitter.com/SkiMarble?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SkiMarble</a> is planning on some fat bike races this season. Where do I sign up?—@garyakmoore
Abbott was named chair about six months ago, when an end-of-season fiasco lined up with the termination of the majority of the previous board.
The purge came just days after the board decided it wouldn't extend the season past the scheduled April 2 closure date despite favourable ski conditions.
The temporary board asked the public for feedback. Abbott said 1,600 people filled out the questionnaire, and from those results the interim board announced between 70 and 80 changes for the 2017-18 season.
"We're going to get more skiers back," he said.
Abbott said they learned a lot from public feedback, mainly that the prices were too high for the average family. This winter an adult day pass will cost $45, down from $60.
Season passes are cheaper this year too, said Abbott. Early bird passes will still give eager customers a discount but people even who miss the advance sales won't have to pay as much as in previous years.
"A lot of people that missed the early bird sales got deterred from it … so they didn't bother to ski."
Abbott said Marble Mountain is not getting an increase in its government subsidy, which was $930,000 last year, but is confident the changes will get more skiers out to the hill, and in turn increase revenue.
One of the notable changes is the opening date. Traditionally Marble Mountain aimed to open on Boxing Day but this year it's not expected to open until Jan. 1, 2018.
"Normally we don't get snow on Boxing Day. We've been open several times. Unfortunately we get everybody's hopes up and it never works out."
Abbott added that if there's enough snow on Boxing Day they will open the hill, but the focus is on New Year's Day.
Little things that count
Abbott said a lot of the changes are minor, but it's the little things that will make a big difference. For example, the lounge area will now include table service.
Nighttime skiing is going to see a big facelift. Friday night skiing will be extended from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will feature entertainment. And for the first time, Marble will offer Saturday night skiing for a few weeks in March.
Abbott said a longer-term plan is to develop the base of the hill, and that's something the group is working really hard on now, in hopes to rely less on government funding.
"New hotels, restaurants, and stuff will be taking place in the base of the mountain. And that's coming really soon."
Abbott said he expects the permanent board of directors to be announced in about a month.