Yukon ski hill welcomes those who can't wait for winter
Ski and snowboard athletes say travelling to Yukon gives them an edge over their competition
It's been warmer than usual in Yukon this year, but the ski and snowboard season has already begun — at least, for some people.
For the second year, Whitehorse's Mount Sima is hosting competitive athletes who pay extra for early access.
This week, there are about 200 people there from across Canada, including members of Quebec's Mont Blanc Alpine Team, Alberta's WinSport Academy and the Snowboard Ontario provincial team.
Many of the athletes have dreams competing in the Olympics.
They say travelling to Yukon gives them a few weeks' head start on their competition.
"We don't have snow out yet, so we wanted to come ski first, so we came here," says Juliette Charest of Quebec's Mont Blanc ski racing team.
The Yukon government has invested in the hill, and is hoping that competitive athletes visiting the territory can boost the local economy. Competitive athletes pay twice the regular fee and their early access helps to subsidize the rest of the ski season.
Mount Sima's general manager, Cindy Chandler, says milder weather this year means the hill is about three weeks behind its usual schedule. The hill has relied on snow cannons, which have been blasting out the white stuff for nearly a month.
The ski hill is aiming to open to the public at the end of the month.