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Yukon government gives $160k to Mount Sima training facility

The Yukon government has given $160,000 to help the Friends of Mount Sima society attract elite skiers and snowboarders for early-season training.

Money used to make snow and attract elite skiers and snowboarders to train in Whitehorse

Mount Sima will see about 150 elite athletes training at the facility this month, before opening to the public in December. (Dave Croft/CBC)

Yukon taxpayers are helping pay for something many of them would happily see less of — snow.

The territorial government has given $160,000 to help develop the Mount Sima ski hill as an early-season training facility for elite skiers and snowboarders from across Canada. Part of the money has gone towards new snow-making equipment.

"Places like Whistler and others don't have the snow anymore," said Laurie Henderson of the Friends of Mount Sima Society. "And we have generally, usually, cold enough weather and the ability to make the snow."

The ski hill is expecting 150 visiting athletes to come use the facility in the coming weeks, with the first athletes arriving this weekend from Ontario and B.C. 

The goal is to make the hill — which has long struggled to stay out of the red — profitable.

"Certainly the idea is that we will be able to make some money from this to help the hill," Henderson said.

Besides the snow-making equipment, Henderson says the government funds will help pay for safety netting, and some marketing initiatives.

"We're doing this as cost-effectively as we can, but it's nice to know that with the support of the government we're also able to protect what the members have raised themselves for a community hill," Henderson said.

The ski hill will only be used as a training facility this month, before opening to the public on Dec. 4.

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