'Perfect snow' could salvage season for area ski hills
Latest snowfall could ensure skiing through April, ski hill operators say
Ski hill operators in eastern Ontario and west Quebec believe the latest snow storm to hit the region may just be enough to salvage their season.
While Ottawa managed to dodge the worst of Tuesday's overnight snowfall, areas to the north and west of the city saw accumulations in excess of 20 centimetres.
"We're exactly where we should have been maybe several weeks ago. But better late than never," said Jean-Sébastien Saia, general manager of Ski Edelweiss in La Pêche, Que., about 35 kilometres north of Ottawa.
"It'll be hard to make up for this year, but it's very encouraging for spring break, which is a big period for the ski industry," Saia said.
It's a big change from the meagre snow and rain that stalled the early part of the ski season. The latest snowfall means Edelweiss can now open 19 of its 20 runs.
Pent up demand
Over at Calabogie Peaks Resort, where 25 centimetres fell overnight, president Paul Murphy believes skiers are making up for lost time after a disappointing December.
"There seems to be a little bit of a pent up demand for skiers to get out and have fun," Murphy said. "So now that we're seeing a lot of snow later in the season, we're seeing more active days than we normally do in February and March."
Both Murphy and Saia believe the conditions are now good enough to ensure skiing until April. And it's not just the quantity of snow that fell overnight, but also the quality, which is drier than normal for March.
"It's perfect snow," said Saia, "I can't wait to get out as soon as I'm done with you on the phone"