Dump of snow saves last of Alberta’s winter sport season

Click to play video: 'Recent snowfall a sigh of relief for winter businesses in Edmonton'
Recent snowfall a sigh of relief for winter businesses in Edmonton
It's been a rollercoaster season for businesses who rely on snow in Edmonton, but the region is getting a little taste of winter again. As Jaclyn Kucey reports, for some — it's a last-minute lifeline. – Feb 29, 2024

Sunday’s blast of snow has given hope to the winter sport season.

“Without this snow we wouldn’t have been able to open,” said Zack Doroshenko, owner of Rural Rivers Rentals Ltd. “We were ready to write this season off, to be honest. It was almost game over for us.”

Doroshenko recently invested $80,000 to expand his business with moon bikes, a 100-per cent electric snow bike that relies on a good snow base to ride. It’s the first of its kind in Alberta and Canada.

“If we had got a dump like this in November, we would have been open been open in November and the snow base that we would have had, would have been able to extend that. But it’s these 10 C stretches that really messed with our plans,” said Doroshenko.

He is finally able to open his season for bookings for the first time on Saturday.

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For businesses that make their own snow, like Sunridge Ski Area in northeast Edmonton. it’s another issue.

“We get all this snow but it’s super cold, so no one can come out and then when it is nice out, no one sees snow, so they don’t think about coming to a local hill,” said Randi Hopkinson.

It’s disappointing for those who want to get out and enjoy the snow while it’s happening.

“It’s a little frustrating, because you’re at the mercy of the weather but at the same time it’s more concerning, the lack of snow — like drought reasons,” said Sharon Willms.

Willms said she can usually get out to cross-country ski 10 times a season. She’s only been able to go out three times this year due to the lack of open trails and the weather.

“We’ve really had to seize the opportunities, like coming out on a weekday,” said Willms.

Skiers like Wayne Osborne are making sure they enjoy every second of it while it lasts.

“It’s actually great out there. I went through the trees, pretended I was a kid again,” said Osborne.

“It’s just nice to get a little bit of winter again.”

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