For the third time since December, the Edmonton Ski Club is left cleaning up after vandals.
Sometime early Sunday morning, the lift shack and everything inside were destroyed. The windows to the T-bar lift house were smashed. Vandals also tore out cables, ruining equipment necessary to operate the hill.
The damage happened as the hill was hosting the Edmonton Alpine Ski Racing Society’s annual competition, which welcomes more than 4,000 athletes and their families from across Alberta.
“Fortunately, our staff came in early and thanks to their herculean efforts, repairs were made in time for the race to continue,” Ken Saunders, executive director of the Edmonton Ski Club, said. However, about 500 kids were only able to do one of two heats.
The latest damage is pegged at $5,000.
“There’s the monetary aspect, there’s the time and attention it takes for staff, but most importantly, you’re a family coming out and maybe you can’t use the lifts because it’s been vandalized. Those are experiences you can’t get back,” Saunders said.
In December, the hill was struck twice by vandals. One of the cables from the surface lift was cut and wiring in the T-bar electrical panel was torn out. Several of the ski hill’s buildings were also marked up with profane graffiti. More than $5,000 in damage was done.
“It’s so frustrating that such an important city asset continually falls victim to senseless vandalism,” Saunders said. “At the end of the day, it’s really the users that get hurt.
“At a time when we should be celebrating support from the city and a clear path to redevelopment, we find ourselves wasting precious resources of time and money to repair vandalism.”
Earlier this year, city council approved $388,000 in emergency funding for the non-profit to continue to operate this winter. The river valley facility had asked for $1.3 million over five years to keep the hill open.
Saunders said security measures will be increased in hopes of keeping vandals away. He also asks people in the area to keep an eye on the hill for any suspicious activity.
The Edmonton Ski Club has been in operation for 105 years.