Optimist Hill in Saskatoon opens to the public

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WATCH: Although the mood around Optimist Hill had some negative turns due to escalating costs and a slow and mild start to the winter – opening day is here after six years in the making – Feb 10, 2019

Optimist Hill officially opened Sunday after six years in the making.

Snow enthusiasts carved up and down the almost $3 million multi-space recreation area at Diefenbaker Park in Saskatoon.

Anthony Thoen worked on the Optimist Hill Campaign and was grinning ear to ear watching people of all ages take to the hill.

READ MORE: Optimist Hill in Saskatoon set to open to winter outdoor fun seekers

“When I think of winter, I think of skiing and snowboarding,” he said. “To have this in the city, I see this as a beacon of winter activity.”

Phase one of the project includes space for snow tubing, skiing and snowboarding. A terrain park is slated to open next week, while the free toboggan hill is expected to be completed next year.

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Joe Van’t Hof, a co-chair of the project, is incredibly pleased with the communities support for winter recreation in the community.

“Anything is possible,” he said. “If you can dream it, vision it and have enough stamina to push this through it can be done, we’re living proof that is can be done.”

READ MORE: Ground broken on $2M Optimist Hill project

Van’t Hof said the project has been a six-year process, starting from an idea to a fully functioning snow hill complete with a temporary chalet.

“We are overjoyed to see families have the opportunity to spend time together,” he said. “We’ve created a legacy to slide up and down, to learn their craft and maybe someday we’ll have a future Olympian come from Saskatoon.”

Optimist Hill will be open to the public seven days a week unless the temperature drops below -25 degrees Celsius.

Both lift tickets and rental equipment are available on site.