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WinSport opens ski and snowboard hill for 2019-20 season

Dark cloud still lingers over WinSport as hill opens for 2019-2020 season
WATCH: Ski and snowboard enthusiasts rejoiced as WinSport opened up the hill for the 2019-2020 season but with cancelled X Games funding, the offseason was a disappointing one for the facility. Josh Ritchie reports.

Skiers and snowboarders could be seen flying down the hill at WinSport in Calgary on Friday as the inner-city ski hill opened for the 2019-2020 season.

“It’s relieving to be back in my happy place,” Noah Smuszko said.

READ MORE: Renovations underway at Calgary’s WinSport despite funding uncertainty

Calgary has experienced some inconsistent weather the past few weeks which meant snowmakers were active and crews were working round the clock to get the runs ready.

“No major issues — the snow’s a little bit softer during the day and maybe will freeze up a little bit at night but we’re grooming every single night so we’re fluffing it up so it’s ready for the next morning,” lead snowmaker Ian Newcombe said.

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READ MORE: ‘A shame’: Calgary X Games are no more after province pulls funding

This season was supposed to be a big one for WinSport and the city, before plans for the X Games to come to town were quashed following the provincial budget.

Officials with WinSport, while disappointed, are not letting the offseason news get them down.

WinSport got $1.5 million to help with funding for the X Games which the facility says won’t be going to waste.

“It’s used toward facilities here, regardless of the X Games, we’re still able to use it,” spokesperson Dale Oviatt said. “So we have used that part towards the slopestyle course that you’ll see upcoming in the World Cup in February.”

READ MORE: Calgary’s Winter X Games won’t happen in 2020 after province pulls funding

That World Cup is one of a handful of events officials hope will bring people to the hill despite the X Games cancellation.

Season passes had a slight increase ahead of the start of the season, WinSport said, with senior and adult passes seeing a five per cent hike, while youth passes went up 10 per cent.

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