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Saskatoon’s Optimist Hill opens for ski season

Saskatoon’s Optimist Hill opens for ski season
WATCH: Optimist Hill officially opened for the season on Saturday.

Optimist Hill, Saskatoon’s in-city ski resort, has opened for the 2019 winter season with the help of City Hall.

“(It) feels good. I’ve been waiting all year,” said snowboarder James Hay.

“I enjoy it being in the city rather than having to drive out to Table (Mountain).”

READ MORE: Optimist Hill prepares for 1st full season amid funding shortfall

It’s the second year for the hill, located at Diefenbaker Park, and organizers are hoping for the first full season. The 2018 season was cut short by cold weather and the high operating costs a ski resort accrues regardless of whether it’s open or closed presented a financial challenge.

Saskatoon’s city council voted to give Optimist Hill $25,000 in 2020 and again in 2021 during budget deliberations in November.

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Co-chair of the Optimist Hill campaign Joe Vant Hof said he was grateful for the support.

“You just feel like it’s a real sense of accomplishment that we could give this to our city as our gift,” he said.

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

He said he hoped the hill would have a full season in 2019 an added he hopes the skiing, snowboarding, tubing and tobogganing gives the city’s residents an appreciation for nature.

Maria Murray brought her two children to the opening for that exact reason.

“Everybody’s stuck on electronics these days and it’s good to be de-wired.”

Vant Hof said there are plans to continue developing the hill and that the rails and boxes for the snowboard park will be installed next week.