A popular ski resort just south of Lethbridge says it’s off to one of its best starts in a decade, thanks in part to Mother Nature. However, the resort is also warning of possible avalanches.
“We got started on Nov. 30, which was our earliest opening in approximately 15 years and so that’s really put us on good footing here for the holiday break, and with great weather and great early season snowfall, it shows so sign of stopping,” Cole Fawcett, the marketing manager at Castle Mountain Resort said.
Fawcett also says a natural snowfall is not the only reason why the resort is off to a great start. He said a little man-made help has provided it with the extra resources it needs.
“In the off season, we came forward with our first formalized snow-making system, and so that’s definitely contributed to the early start as well as help from Mother Nature,” Fawcett said.
“Moderate temperatures through the holiday break have really helped bring the crowds out,” he said.
The resort has already seen double the amount of people it saw last year during their opening season, but with more people means a higher risk of avalanches in some areas. The resort says safety is top of mind, when it comes to avalanches.
“Avalanche Canada is responsible for putting out a bulletin and sort of creating warnings for the general public,” Dave Stimson, the Mountain Safety Manager said.
“This year, they’ve put out a SPAW, which is a Special Public Avalanche Warning, just to highlight the unusual dangerous conditions we have early season,” he said.
Stimson does point out that the conditions at the resort are safe for skiing and snowboarding. Although, he added the same can’t be said for the back country, where the snow pack is considerable and unstable.
Stimson said that avalanches can be triggered by human activity, such as skiing and snowboarding.
“Here at the resort, we use explosives to create the avalanches before people create them,” Stimson said. “Sort of in there doing the work, getting the snow ready for people to ski on it,” he said.
Stimson says how often the resort uses explosives all depends on how much snowfall they get. So far this year, he said they’ve had to use explosives roughly every two day to ensure the snow is safe and ready for visitors.