A few downhill ski trails open, cross-country skiing remains closed, in Brookvale, PEI.
The first three downhill trails opened Thursday at Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park in Brookvale, Prince Edward Island — the Bunny trail, the Double Trouble trail and the Front Lawn trail.
“We had a lot of mild weather earlier this fall,” said Erin Curley, ski park superintendent. « But things sort of turned around last week and we were able to get some good snow. »
All other downhill trails remain closed, as do cross-country ski trails and fat bike and snowshoe trails. Online, closed trail conditions are listed as having « thin sections » of snow.
“Unfortunately, we are a bit more weather dependent and need more snow from mother nature to open on this side of the property,” Curley said.
On Thursday, staff were busy making snow to prepare the site, which Curley says is needed with the warm weather expected by the New Year.
« Hot temperatures are a cause for concern, » she said. “However, in my experience, the snow we make holds up better in warm temperatures – in fact, it even holds up to rain.”
This is the first time that workers have needed to make snow for the cross-country skiing part of the park.
And there is only one snow machine, so it will have to be moved.
« It’s definitely been a learning curve. Because there’s no electricity to make snow here, we use a portable generator to power the snow cannon, » Curley said. « That in itself is a challenge, trying to get it close enough to the gun to power it up. »
Once the pile of snow has formed, it will have to be trucked into the woods and spread over the nearly five kilometers of cross-country ski trails. It’s just one more thing on the list of preparations for the 2023 Canada Winter Games, which are now less than two months away.
“We had the parking lot resurfaced this year and the driveway resurfaced and we’re certainly pleased with how it turned out,” Curley said. « We renovated the building increasing the capacity of the bridge and making things more accessible. We changed the accessibility options in the buildings. We added a new wax hut to accommodate the Games capacity. »
Brookvale is currently open on a reduced-hour holiday schedule and officially opens for the 2023 season on January 3.
Although there is still snow to be made, staff said everything will be ready before the start of the Canada Winter Games on February 18.
« It’s been a busy, stressful time for a few years, » Curley said. « But I can’t wait until February to see how it all unfolds. »
And if mother nature adds a few bursts to what Brookvale is doing, that wouldn’t hurt either.