Back on the slopes

Paul Hutchings
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Marble Mountain jumping on opening day after wet beginning

CORNER BROOK — The wet weather couldn’t diminish the excitement of opening day at Marble Mountain as skiers of all ages flocked to the hill Monday for their first runs of the year.

In spite of some rather sticky snow conditions, the line-up to the ticket counter stretched all the way to the back wall and toward the cafeteria. Skiers from as far away as England were hitting the slopes.

Jan and Becky Milligan, from just outside London, adjusted their helmets as their kids impatiently waited to get in the relatively short line for the chair lift.

“It’s beautiful here, we’ve been really looking forward to it,” said Becky, who along with her family is staying at the Humber Valley resort. “The kids just can’t wait to get up that hill.”

Last year, the resort received about 75,000 visitors during the peak season. Marble staff said there were people waiting, snowboards and skis in hand, before the facility officially opened Monday morning.

General manager Chris Beckett said the decision was made to open the runs despite the wet weather because they were sure that skiing could continue in the coming weeks.

“We know we can sustain this right now,” said Beckett, when asked about the relatively thin-snow base. “The weather will get colder and we know we can make enough snow in the next few days.”

Skiers polled seemed impressed with what they saw on opening day. Gary Dimmer of Massey Drive said he and his children have been waiting since winter began and that it’s nice to see the hills were in good condition Monday.

“With what nature has given us over the last few days, I’d say we have it pretty good here. They did a great job with the (ski runs),” said Dimmer. “It’s great to get out here with the kids before they go back to school.”

For some, it was their first time on skis. Abdul Azaghdani and his family are from England and now live in Carbonear. They decided to head to the west coast to take some lessons and see what skiing is all about.

“We’re starting from scratch here, we’ve never been on skis before and we’re really excited to start,” he said. “We were looking for a new experience and it’s really beautiful here, they seem to take really good care of it.”

The ski resort received a boost when snowstorms started hitting the Humber Valley area just before Christmas. In the last week, the region received upwards of 40 centimetres of snow with more expected throughout the week.

Geographic location: Marble Mountain, England, Humber Valley CORNER BROOK London Carbonear

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