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East side of Marble Mountain finally opened on Friday

Despite challenging weather this winter, the hope is Marble Mountain will be 100 per cent open by the end of next week.
Despite challenging weather this winter, the hope is Marble Mountain will be 100 per cent open by the end of next week. - Star file photo

There was a positive development at Marble Mountain on Friday, as the east side of the hill was finally opened for the first time this season.

Only Country Road was groomed, however, with the other slopes in that area remaining untouched by the groomer for at least another week, according to chief operating officer Tony Abbott. The Black Mariah and Newfie Bullet chairlifts remained closed, so the only access to that side is via the Upalong trail at the top of the Lightning Express.

Abbott said they are “shooting for next weekend” with regards to getting the Black Mariah running.

“Please God, if everything goes well,” he said. “Every time I open my mouth, Mother Nature sort of gets me in the back.”

It’s been a trying season to say the least for the ski resort, with mild temperatures and rainfall causing plenty of problems and closures.

“I think we’re on our fifth heavy rainfall for this year, which is definitely not normal,” Abbott said.

“We made a lot of snow and that’s the only thing that saved us, man-made snow.”

Despite the challenges, he said everything is looking “really good” right now and figured the hill would be approximately 90 per cent open Saturday.

Somewhat mild conditions are coming this weekend according to Environment Canada, as of 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

A temperature of around 0 C was expected for Saturday, with light flurries bringing about two centimetres of snow. A 30 km/h wind — gusting to 50 — was also forecast. The temperature was expected to remain the same overnight, with a mix of snow and rain.

Sunday is predicted to be cloudy with a 60 per cent chance of flurries and a high of 0 C, falling to -2 C at night.

Monday is calling for flurries or rain showers as the temperature rises to 1 C, before dropping drastically to -10 C overnight. Subfreezing temperatures and periods of snow are expected for the rest of the week.

“I don’t think that’s anything to worry about,” Abbott said of Monday’s forecast. “It’s only drizzle, as far as I know.”

He said snow-making will resume next week once the colder temperatures arrive, with the hope of getting the rest of the mountain finished by the end of the week.

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