Water causing unprecedented problems at Marble Mountain: Abbott

Dave Kearsey dkearsey@thewesternstar.com
Published on February 20, 2016

Tony Abbott understands how people can become frustrated when things don’t go according to their ski itinerary. When it comes to tackling Marble Mountain, he said his heart goes out to those folks.

However, as the operations manager of the Steady Brook ski resort, Abbott hopes those same people understand the challenge of getting a hill ready after Mother Nature leaves a mess.

Abbott and his crew have been working long hours in an effort to get the hill back in shape after a torrential downpour of rain ripped through the region earlier this week.

The hill was open for business Friday morning with only three trails and the beginner slope was available for ski and snowboard enthusiasts. But staff will be punching long hours to have more trails open for Saturday and Abbott’s goal is to be fully operational by as early as Sunday.

On Thursday, Heath Baker spoke about his concerns over staff denying his vacationing family an opportunity to ski while on vacation. He said he was aware there would be some challenges with getting the hill ready because of the heavy rain, but didn’t expect it would take days before he could strap on his skis.

Abbott said he understand the situation and Baker’s frustrations.

“We’re doing everything humanely possible to get this place open as soon as possible and as safe as possible.”  

Abbott has been working extra-long hours since the rain hit. He says his crew have done an amazing job and he’s amazed that they were able to get some trails open in time for Friday.

It’s all about repairing the damage now and he believes the hill will be in great shape Saturday with more trails open with a good six inches of fresh powder to enjoy instead of a sheet of ice.

Excavators were busy on the top of the hill Friday dealing with the overflowed brooks and washed-out culverts. It’s an icy situation right now, but that’s to be expected with a mountain full of water flowing down to the base.

“What we’re doing now is trying to repair the damage and then get some manmade snow and bring it down over,” he said.

It’s nothing new for Abbott, but this was one of the worst weather situations he has seen in a long time.

“I’ve been here now 38 years and this is some of the biggest rain I’ve seen since I’ve been in the business,” he said.

Seeing skiers on the hill Friday was a welcome sight for Abbott, especially given the fact that Thursday presented another challenge when crew had to deal with a loss of power for an extended period of time.

“We had a transformer on the hill that there was four feet of water in it,” he said. “It blew all the fuses. We lost all our power and we were late yesterday evening before we got it back on and we’re dealing with that on top of trying to repair all the damage.”

He’s confident all the hard work will pay off with some good skiing on both sides of the hill before the weekend is out.

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