Tony Abbott says he’s been working the slopes of Marble Mountain for 38 years, but the damage caused by rain and flooding over the weekend is the most he’s seen in one occurrence.
From the top of Marble Mountain on Monday afternoon, Abbott said crews were still trying to assess the total damage, and that a clearer picture was likely to emerge tomorrow.
But for now, Abbott says most of the damage appears to have occurred on the very top of the slope, where he’s discovered crevices in the mountain up to 12 feet deep.
Other areas affected include piping, and power line damage. Abbott says that, luckily, the ski lift wasn’t damaged, but it is buried under about four or five feet of mud, which crews are working to dig out.
Compared to the Blow Me Down Ski Trails, Marble Mountain definitely seems to be the worse for wear. Shawn Leamon of Blow Me Down says that although there is still a good base of snow on the Blow Me Down hills, the snow coverage is intermittent and not connected. This means that Blow Me Down is advising against recreational use of the slopes, but the ski slopes will be ready to open once another four to six inches of snow has accumulated.
At Marble Mountain, Abbott says he’s looking to have the lower ski slopes open by Wednesday, but until teams can assess how much snow-making is required, the higher slopes will remain closed and under repair.
Abbot says the rainfall and warmer temperatures, which surprised most of the West Coast over the weekend, was definitely a freak event, but the weather fits with what he’s seen this winter.
“Hands down, we’ve had the highest winds between Christmas and now,” says Abbott, comparing this year’s weather to that of the many years he’s witnessed at the slope.
At Blow Me Down, Leamon says milder Januarys are expected in this part of the province, but not to the degree witnessed this weekend.
Leamon says the crew at Blow Me Down had been expecting the rain, and they stored and protected most of their gear. Currently, he says, maintenance and repair crews are flocking the grounds in hopes that the trails can open in time for this weekend’s provincial biathlon. Unfortunately, says Leamon, Blow Me Down had to cancel last weekend’s races at the hands of the storm.