THUNDER BAY – Although the conditions weren’t picture-perfect, skiers and snowboarders took advantage of their first chance to get out on the hills at Loch Lomond Ski Area on Friday as the Snoopy and Sunbowl runs officially opened for the 2023-24 season.
“I am so stoked,” skier Mike Gallagher said. “We’ve been waiting for skiing season and it’s finally here.”
Gallagher’s enthusiasm was shared by many patrons on Friday.
According to office manager Laura Woodbeck, there was a lengthy lineup with people waiting to get their lift tickets ahead of the 10 a.m. opening.
"That shows the love they have for skiing,” Woodbeck said. “If you get the chance to put those skis on snow, they are here," she said. "We’re grateful to have everyone out here once again."
Woodbeck says snow-making operations have been taking place day and night over the last few weeks to get the Snoopy and Sunbowl runs ready for action.
"Mother Nature has been against us a little bit, but the temperatures are supposed to drop again, so our fingers are crossed that our amazing snow-making team and groomer crew can have Loch Lomond slowly back up and running to a regular ski hill again soon," Woodbeck added.
“It’s just the warm temperatures that are holding us back. Everybody here is really eager to work and ready to make everything happen.”
Gwen Binsfeld, who is a director with Canadian Adaptive Snowsports and coaches paraskiers in Ontario, was among those taking advantage of the start of the year at Loch Lomond.
She is at the hill this week to run a clinic that allows ski instructors to teach lessons to those who use adaptive skiing equipment.
“This weekend was actually planned for 2020, but with COVID, that got postponed and we finally were able to squeeze some time in up here,” Binsfeld said.
“The folks here are so keen and the hill is so supportive. Everybody’s on board to make this happen for the community.”
Loch Lomond will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
More information on the facility can be found on their Facebook page.