Edmonton ski hills seeing big boost in business

The province of Alberta’s pause on group sports has left children with a limit on recreational activities but one approved outdoor sport is booming.

Ski hills are reporting a record number of guests eager to buy tickets and get out on the slopes.

“It feels nice to be out of the house,” skier Jackson Hymanyk said.

“The weather is beautiful today, it’s zero degrees. It’s just nice to get out, you get out in the fresh air and you forget about COVID and you forget about all you worries,” hill guest Paul Wood said.

READ MORE: New restrictions announced for Alberta as 860 COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths reported Thursday

Snow Valley Ski Hill opened last week to an unexpected surprise.

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“Its been basically… the term is ‘crazy.’ We sold more than we did last year between four and half months, and this year we’ve only been selling for two months,” Communications and marketing manager of Snow Valley Ski Hill Tim Dea said.

Read more: Cross-country skiing craze in Edmonton: ‘It’s a bit of a madhouse’

Rebecca Wood tried to buy a day pass online, but getting one wasn’t easy.

“We went to buy a day pass for our son to go skiing today and when [we] went online it said that they were booked from [November] 21 to the 25 for day passes,” Wood said.

With a cap on lift tickets, she went with another option that hasn’t sold out so far.

“So we ended up just buying him a season pass so that he could continue skiing all winter,” Wood said.

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Snow Valley isn’t the only hill where business is booming.

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“Our phones are going crazy, we can’t keep up to emails, so it’s lots of excitement, there’s lots of people who want to come out,” Rabbit Hill Snow Resort general manager Derek Look said.

Rabbit Hill hasn’t opened for the season yet but spots are already booking up.

“There’s basically been an increase in everything, lessons included. We’re still seeing a lot of people wanting to come out and have a lesson,. We’re still getting questions from a lot of people that have never skied or snowboarded before,” Look said.

Concordia University economics professor Moche Lander said while business may look steady, companies need to prepare for a sudden change.

“Businesses have been hammered in 2020 so this is their last chance to try and make some money before maybe a shutdown come in 2021,” Moche Lander said.

But for now many skiers and snowboarders will enjoy the slopes while they can.

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