Christmas arrives early for P.E.I. skiers, snowboarders

Mitch MacDonald
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Alex Mann of Riverdale, left, and Matt Gallant of Cornwall cruise down the hill at Brookvale Provincial Ski Park on Saturday. The weekend saw the park open before Christmas for the first time in at least 10 years.

Christmas arrived early for skiers and snowboarders on Prince Edward Island this weekend.

Brookvale Provincial Ski Park opened for its first weekend of the season on Saturday and is scheduled to be open Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

It marks the first time in at least 10 years that the park has opened before Christmas.

Erin Curley, acting superintendent, said the park typically opens in early January.

However, the large amount of snowfall in the province during the past week helped staff get five of the hill’s runs covered weeks earlier than usual.

“We always hope to be open early and this is the first year we’ve been able to do so. Mother Nature helped out,” said Curley. “We’ve been making snow and preparing in hopes of opening but really without Mother Nature’s dumping of snow this past week it wouldn’t have happened.”

While the park was steady with those going up the lift Saturday, the lodge also saw some heavy traffic with a number of individuals picking up season passes.

Andrew Stewart and Devon Howatt were just two of the many youngsters who decided to enjoy the early opening.

“(I’m here) almost every weekend,” said Stewart, adding that his favourite run is the main Front Lawn.

While most at the park on Sunday were from P.E.I., Halifax area resident John Hattie also decided to hit the slopes.

Hattie said he is in P.E.I. for Christmas with his wife, who has family in Summerside.

“I wanted to get out and try the hill. I’ve never tried it before,“ said Hattie, a skier with more than 20 years under his belt. “The biggest one I ever went to was over in Switzerland in the Alps. That was neat.

“But this is still fun.”

Curley said staff are hoping the early blast of winter is an indicator for a long season for the park.

“For us, every bit of snow helps,” she said.

Trails were also groomed and ready for skiers at Mill River Provincial Park Saturday. However, rentals will not be available until December 26.

More information on lift passes, rentals and other services can be found at Brookvale’s Facebook page or website

Geographic location: P.E.I., Prince Edward Island, Brookvale Provincial Ski Park Halifax Summerside Switzerland Alps Mill River Provincial Park

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