© MITCH MACDONALD/THE GUARDIAN
Biathlon P.E.I. coach Bob Bentley shows Cornwall resident Cohen Frizzell how to use a laser rifle during the third annual Open House at Brookvale Provincial Ski Park on Sunday. The rifle can be used indoors to help teach some of the sport's fundamentals.
While the hill may be lacking in powder, Islanders already have visions of soon skiing down a winter wonderland.
Hundreds went through the Brookvale Provincial Ski Park's Alpine Lodge for the third annual open house on Sunday.
Allan Matters, park superintendent, said while it's still too early to guess when the park will officially open, there's a lot of interest buzzing around the upcoming season. The park officially opened last season on January 9.
"Our lessons have grown every year during the past three. And the numbers are great for this time of year," said Matters, noting that the park expects about 300 will be enrolled in its weekly lessons.
The open house provided those students a chance to sign up early for a discounted rate, while early bird season passes were also sold.
Instructors were on hand to talk with parents, while the event also had a number of kid's activities, including an inflatable bouncy house, cookie decorating, hot chocolate and more.
"We just try to make it fun for the kids upstairs while their parents register," said Matters.
The open house also allowed the park to showcase some of its activities at the Nordic Centre.
Bob Bentley, a coach with Biathlon P.E.I.'s Brookvale Bears, showed youngsters part of the sport's appeal.
A laser rifle station, which saw a long line throughout the day, allowed kids to safely learn how to fire the gun.
"Hopefully they'll get interested by trying the shooting, then they'll add in the skiing as well," said Bentley.
Bentley said the sport has a number of benefits for both youngsters and older athletes.
"It's a combination of aerobic fitness, mental concentration and discipline as well," said Bentley. "When you put them all together, it's a great sport you can do for the rest of your life. It really is, some of our athletes are in their late 50s and early 60s."
Matters said while there is a storm forecasted early this week, it will require some steady cold temperatures before the park is opened.
"As I tell everyone here, the season always comes," he said. "Sometimes it's a week later and the next year it might be a week early, but it always comes around."
Early bird passes for the hill, which are on sale until Christmas Eve, can be obtained at the Alpine Lodge from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. They're also available at Sporting Intentions and Outer Limit Sports in Charlottetown, as well as Source for Sports in Summerside.