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Marble Mountain opens for 2021 season

Jared Gill was pretty happy to get back on the slopes of Marble Mountain in Steady Brook on Thursday, opening day of the downhill ski resort's 2021 season.
Jared Gill was pretty happy to get back on the slopes of Marble Mountain in Steady Brook on Thursday, opening day of the downhill ski resort's 2021 season. — Diane Crocker/SaltWire Network

Resort says it's ready to welcome skiers and snowboarders from Avalon when it's safe to do so

STEADY BROOK, N.L. —

Jared Gill had only one complaint after reaching the bottom of Marble Mountain in Steady Brook on his snowboard Thursday and that was he wished the Steady Brook ski facility had opened earlier.

Gill was one of between an estimated 180 to 220 skiers and snowboarders to hit the hill on its opening day for the 2021 season.

It was a long-awaited day as the region had a slow start to winter and Marble had to put off its opening a few times due to lack of snow since January.



Then, three weeks ago, just as the hill was ready to open, an upsurge in COVID-19 cases linked to a new U.K. variant of the virus hit and shutdown the province for two weeks.

Last week, chief medical officer of health Janice Fitzgerald returned the west coast to an Alert Level 4 and Marble got the word it could open.

Gill figures the last time he took to the slopes at Marble was right before the hill shutdown a year ago due to the pandemic.

He went up a few times on snowmobile after but said you couldn’t do much on the mountain.

But on Thursday he was glad to see Marble open, even with the restrictions and special measures put in place to keep users safe.


Twitter
Twitter


Things like having no access to the lodge, except to use the washrooms.

“I don’t need the chalet,” he said, calling it a luxury. He said he was fine with having his lunch and warming up in his car.

Gavin Harding said the conditions at the hill were great for his first time snowboarding in almost two years. “It’s great to get out here.”

Richard Wells, Marble’s inside operations manager, got in a few runs himself on Thursday.

“I was so excited I barely slept last night.”

The extra 15 centimetres of snow that fell overnight Wednesday certainly helped with conditions on the hill.

Even though the snow continued through the day and there were some blustery times, Wells said the reaction of users has been positive and they felt safe being there.

“Everybody said this is one of the better opening days we’ve had. Not having the lodge right now isn’t that major of a concern.”


Rules for proper mask-wearing at Marble Mountain. — Twitter
Rules for proper mask-wearing at Marble Mountain. — Twitter

There were a few kinks to be worked out at the lift corral areas in terms of spacing people apart and with the backend of the ticketing system, but Wells said they were all minor.

As for concerns that some people from the Avalon area of the province, which remains under an Alert Level 5, may head out this way, Wells said he hoped they will heed the advice and stay clear for now.

“We’ve refunded some of the day lift ticket users (from that area) that purchased yesterday and earlier this week.”

Well said the online ticketing system has the ability to determine where the credit card was processed and the IP address. “It’s not flawless, but it does put up a bit of a criteria there.

“We definitely want people from the St. John’s area, but when the time is right and it’s safe to do so.”


The health and safety of our guests, staff members and our community has been our top priority since the COVID-19...

Posted by Marble Mountain on Monday, March 1, 2021

Diane Crocker reports on west coast news. [email protected] | Twitter: @WS_DianeCrocker


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