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Winter’s here for skiers, snowboarders

Snowboarders head up the chairlift at Ski Martock on Thursday. With colder temperatures across the province making ideal snow-making conditions, Nova Scotia ski hills are anticipating opening more runs soon. 
ERIC WYNNE • THE CHRONICLE HERALD
Snowboarders head up the chairlift at Ski Martock on Thursday. With colder temperatures across the province making ideal snow-making conditions, Nova Scotia ski hills are anticipating opening more runs soon. ERIC WYNNE • THE CHRONICLE HERALD

Many Nova Scotia ski hills are up and running for the season, with Martock, Wentworth and Ben Eoin all open.

With sub-zero temperatures in the range of -16 C in some parts of the province on Thursday, all three are making snow and anticipate opening more runs soon.

At Ski Martock, operations manager Andy MacLean said one main run, Sundance, is fully open. Half of the bunny hill is also open with the side dedicated to skiing available and the snowboard side soon to follow.

“We opened on the 21st,” MacLean said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “We opened with mid-winter conditions on (Sundance).

“With the snow-making hours we got prior to that, we opened with about 10,000 gallons of water pumped on those trails, which is Sundance and one side of the bunny hill.”

MacLean said Martock has been open every day since, except Christmas Day.

“We’re right now in the process of moving snow-making over to another trail and opening two more trails that we’ll shoot to have open tomorrow (Friday). That would be Buttermilk and Upper Expressway.

“The big boon for us, and I guess for everybody, is that the temperatures ahead are showing really good temperatures for snow-making. So for all of us it’s a pretty good-looking future for the next few days to a week-plus, as well.”

Rob Carmichael, general manager of Ski Ben Eoin, said conditions are great at the hill in Cape Breton, with the main Red Tail run and the beginners area open. They are also

making snow on the next intermediate trail.

He estimated they have a base of 66-76 centimetres.

“Excellent weather,” Carmichael said on Thursday. “It’s cold (with) great snow-making conditions so we’re moving ahead fairly fast.”

Carmichael predicted they will be able to open another run early next week and will have the whole mountain open within the month.

He’s also looking forward to some bonus material falling from the sky.

“It looks like it’s going to snow this weekend,” Carmichael said. “We got a couple of centimetres (Wednesday) night blowing around but it looks like there’s going to be a system move in this weekend, so we’re hoping that it (gives us) a good dump.”

At Ski Wentworth, the hill has a number of trails open, including Feffie, Weffie, Robin’s Run, Sissy, Rosebowl, Black Fly, Helter Skelter and Sugar Shack, as well as the bunny hill and mini terrain park, according to their website. Night skiing will start Friday night.

Leslie Wilson, Wentworth’s general manager, said it’s great for skiing.

“A little chilly today for people but the conditions are excellent,” she said on Thursday, adding the base is between 61 and 152 centimetres.

She said it won’t be long before all their trails are open.

“It depends on Mother Nature, of course, and snow-making and that sort of thing, so we’ll just continue away until all of our trails with snow-making (capability) are open. You just never know, but we certainly try to get them open as quickly as possible. And then, some of our trails don’t have snow-making on them, so Mother Nature is in control on that one.”

Wentworth opened on Dec. 23 this year, Wilson said.

“We always aim to open before Christmas so kids are excited to get out and use all their new skis and snowboards and all their gear. That’s always the goal so we were quite pleased to get open a couple of days before Christmas this year.”

Ski Cape Smokey, which relies on natural snow, has not yet opened.

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