Ernie How, centre, president of Battle Zone Canadian Ski Patrol (CSP), presented official CSP jackets to Dean Peters, left, president of Mount Joy Snow Resort, and volunteer Grant Collins, right, on the opening day of the season at the local resort. The resort has four certified CSP members. More runs will be open this weekend. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO
What looked like members of the Swiss ski team schussing the slopes of Mount Joy Snow Resort on the opening weekend turned out to be uniformed ski patrollers.
Mount Joy has certified four Canadian Ski Patrollers (CSP) who received their new red uniforms with white crosses from Ernie How in time for the Jan. 6 opening.
How is the president of the Battle Zone CSP, covering Table Mountain and Mount Joy, who came to visit and participate in the season opener.
“It’s been a great day and great weather,” said How, who also delivered a rescue toboggan for new patrollers to practise on with skis.
“We do a continuous model of improvement throughout the year, so we practice various skills as we have time and the public allows.”
How said having four certified ski patrollers at Mount Joy is exciting along with the ability to share resources between the two resorts in the Battle Zone.
“It’s great,” he said.
A couple of the newly outfitted ski patrollers on hand were Dean Peters, president of Mount Joy, and volunteer Grant Collins.
“Grant and I were at Table Mountain last year and took a course on skiing with toboggans,” said Peters, who was eager to try it out.
“We’ll see how that goes,” he said.
Peters was also thrilled to get the season underway, albeit with only the bunny hill in operation.
“Ya, we’re really happy, everybody’s here; kids are quite excited, it’s a good day,” he said.
“It would be nice to have more of the hill open, but that’s just the way it’s worked out, so we’re doing the best with what we can.”
Peters cited some technical difficulties with the new snowmaking system and a lack of volunteers around the Christmas holidays for the lag in snowmaking.
“Well we’re planning on getting the snowmaking continuing, so ideally we’re hoping to get open this week,” he said, weather permitting.
“It was getting close, but in the end, we decided we would just open the bottom.”
Opening day attracted a slew of kids and novices who Peters said seemed content to challenge the bunny hill.
“They don’t want to go any higher up the hill,” he said.
“Everyone’s happy, we’re out here skiing; everybody is here; they’re learning things.
“I was talking to some young fellows up the hill and if they see snow off in the distance they want to give that a try so they’re hiking around here.”
How has skied Mount Joy as a ski patroller before, and he said the hill is great.
“It has great potential and it looks to be like a really fun hill for the kids.”
He and the other ski patrollers were all over the slopes helping kids get on the handle tow and providing free ski tips for good reason.
“If you help a little bit you might be preventing an injury, and the chance to build some relationships,” said How.
“It’s just supporting them to do it safely.”
How called the opening day snow and weather conditions “absolutely perfect,” noting he plans to be back at the resort a couple of more times this season.
“I have no set schedule for it, but I will definitely come and support members here,” he said.