By Oliver Berger –
Five years ago, Morgan Day and I worked at Mt. Timothy Ski Area. Like in most seasons, we assisted patrons with their daily riding needs, tended to the lifts, repaired groomers and whatever else needed to be repaired, and built whatever needed to be built. Maintenance life at a small ski area. To get our shredding fix, we would go for the odd run here and there.
But we wanted a little more than “here and there.” As kids, we had explored some other ski areas in BC and now, on the odd day off, we would cruise to somewhere nearby. However, we wondered if anyone had ever ridden at every ski area in BC?Looking into it later we realized, nobody ever had… Yet!
The following winter we decided it was time to hang our hats at Mt. Timothy for the season and shred our province. We low-budget camperized a bright, baby-blue 1977 Chevy van. ‘Bluebird’ we named her. We loaded up our gear, ample blankets, spare parts, food, and hit the road. ‘Shred the Nar’ was born.
During the next three months, Morgan and I visited 45 ski areas, driving approximately 12,000 km. We cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed riding at the smaller local ski areas, each with their own unique charm. Enjoying the happy, small-hill-energy reminded us of Mt. Timothy—the feeling of being part of the family while enjoying your favorite activity. The stoke you get from slashin’ freshies all day with no line ups, high five! The larger big-mountain resorts had a hard time competing with that.
Having an extensive small-ski-area-operations background, we had lots to share with staff and owners at other ski areas. We picked up some innovative ideas and learned that we shared some of the same hurdles: funding, reliable seasonal staff and volunteers, lift issues, safety concerns, run maintenance, and, of course, snow. We saw the province, met the people, Bluebird survived, and each of us walked out with a shoulder injury. An unforgettable season, so unforgettable in fact, the following year we relived this adventure once more, only in Alberta.
The last couple of years we have been back at Mt. Timothy, working again. Our local ski hill has recently experienced some changes and with our brains full of new ideas, Morgan and I wanted to help.
Although we enjoy being part of the work team and giving our customers the small-family ski area experience, costs never seem to go down and we at Timothy, along with the other little guys, have a tough time keeping up.
Riding local helps. Whether it is just buying a day pass or putting in some volunteer time, it is rewarding to help out the underdog.
Local ski areas are close by, have affordable prices, smaller crowds, and more freshies. Most times, getting the best deal is supporting local. According to the almanac and the mountain ash berries this year, we should see a great season.
Let us ride local… Mt. Timothy Ski Area and Troll Mountain Resort!
Oliver Berger, from Williams Lake, has had the opportunity to ride at over 100 ski areas in nearly 15 countries and still loves riding local.