November 29th, 2021

Province back in charge at Hidden Valley Ski Resort, for now

By KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 4, 2021.

The News has learned the provincial government will continue to operate Hidden Valley Ski Resort while a new request for proposals to the private sector is established.--SUBMITTED PHOTO

kking@medicinehatnews.com

Hidden Valley Ski Hill will open for the 2021/22 winter season, a spokesperson for Alberta Environment and Parks confirmed to the News on Wednesday afternoon.

“Alberta Environment and Parks will continue to operate Hidden Valley Ski Hill for the time being,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

Alberta Parks has operated the hill since 2015. Earlier this year, the province offered a possible 10-year leasing opportunity of the site to private operators. The closing date for bids was in early September. It is unknown how many bids, if any, were received.

“The Department continues to seek a suitable partner to operate the facility to enhance recreational opportunities, support local tourism and generate economic activity,” the spokesperson affirmed in Wednesday’s release. “The Request for Proposals will be reissued as soon as possible. We look forward to finding and working with a suitable partner to ensure Hidden Valley’s long-term success.”

Currently, Alberta Environment and Parks is not providing a date as to when the ski season will start at Hidden Valley, but assured more information would be shared “in the near future.”

A member of Elkwater Ski Club told the News Wednesday, they have received reports of equipment being moved at the site this week, possibly in preparation for opening.

After months of uncertainty about the hill’s future, ski and snowboarding enthusiasts are happy to hear Hidden Valley will remain open. Members of the Elkwater Ski Club, who began a social-media campaign with the goal of showing how important the hill is to residents of southeast Alberta, are especially excited.

“We are thrilled to learn that Hidden Valley Ski Resort will open for the 2021/22 season,” Morgan Blair, Elkwater Ski Club treasurer told the News. “The ski hill brings immeasurable social, health and economic benefits to our region. With this news, our club will continue teaching kids alpine and freestyle skiing in a laid back family-friendly atmosphere. We are looking forward to working with the amazing staff at Hidden Valley yet again.”

Blair and her fellow club members thanked the public for rallying behind them and contributing to the #littlehillontheprairie campaign.

“Elkwater Ski Club registration opens soon,” Blair said.

The News will continue to provide details about Hidden Valley’s opening as they become available.

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