February 23rd, 2024

B.C. ski resorts shut as warm, wet weather strips mountains of snow

By The Canadian Press on February 1, 2024.

The entrance to Grouse Mountain is pictured in North Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. All three of Metro Vancouver's local ski hills are closed for a second day at what should be the peak of the season, as a spate of warm, wet weather strips mountains bare. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

VANCOUVER – All three of Metro Vancouver’s local ski hills are closed for a second day at what should be the peak of the season, as a spate of warm, wet weather strips mountains bare.

Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour blame “inclement weather” for the closures, while Cypress Mountain says an “ongoing rain event” has halted downhill operations.

The operators say on their websites that skiers should check back on Friday, but neither snow nor the sub-zero temperatures needed for snow-making are in the immediate forecast for the Metro Vancouver hills.

Environment Canada says double-digit temperatures are forecast to persist in the region before cooling over the weekend.

Ski operators are facing a dismal season thanks to low snow and a series of atmospheric river weather events that brought unseasonal warmth and heavy rain to the South Coast.

Mount Washington on Vancouver Island was also shut Thursday, with a tentative goal of reopening Friday.

Others are cutting their losses.

Mount Timothy in Lac La Hache in the B.C. Interior made the decision not to open at all this season, citing a lack of snow and a forecast of persistent warmth.

The resort announced the decision on Jan. 24, about a month after the typical opening date.

Launna Groves, general manager of Mount Timothy, said the resort requires a snow base of about 45 centimetres to safely open.

This year, even with the cold snap that swept the province last month, the resort only got up to 30 centimetres, which began to diminish as the weather warmed, she said.

“We don’t make snow here “¦ we’re completely dependent on Mother Nature. So we are at her beck and call and she’s been a little mean to us this year,” Groves said Thursday.

She said she has lived down the road from the resort for 25 years and this was the first season it hadn’t opened.

“I live not far from the hill myself (and) I can actually go out and mow my front lawn. There’s no snow,” Groves said.

“This wasn’t something that we wanted to do. It wasn’t an easy decision by any means, but it was for the safety of all our customers and our workers, employees, that we made this decision.”

She said the resort is offering to refund pass holders or defer passes until next year and remove expiration dates.

It also plans to keep its restaurant open to make up some of the lost revenue.

“A lot of the public, a lot of our customers, our season pass holders, have been so supportive. I think they all understand it wasn’t an easy decision.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 1, 2024.

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