Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for December 18, 2013

Sima betting on warmer temps in time for Friday opening

Local ski and snowboard enthusiasts need not worry after waking up to sub-30 degree temperatures this morning. Mount Sima is still aiming to open this Friday.

By Marcel Vander Wier on December 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm


Photo by Vince Fedoroff

FINAL PREPARATIONS – Sam Oettli grooms the off-ramp near the ski lift at the top of Mount Sima Tuesday morning (top). FINE-TUNING – Sam Oettli grooms one of the runs at Mount Sima with the help of a BR 275 Snowcat Tuesday. The ski hill will open Friday, weather-permitting.

Local ski and snowboard enthusiasts need not worry after waking up to sub-30 degree temperatures this morning. Mount Sima is still aiming to open this Friday.

With warmer temperatures on the way for the weekend, the team of workers who have spent the last few months preparing the Whitehorse ski hill for the season say conditions couldn’t be better.

“I would say we’re definitely going to open Friday, because especially if the warmer weather is coming, it should come from above,” facility manager Sam Oettli told the Star today. “We should be warmer than town. Right now we’re warmer already. It should be great. It will be an awesome weekend.”

Each of the hill’s 12 runs will be open, Oettli added, but at least two will have restricted areas for use at user’s own risk. Hill users looking for thrills will be treated to a revamped terrain park this season.

“There will be lots of fluffy stuff to go play in,” he said. “We have really good snow coverage.

That storm that came through helped us out a lot. We’ve been working hard to get it to a point where we’re happy with it.

“The good thing with this cold weather is that it sets the base, so the base will be nice and solid.”

Skiers and snowboarders aiming to take to Mount Sima on Friday are encouraged to check the facility’s website http://www.mountsima.com for confirmation before making the trek out of town. Scheduled hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the hill is expected to remain open throughout the holidays, with the exception of Christmas day.

The opening of the hill almost didn’t happen this year. Following the July closure of the hill by the Great Northern Ski Society amid significant financial problems, many feared the hill would be shuttered for good.

But a new group was formed and the Friends of Mount Sima worked hard to save the 2013-14 season.

The president of the new group, Laurie Henderson, said much thanks is owed to the Yukon Government, Softball Yukon, and all local businesses and citizens who stepped up to make the opening of Mount Sima a reality.

“Without any doubt at all, we wouldn’t be able to open that hill without their support,” she said.

“I’m impressed and think all those that have come forward are to be congratulated.”

Henderson also had a message for skiers and snowboarders who may not frequent the hill as often as regulars.

“I invite everyone to come to the hill and try out the skiing and the boarding,” she said.

“There’s opportunities through the Kids Rec Fund ... Those who question the role of the ski hill in this community really should come to the ski hill and see the use and the adults and the families that take advantage of this hill ... before they make judgements about the hill.”

Sportslife, Board Stiff and Air North have combined to launch a new program ‘Kids on the Mountain’ with the intent of getting more children out skiing and snowboarding this winter.

Tickets and equipment rentals are available to low-income families through the Kids Rec Fund.

Don Wilson, the acting general manager of the ski hill, said the decision to open Sima for the day is made each morning after consideration of the temperature and wind chill. Minus-28 C (with wind chill) is the typical number the hill won’t operate at.

“We have to keep safety first in considering the operation of the hill,” he said of the decision-making process. “There’s a bit of judgement involved. We take a look at what the temperature is at the top of the hill and we try and determine if the temperature will rise during the day, or if the winds will die down, so we can safely operate.”

Wilson also expressed thanks to everyone who made the hill a reality this season.

“We have had tremendous support from individuals within the community, as well as businesses,” he said. “It is absolutely awesome. It’s not just businesses that are associated with the ski industry. It’s construction companies, computer companies ... everybody out there has stepped up and said ‘we want to help.’ And I really think it all started with Softball Yukon. They really kind of led the charge there ... and it’s really heartwarming to be up here and have this much community support behind us.”

CommentsAdd a comment

Just Say'in

Dec 18, 2013 at 10:46 pm

So how many of those people that pledged actually paid up? I would like to know that stat early in the year. These guys have blown it way too many times to let this get out of control again, they need to be totally transparent. Let’s not go overboard on the terrain park and grooming either, this is a community hill not a resort.

June Jackson

Dec 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I am delighted that skiers have come forward to support their sport.

Good luck to you.. you won’t have me on your collective backs again..unless you show up at City Council…

Sam Fister

Dec 19, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Good luck SIMA, I support your hill.

I do not support large tax increases, however the city is headed that way by expropriating mining claims within the city limits. Way to go city, a tax increase of 5% or more for at least 10 years for just one stupid act.


Dec 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm

I’d like to know if they pay rent on the lift and who maintains it.


Dec 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Just in time for the Christmas break and the youths and family will enjoy the outdoors activities.  Have fun

Add a comment

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your full name and email address are required before your comment will be posted.

Commenting is not available in this section entry.

Comment preview