From a joyous opening day with fresh snow on Friday to having to shut down due a fire in the liftie hut at the top of the North Star Express Quad on Saturday, it was a strange opening weekend at the Kimberley Alpine Resort.
The Resort was shut down completely on Saturday and by Sunday the Easter Chair and Magic Carpet, Tamarack Chair and Owl T-Bar were operating and people were taking the lengthy trek to the Easter Chair.
Matt Mosteller of Resorts of the Canadian Rockies issued the following statement:
“It is horrible but we are moving forward to do all we can to provide our community and guests with skiing and snowboarding experience. We want to thank all of the local businesses, those who ski and ride with us and all those who have sent their notes of care and support. We are proud of our team and their fortitude, resilience and for putting positive steps forward. They are doing everything they can. Please have people check our website and snow report for updates as we are looking to add experiences and winter activities over this Holiday time. We are also working on ways to enhance the experience at the top of the Easter Chair too ( ie ways to warm up if needed) As well we are looking at ways to add more experiences in the base area too. We still have some great additional winter activities from Fat Biking, Snowshoe rentals and Snowshoe tours, cross country ski rentals, kids ice skating (Stay tuned for when opening in the base area) to be offered as well.
“Kimberley has incredibly good spirit! We are grateful for all support and cheer. Our team is incredible here and they have pivoted quickly to offer skiing and riding experience. We are moving forward.
“The investigation continues by Fire Dept and RCMP, and we are in on-going discussions with lift manufacture to get this situation assessed. We don’t have any input back from lift manufacturer and given that it is the Holidays it may be bit longer until we have more definitive information and update. So to sum it up - we are moving forward as positively as possible to provide a skiing and riding experience, we are working on adding extra holiday experiences both in the base area and on the mountain and we are proud of our team and our community.”
Later Monday, Ted Funston of KAR put out this statement:
Update on the situation with the Northstar Quad Chair and our resort operations:
This is to confirm that at approximately 3:00 am on Saturday, December 18, a fire broke out and destroyed the lift control building adjacent to the upper terminal of the North Star Express lift, the main ski lift on the front side of the Kimberley Alpine Resort. We are relieved to report that no one was hurt in the fire.
The Kimberley Fire Department and the RCMP responded immediately and are currently actively investigating the cause of the fire. We are assisting and supporting their investigation in any way we can.
As soon as the seriousness of the incident became clear our thoughts immediately turned to all the families, children, and other keen skiers and riders who we love and who would be losing access to the mountain via the Northstar Quad chair until we can get it fixed again.
Our hearts also go out to everyone in Kimberley who makes a living dependent on tourism and the operation of the ski resort, including the owners of many of the businesses in town, and the great staff who work for them.
Thank you for all the kind words of support you are providing, and the offerings of help many of the businesses in the region have come to us with. We’ve seen so many examples over the last few days of why we all love Kimberley!
Please know that our main focus right now is continuing to give locals and visitors access to the great skiing and riding up there, and to make visiting the resort as fun and enjoyable as we can. These are some of the initiatives that we currently have underway for the holidays:
- Offering a ski/snowboard delivery service by snowmobile up the Ridgeway Road for those who choose to walk to the backside
- Adding night lights to the Owl T-bar so that the long tradition of night skiing in Kimberley can continue
- Looking for an alternative location for the rail park, possibly in the base area
- Getting the Easter top BBQ going again
- And providing the Kootenay Haus to give guests access to a warm building without having to come back to the base area - Plus events and activities in the base including the skating rink to create family fun
While this has been a difficult blow for all our staff, please know that we are feeling energized and excited to do the best we can for you.
Our other main focus of course is getting the Quad chair up running again as soon as we possibly can. We are working hard to source any parts we can from around the world to try to replace what was lost. We will keep you updated when we have an idea of the possible timelines.
Thank you for all your support. The riding’s really good up there from the recent snow, there’s lots more snow in the forecast, and so we hope to see you up on the mountain soon!
Ted Funston and the KAR Team