CLARENVILLE, NL — The groundhog reportedly didn’t see his shadow, which forecasts an early spring.
And according to an old rhyme that coincides with “Candlemas Day” on Feb. 2, “If Candlemas Day be fair and bright, winter will have another fight; If Candlemas brings cloud and rain, winter won’t come again.”
While Friday, Feb. 2 was certainly an overcast, mild and wet day, the jury is still out on whether this means the coldest winter weather and snow is behind us.
Chris Sheppard, manager of White Hills Ski Resort, is taking precautions to prolong the skiing season by sacrificing the Feb. 3-4 weekend and closing the hill for several days.
“The snow that we have, we don’t want to push it out,” Sheppard told the Packet.
If runs were groomed for this weekend – with plenty of rain expected throughout and on Monday – the snow would melt much more easily than if they preserve the snow in piles until colder, snowier weather comes.
“With the snow that we have and the more we’ll be able to make this weekend by not being open, we will be able to get back and re-layer the hill with that,” he says.
“The goal is the long-term viability of the season to get as much use as we can.”
And unless more snow is on the horizon, cross-country skiers are also out of luck. With such mild temperatures, the area’s extensive Nordic ski trails are essentially dormant until another snowfall.
Sheppard say closing the runs is disappointing for skiers and season pass holders, but the closure is a necessary step.
In the meantime, White Hills will feature some events that won’t require active slopes to provide enjoyment for people of all ages.
As part of Wintertainment, there will be a family fun day at the hill on Wednesday, Feb. 14, with a “dummy downhill” sled race, pig roast with baked beans, and game night.
“It’s going to be a great event — good times — so come out for that.”
There are also preliminary plans to have a coffee house event at the chalet on Friday, Feb. 16.
On Saturday, Feb. 17, BREW-Tine will see another culinary event at the hill, this time focusing on beer and poutine. The Eat the Hill event in January was a sold-out, two-night affair. Tickets are on sale now for BREW-Tine.
Keeping with the beer theme, BREW-Ski on March 9-10 will feature six craft breweries with a weekend of events planned.
“We are still brainstorming. Ideally, we want to ski and snowboard, but if we can’t, we still want to be the place to come to and do other stuff as well.”