After being closed for over 15 years, skiers and other outdoor sports enthusiasts can look forward to hitting the slopes at Snow Goose Mountain Park and Resort in Happy Valley-Goose Bay early in the New Year.
The Happy Valley Baptist Church owns the property. Local businessman Brian Davis, owner of Uppik Solutions Inc., is leasing it from the church.
As the name suggests, Davis said, Snow Goose Mountain Park and Resort will be home to much more than skiers and snowboarders.
Four kilometres of downhill mountain bike trails are almost completed, he said.
“We are hoping to officially open (the downhill mountain bike trails) in the spring. And it’s my belief that, when we officially open, we will be the only official downhill mountain bike facility in the province,” he said.
Davis said Snow Goose Mountain will be a four-season destination, with future plans including snowmobiling to tubing; biking to hiking; snowshoeing to repelling, wall and rock climbing to skating, equipment sales to rentals.
The goal for this winter, he said, is to have what was known as the “Beginner Hill” opened and serviced by the handle-tow lift. Tentative opening date is Jan. 2, 2019.
For those unfamiliar with the run, Davis said, it is steeper on the upper half than the lower portion. Since skiers can get off the handle-tow at any point, he said, the hill will appeal to not only beginners but skiers with some experience.
“I’m quite confident that anybody who is working to get to their next level will have plenty of fun from the top down,” Davis said.
While other runs will not be opening to skiing this year, Davis said, backcountry skiing may be allowed.
Once there is enough snow, he said, there are plans for a terrain-based learning area with four snow features that will allow skiers and snowboarders time to get a good feel for their skis or snowboard before getting on the hill.
Plans are also in the works to have equipment rentals and a cafe up and running in early January.
Uppik Solutions is also working with Grand River Snowmobile Club, Davis said.
“We will be making sure there is a trail that will allow you to snowmobile to the peak of Snow Goose to enjoy the amazing view,” Davis said in promotional material about the business’s future plans.
The business plan also includes hiring a full-time and a part-time employee which could happen for next year’s season.
Davis said volunteers are playing a big role in getting Snow Goose Mountain ready for the season.
For their efforts, he said, the volunteers will receive perks such as discounted ski passes.
For Davis, expanding his business is both exciting and daunting.
“It’s not as easy as putting up that placard, grooming the hill and opening it up,” he said. “There’s quite a bit of work that has to go into it, especially with safety and insurance and permits and approvals.”
Davis describes Snow Goose Mountain as “a hill with a history.”
“A lot of people are skeptical because the hill was bought before and shut down.... I answer that skepticism by saying that the hill was just a ski hill before,” he explained. “We’ll be having year-round activities and we’ll be integrating the business.
“As we get back into the summer season we will be renting kayaks and canoes... and the long-term vision is to eventually have accommodations.”
No matter the season, he said, the goal of Snow Goose Mountain is to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.
For more information on or to volunteer with Snow Goose Mountain visit www.snowgoosemountain.com or visit Snow Goose Mountain on Facebook.