Story By Matt Durnan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Thompson Ski Club celebrates its 50th anniversary this season, and as a gift for this milestone the club will be getting a new groomer for Mystery Mountain winter park.
Mystery Mountain is a hidden gem for Thompson and the region says club President Steve Carpenter, who spoke at a Chamber of Commerce meeting on Dec. 12.
“In my travels with Manitoba Freestyle and Canada Freestyle I’ve been telling people about Mystery Mountain and how great it is,” said Carpenter, “no one can believe that it’s run solely by volunteers and fundraising done in the community, it’s a huge accomplishment.”
Visitors to the hill this year will be treated to some finely groomed runs, thanks in large part to the newly purchased 2009 Prinoth BR 350 snow groomer that the club has purchased and is expected to arrive any time this week.
The 2009 model is a huge step up from the 25-year-old groomer that the club had been using up until last season when the engine gave out. Mystery Mountain can now lay claim to the newest groomer in the prairies, and in Carpenter’s words, the upgrade is “going from a Ford Model T to the newest Cadillac.”
From top to bottom the Prinoth BR 350 is a massive improvement and will create better skiing conditions; the tiller it uses is able to break up hard packed snow and icy patches, making conditions not only more favorable, but safer.
“When we lost the groomer last year it kind of crippled us,” said Carpenter, “that’s the heart of the ski area. This summer we did a bunch of fund raising, and with the help of the bank we were able to purchase this machine.”
One of the hurdles that the ski club had to overcome in purchasing the new groomer was that the shop used to house the old machine was just a tad too small to hold the new BR 350, by one foot to be exact.
“We had to build a new shed and we built it big to accommodate some cold weather testing in hopes of generating another revenue stream,” said Carpenter.
The new shop is 40 by 80 feet and will be able to house the ski club’s groomer, the trailbreakers’ groomer and hopefully accommodate cold weather testing as well.
Mystery Mountain will continue its grade five program again this year, a program that promotes skiing for youth in Thompson.
New this year, the club will be pushing snow shoeing on the cross-country trails. Doug’s Source for Sports will be renting out snowshoes this year and Carpenter is encouraging people to give it a try.
“The trails are all groomed and maintained and we’re making a push for people to come out, go for a walk, and get a chance to see the bush and enjoy the wilderness,” said Carpenter.
Tubing will no longer be featured at Mystery Mountain, but a terrain park for skiers and snowboarders has filled that void.
“I hope to see a lot of people out there again this year,” said Carpenter, “even if you don’t ski or snowboard, come on out for a hot chocolate and enjoy the facility because it’s beautiful.”