A young Penny Race skier zip down Molestar on their skis around gates.

A young Penny Race skier zip down Molestar on their skis around gates.

Murray Ridge pushes on

Murray Ridge Ski Area has had its share of challenges this season, but the season is going well, despite them.

Murray Ridge Ski Area has had its share of challenges this season, but the season is going well, despite them.

This is according to the new General Manager Sky Perreault.

Perreault took the job at the last minute, after the ski hill board for the non-profit hill had not been able to find a replacement for previous manager Dan Goff.

Goff resigned to take a year-round position with the Wildfire Protection Branch in Vanderhoof.

Perreault started the season off with the discovery of some groomer problems as a result of the cable splicing work it was used for in the off-season. Parts had to be sent off, and because it was not discovered until shortly before the hill opened, the repairs to the groomer delayed the hill opening because track-packing could not take place to prep the runs and lift line.

But with the help of Chris Greenaway and groomer Mike Barron, as soon as the parts were ready, the groomer was back up and running, and the groomer was put to work for long hours to make the weekend opening.

While there was not as much snow as some would have liked, the snow quality was good, and the holiday season saw some great weather, with relatively warm temperatures.

But then there was another problem with the groomer, and Perreault received a call from Barron the machine had caught on fire and while he had managed to catch it quickly and put it out, the machine was damaged and undrivable, stuck on one of the runs.

Once again, Greenaway came to the rescue, along with help from Barron, and the groomer was only down for a few days before it was back in business creating perfect corduroy snow.

But even with all the challenges and trouble-shooting, Murray Ridge seems to be having a good season so far, with a newly published schedule, featuring fun Sunday events on the hill.

Jan. 6 was the first of the fun-filled Sundays planned, with slalom races, penny races for the younger skiers or boarders, crazy carpet rides and bunny hill races.

Sean Perry, head ski patroller, planned most of the events, and ran them throughout the day with the help of Sarah Grill and Cam McCormick.

Ruckus from Prince George was also on the hill on Jan. 6, bringing with them a range of skis and boards for patrons to try out.

Jan. 13, after the paper goes to press, is set to be a Family Day of events, and will see the return of some classic Murray Ridge fun, like “snow snakes” where skiers and boarders can find rubber snakes on the hill and bring them in for small prizes.

The hill will also be hosting the North Central B.C. Zones for ski and snowboard slalom racing. Grades 8-12 from as far west as Smithers, as far east as Valemount and as far south as 100 Mile House will be converging on the ski hill for competition.

So while Perreault may have had to deal with some surprises, and likely will have to deal with many more before the season is over, so far, the community ski hill is doing well.

Anyone interested in volunteerings to help with the free events can contact the hill at 996-8515

Murray Ridge Ski Area