Thirty people from Purden Ski Resort enjoyed spring-like conditions at Murray Ridge on Jan. 16.
The group numbered 30 people plus two bus drivers, giving the drivers an opportunity to enjoy a couple runs as well, one who had not been skiing since he was 12 years old.
“We just had a great time up here,” said Steve Cutts from Purden at the end of the day.
Cutts said while there are not a lot of major perks to working at a ski hill besides the lifestyle, so the Purden management takes the staff on an all-expense-paid trip each year to treat them.
Last year the group went to Troll Mountain Resort out of Quesnel and to Powder King the year before.
The hill had been working with General Manager Sky Perreault this year, and there has been a good working relationship between the hills.
So this year, when the staff was having a Sunday evening social meeting once the hill was closed, they asked who had been to Murray Ridge, and Cotts estimated 80 per cent of the staff had never been.
“So it was a golden opportunity,” said Cotts.
He said the group enjoyed their day at the Ridge and he commented on how good the grooming was, considering the low snow pack so far this year.
Cotts said he has done grooming before and he knows how hard it is to work with low snow pack and try to keep from picking up rocks and exposing areas.
“This is challenging grooming,” he said. “I was impressed.”
Besides the grooming, the group enjoyed the food and the small, friendly atmosphere at the hill.
“You guy have got a fun little hill,” he said.
He said he appreciates the relationship Purden and Murray Ridge have, which leads to offers like earlier this year where pass holders at Murray Ridge were offered free lift passes when Purden was open and Murray Ridge was not. The offer made it possible for people to get out and give their ski legs a workout at a different hill before Murray Ridge opened for the season.
“It’s nice amongst small hills when we can have that kind of relationship,” said Cotts.
One member of their group who had been to Murray Ridge before was their head of ski patrol, Bob Scowell.
Scowell had been to Murray Ridge when it first opened and helped to train the initial ski patrol for the mountain. He said when they came to Murray Ridge to teach the course for the patrollers, they stayed in the patrol hut.
He said over the years he had returned to Murray Ridge to both examine the ski patrol for their first aid until they got up and running and for first aid competitions ski patrollers used to hold amongst patrollers from different ski hills.
Scowell said he enjoyed the hill, and found the people friendly.
Division president for ski patrol in northern B.C., Scowell is 90 years old but still going strong, and said once you learn how, taking the ski patrol toboggan down the hill is easier than it looks.