INGONISH — Outdoor enthusiasts from across the Maritimes are expected to test the downhill runs at Ski Cape Smokey over March Break.
© Submitted Photo
The volunteers who run the mountain facility report calls received from near and far from skiers planning to take advantage of the annual full week opening of the ski facility.
"We are expecting a good crowd from lower Nova Scotia, Yarmouth and other areas, so we are expecting it to be a very busy week," said Kevin Dauphinee, a volunteer at the hill.
"We've had messages from people asking for accommodations so it will be a good week."
The busy hill is also good news for nearby inns and cottages who are also receiving a nice economic boost far away from the peak of tourist season, he said.
"Having the hill open helps everyone. It is not just us, but it is helping others in the area like the gas stations, stores and everything."
Since Ski Cape Smokey opened on Boxing Day, six weeks ahead of its earliest previous opening since the facility was re-opened in 2011, the number of visitors to each weekend opening have been steady.
Though the hill operators are pleased with the early opening, the extra snow that made it possible also caused some mechanical difficulties to their snow groomer.
Assistance from Ski Ben Eoin and Parks Canada kept their runs groomed during the breakdown and Dauphinee said the Ski Cape Smokey groomer has now been successfully repaired well in advance of their busy March Break schedule.
Daily activities are planned during the school break to accommodate students and visitors alike when the hill opens each day from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. until March 16.
Some of them include a sliding party, a scavenger hunt, and a mini-putt snow golf tournament.
There's also kids and teen dances and a green day to give skiers a chance to show their support to the facility.
March Break activities close with the annual Donnie Powers Memorial Race and the Dave Rudderham Memorial Shovel Race on March 16.
Visit the hills Facebook page — Ski Cape Smokey 2011 — for ski condition updates and other daily activities.