By Dave Mathieson
WENTWORTH - Skiers are now reaping the benefits of a $3.2 million investment in Ski Wentworth, which will host the alpine and freestyle ski events during the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
Big-budget renovations made over the summer include new snow-making and trail systems.
"We added to our existing snow-making system, so it doubled our snow-making capacity," Ski Wentworth general manager Leslie Wilson said.
"We added a new snow-making plant, two new snow-making pumps, two new compressors, 90 new snow-guns and new fan-guns."
Skiers have been enjoying the snow-making makeover since Ski Wentworth opened Dec. 20.
"With our snow-making system we've been able to lay down a real good base so we have tons of snow," Wilson said.
Thanks to the firepower of the snow-guns, Wentworth has a three-foot base of solid packed snow, with groomed snow on top.
"We have the main trail open, the sissy-rose bowl, the bunny hill and the mini terrain park, with five features in the terrain park," Wilson said. "So, with the deep base of snow, we're in good shape."
The renovations were completed over the summer, enabling workers and skiers to calibrate the new system over the winter and smooth out any kinks that might occur.
"The plan was to do everything this summer so that we'll have a year to test it out," Wilson said. "If there's anything that needs to be changed, we'll do that next summer."
It wasn't just snow-making capacity that was increased. Trail capacity was also boosted.
"They built a new mogul run and new aerials for freestyle skiing," Wilson said. "And they made changes to the halfpipe and they also put in a new section for the alpine trails."
Wilson is thrilled with the changes.
"It's really exciting," she said. "It makes the mountain seem even bigger and people have been quite impressed with all the changes."
The makeover will have its first major test when Ski Wentworth hosts the Canadian Junior Freestyle Championships at the end of February.
"That's the biggest event we have ever hosted here," Wilson said. "It's sort of a dry run for the Canada Winter Games, so we're really gearing up for that."