Hello Kimberley Skiers and Riders! We are excited to report that things are shaping up beautifully for the ski season in Kimberley!
We have had over a metre of snow so far this fall, with about a foot in the last week, making for rapidly improving conditions up on the mountain. Also, the last month has been the best month for snowmaking we have ever had at the ski resort, so we have seen major progress on the Main and in our beginner for our imminent opening.
And we are stoked to report that the repair is proceeding really well on the Northstar Quad! All the required parts have arrived on site and have been installed in the lift. The Leitner Poma crews are back on site and are working diligently to get the lift operational as soon as they can. We hope to see the lift start turning as early as this weekend! And then once the testing and certification process is complete, we plan to open on the earliest date we can, sometime during the third week of December. We will publish an exact date as soon as we can.
We want to thank Leitner Poma once again for doing everything they can to get us all skiing and riding before Christmas. Please check back very soon as we will be excited to update you when the lift first turns.
With the rapidly improving conditions we are seeing increased uphill traffic on the mountain. We need you to stick to the designated up-track route on the Boundary run to go up and down, no exceptions. Skiing or riding anywhere else on the resort is strictly prohibited right now. We had skiers walk past our closed signs and ‘winch cat operation in progress’ signs today, which created a very dangerous situation and slows down our ability to get the resort open for everyone. Review our up-tracking and preseason mountain travel guidelines here.
Our team is stoked to get the resort open in full operation very soon. Can’t wait to see you all back up at the resort!
Due to the recent snow, we have been seeing uphill traffic on the mountain. To keep everyone safe, we ask you to please stick to the designated up-track route on the Boundary run starting now.
We have snowmaking guns, high-pressure hoses, high voltage cables, plus snowmobiles and snowcats on the front side, and all our cats and snowmobiles traveling around the mountain, including the winch cat and cable, which is very dangerous. We are proud to be one of the only ski resorts around with a designated uptrack and we ask that you stick to it, and not go anywhere else on the mountain. Please see and follow the up-tracking rules here.
One of these rules is that there is no up-tracking after 8 pm or before 6 am. This means no skier traffic on the mountain anywhere, including Boundary, at night, period. This is primarily for everyone’s safety, but it’s also because seeing people on the resort at night is now a cause for alarm. To help protect everyone’s ski season, we have no choice but to consider these people to have possible ill intent. We remind you that we have cameras installed around the resort and on-site security personnel to monitor and respond to people’s activities, including up-tracking.
Also, if you chose to up-track on Boundary, please be aware that the ski resort is not currently open, there are many early season hazards, you decided to enter at your own risk, and there is no ski patrol or rescue available.
We share your excitement for the ski season and appreciate your understanding and patience as we work to safely get the resort open for everyone.
Hello Kimberley Skiers and Riders! With the weather changing and the winter season quickly approaching, we wanted to provide another update on the North Star Quad Chair repair.
The team has been making great progress, and the timeline for opening the chair and starting the ski season is still within range of the normal opening day for Kimberley Alpine Resort as it is expected to be within the third week of December.
Very recently the lift manufacturer ran into some challenges and required additional electronic components to complete the repair. The good news is that these parts have been secured and are on their way with what we are told is a firm delivery date later this month. The installation crews are scheduled to be back on site within hours of these parts arriving and will resume their work to complete the repair and commission the chair.
The lift manufacturer has reaffirmed that they understand the critical importance of the North Star Quad Chair to the operation of the resort, and the importance of it for the economy and the well being of the whole community. There is no question that they are prioritizing our lift within their work schedules and parts assignments, and that they are committed to getting us up and running for this ski season, which we greatly appreciate.
There is a lot of excitement and optimism within our team for the upcoming ski season and we are in full preparation mode to get the resort ready for opening! Our snowmaking crews are trained up and ready to start making snow, which we expect to start this Saturday night due to the dropping temperatures. (For your safety please do not approach or get close to our snowmaking equipment or work crews.) There is a job fair this coming Thursday night in the Stemwinder to get all our departments staffed up for full operation. More information is available here.
We appreciate your excitement for getting the lift going soon and for the coming ski season, and look forward to providing further updates on the progress of the repair soon.
Ted Funston and the KAR Team
We are pleased to provide another progress update on the North Star Quad chair rebuild, especially since everything we have to share at this point is good news!
All parts required for the rebuild arrived on time, and the Leitner-Poma crews moved into Kimberley in September and have been working with local electrical crews on the lift daily. Once the components are installed, the next step will be commissioning by our crews and Leitner-Poma, and finally testing and approval to operate by Technical Safety BC. We expect the lift to be turning within weeks and the lift to be commissioned and cleared for operation by mid-November.
All indications continue to be that the lift will be ready to go well before our opening date in December. Thank you once again to Leitner-Poma for generously prioritizing the repair of our lift in their busy schedule.
Time to get your skis and boards waxed and ready for the upcoming season. We recommend you get your season pass before the end of the fall sale on October 14th.
Once again, please remember to give our work crews space around the lift and on the mountain roads. Our cameras and night security staff continue to report the odd person getting a bit too close.
Thank you once again for all your support this winter! We are really proud (and not surprised!) to see that Kimberley won the best small town in BC by CBC readers! And we were really stoked to see the Kimberley Alpine Team win the Mackenzie Investments Top Peak contest! Next up is voting for our friend Heather Gemmell and her powerful song about the arson on the Northstar Quad chair. Please give it a watch and vote for her now. Last winter is not too far behind us, but we want you to know that we are very focused on getting the Quad chair fixed and operational for next winter. Here is an update on our progress on the reconstruction of the Northstar lift control building and systems:
Immediately after the fire we placed orders for the primary components that are needed for the rebuild. This includes the drives (the electronic devices that control the speed and braking of the lift), the PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) which is the computer system that manages the information coming from the various safety and control systems of the lift, and the communication lines that connect these systems from top to bottom.
Over the next few months these components are scheduled to arrive at Leitner-Poma’s facility in Kelowna, where their experts will assemble and program them to control the lift. They will then deliver them all to Kimberley and install them in a newly rebuilt lift control building (currently being planned), and reconnect all of the components to the Northstar.
It is hard to give an exact timeline of this process, but Leitner-Poma has generously prioritized the rebuilding of our lift in their production schedule and all efforts are being made to ensure that the Northstar will be running before next winter. We look forward to providing you with further regular and more detailed updates on the status of the project as it progresses.
Enjoy your spring!
The Kimberley Alpine Resort & Resorts of the Canadian Rockies Team
It was a beautiful warm blue sky ski day out on the mountain today. We hope that you were able to come out and join us for a ski or snowboard!
We wanted to provide you an update on our operations, and share some of the further generous help we are receiving from our industry partners:
New Warming Structure: You may have seen the big tent frame going up at the top of Easter. It is a 20’x30′ ‘Arctic Shelter’ tent structure that has been lent to us by Castle Mountain Resort. We expect to have it there for the rest of the winter for when you need to get out of the elements. Thank you to Castle Mountain for this! And we’d also like to send a big thank you to Bridge Interiors and New Dawn Developments Ltd. for the use of their tents over the last month.
New BBQ Trailer: The Rotary Club of Kimberley BC has generously offered us the use of their BBQ trailer, and so we are working towards having it moved up there. Thank you to the supportive people of Rotary! We will continue to run the BBQ Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. We are getting pretty excited about the great times to be had up there through the rest of the winter and into the spring! Stand by for the possibility of live music up there this spring as well!
New Snowcat People Mover: Castle Mountain Resort is also sending us a 12 seater people mover snowcat to use over the BC/AB Family Week. Thanks again Castle! All three cats will run from Saturday, February 19th to Sunday, February 27th. Our normal cat schedule is 2 cats Thursdays-Sundays, and one Mon-Wed. The reason we run with this schedule is that the cats need downtime to be worked by our mechanics to keep them running through the season, and so that we can return them to the other resorts in at least as good shape as they were sent to us. Thank you also once again to Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort for the generous use of your snowcats!
New Snowcat Route: You may have noticed that we changed the route that the snowcats are taking up the mountain. Instead of just going straight up the Main, they are now turning left and going out to the bottom of the Boundary run, and then back towards the Main on the summer road. The challenge we were running into was that the 10-4 pitch on the Main was too steep for the cats so we needed to find a way to get them safely around the pitch. This only adds 5 minutes to the trip, but it will keep the cats in much better shape and provide for a more comfortable ride up. Up-Trackers – we have worked to still give you access to Boundary, but please do not cross the cat tracks or blue fence going either up or down.
Extended Equipment Shuttle Hours: We have extended the hours of operation on Fridays and Saturdays to 2:30 on the equipment shuttle up Ridgeway Traverse. Normally we run until 1:30 pm. We noticed that a lot of the school kids are out on Friday afternoons so we wanted to help them get up there, and there are quite a few people still heading out on Saturday afternoons as well.
Night Lights on the T-bar: We would like to thank New Dawn Developments for the use of their light standards for night skiing. They have also provided one of the tents being used at the top of the Easter Chair. Thanks again New Dawn for all your help!
North Star Quad Chair Fix: We wanted to share that the fix is proceeding well. The Leitner Poma experts have been on site multiple times to work with our technical team and have put the plan in place for the fix. Leitner-Poma of America has generously prioritized our fix in their production schedule. Once again, the fix will not be complete for this ski season, but all efforts are to ensure that we will be operating before next ski season.
Thank you again for all your feedback. Please know that we will continue to adapt and evolve our operation to do the best we can to provide you the best experience we can at the resort this, and every, ski season!
See you on the backside!
Ted Funston and the KAR and RCR Team
Update – January 10th
The Kimberley RCMP shared today that they believe the fire in the top lift control station of the Northstar Quad Chair in the early morning hours of December 18th, which made the lift inoperable, to be arson and deliberately set.
This will be a difficult and painful fact to comprehend and process for Kimberley Alpine Resort skiers and riders, for others in our community, for our resort team, and for skiers and riders throughout the ski industry.
We appreciate the work that the RCMP and other agencies have been doing on this fire and we will continue to assist them in any way we can. If you have any tips that may help in this investigation please contact our local RCMP.
Once again, our hearts and thoughts go out to all of the children, families, seniors, and all the keen skiers and riders whose ski season has been disrupted by this fire. Also, we can’t help but think of the impact this is having on the businesses, and the employees of those businesses, including ours, who depend on tourism and the operation of the ski resort, and who are suffering because of this fire.
Despite this major setback we have seen so many examples over the last few weeks of the strength and resiliency of our community and those who come to ski and ride in Kimberley. It is already becoming clear that an act like this will only work to bring us closer together and will in the end make us stronger as a community.
Please know that our main focus will be to continue to operate the resort and to provide access to the mountain by way of our other four working lifts and the snowcat shuttles (thank you again to Revelstoke and Kicking Horse Mountain Resorts!). The snow has been falling almost continuously since the fire and the quality of skiing and riding is proving to be well worth a hike to the backside chairlifts.
In addition to the ongoing skiing and riding product, there are so many additional reasons for guests to come to holiday in Kimberley this winter, including Nordic skiing, fat biking, snowshoeing, up-tracking, visiting the great restaurants and other businesses in town, including live music and après ski in the Stemwinder Bar & Grill, and access to all the great accommodation, hot tubs, etc. at the resort and in town. Please do your best to support local businesses whenever you can.
Our other main focus at this time is of course on getting the Northstar Quad Chair up and running as soon as we can. After a huge effort by KAR and RCR technical staff and our industry partners it is becoming clear that due to the extent of the damage and the worldwide availability of parts and components that the Quad chair will not be running again this winter.
There will be information coming out this week for anybody looking to defer their pass to next year or to request a refund. There will be no fee for asking for a deferral or refund, but please remember that any uses on your pass will be deducted from the value of your pass at the day ticket price of the days you used the pass.
We look forward to seeing you up at the resort soon!
Ted Funston and the KAR & RCR Team
The snowcat shuttle operation is in its second week now, and so we thought we would send out an update on the service, including announcing an adapted reservation system for seniors, families with young children, and those with mobility challenges.
We are pleased to see that hundreds and hundreds of people have been able to successfully book and/or walk up and get on standby and get rides to the top of the mountain.
Due to the snowcats’ big popularity we do however acknowledge that the seats book out very quickly every night at 6 pm, which can be a frustration. We encourage you to keep trying, or to just show up and ride on standby, especially considering that our busier holiday period is getting behind us, and midweeks will be slower as kids will be going back to school soon. We are open to any feedback you have on the system or on the cat rides themselves.
As we have said from the beginning, we ask those who are able to walk to the back side to please give priority to guests who are not able to do so.
Related to this we have had a lot of feedback that seniors (65+), families with young children, and those with mobility challenges have had difficulty gaining access to the cats, and some of our older skiers are finding it difficult to navigate the online booking system. So to help them going forward we will be giving priority booking on two cats daily for these groups.
The general service guidelines for this service will be as follows:
· The first reserved cat will go out at 8:40 am, and the 2nd at 12:20 pm.
· Please e-mail our Guest Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org any time up to 3 pm during the day on the day before you would like a snowcat ride up.
· From the emails that have come in we will randomly choose 24 guests to get those reserved spots. This will effectively work like a lottery. But please only send one email per day.
· In the email please include your first and last name and age and the same info of others in your party, plus the time you would prefer to go up, either 8:40 am or 12:20 pm. Your preferred time slot can also be in your email subject line.
· Maximum 4 guests per reservation request.
· Seniors will be able to include other seniors in their group.
· For families a parent can ride with up to 3 children, and a child can ride with up to two parents. To keep families together, children over 12 can be included, but at least one child in the group needs to be 12 or under.
· Please do not call Guest Services to book. All reservations will go through the e-mail system.
· As with all shuttles a valid season pass or lift ticket is required to ride the snowcat shuttle
· We will email those that were successful for the next day by 4:30 pm. So if you haven’t received an email by then please feel free to make an online booking at 6 pm.
· Friday, January 7th is the first day we will be taking reservations this way for rides on Saturday, January 8th.
· We will just go day by day for now to test out how this system works. Please let us know your feedback.
Click here to book a spot on the snowcat. All other seats become available every night at 6pm for the next day.