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Sask. ski resort faces delay as balmy weather stalls snow

Table Mountain's 2023-24 season has been delayed into Christmas or later, as warmer weather has kept them from making snow.
The first weekend of Dec. and cooler temperatures gave Table Mountain west of Battleford the chance to make some snow as pictured here, though not enough to start the season in two weeks as they were hoping for.

THE BATTLEFORDS — Though many in the Battlefords are welcoming a recent respite from winter as the end of November and early December boast above-seasonal temperatures, not everyone is so enthused. 

Table Mountain — one of the province's few ski resorts — is stalled, and Lawrence Blouin, the resort's general manager, says they're waiting anxiously to get their season started.

"We're hoping for Christmas right now ... Environment Canada's telling us that possibly [we'll] be able to start up again Thursday [Dec. 7] or Friday, [Dec. 8]," Blouin told the News-Optimist in a phone interview on Monday.

Blouin said that though Table Mountain was able to make snow the first weekend in December, they were forced to quit on Sunday, Dec. 2, due to climbing temperatures.

"If I can get ideal temperatures from -15 to -20 ... it takes about 12 days of snowmaking, 24 hours a day to be able to cover the whole area," he said.

The resort normally opens early in December, or right before Christmas and closes that last weekend in March. But with warmer weather in the forecast and nearly two weeks of -20 required to make enough snow, it's looking like the season may not start until Christmas long weekend, or even into January.

"We have no control over Mother Nature. We have to deal with whatever temperature she gives us, you know," Blouin said.

"Everything's ready. The staff's in place for snowmaking, we're just waiting for the temperatures where we can get it done. Your guess is as good as mine as for when that's gonna be."

But it's not only affected patrons who may have purchased season passes — with Blouin saying there are no discussions currently for a partial reimbursement — but staff are also waiting to get the year started.

"We're doing a bunch of small projects and stuff ... the guys who are snowmaking we're trying to keep them employed," he said, noting as well they've put a hold on hiring staff until they're ready to open.

"Everybody's just as anxious as the people walking on the street to get the place opened. We'll get it open here as quick as we can."