Nestled in the valley in between the counties of Flagstaff and Paintearth near Alliance is the Valley Ski Hill.
In operation at the location just off Highway 36 since 1962, the Valley Ski Hill has served as a winter playground for those local and from afar.
While the opening date for the 2022-2023 season has yet to be finalized, according to board president Katrina Smith the hope is to be open for Christmas break.
Depending on weather, the opening may be pushed into the new year, but, once it does get going, the hill will once again serve as a winter sports hub for the region.
Thanks to a lighting system allowing for night-time skiing, the hill will be open Thursday and Friday evenings and all day Saturdays and Sundays, with the hill available to school groups during the day on Thursdays and Fridays.
The Nancy Green Ski Program will be back when the hill reopens, running Thursday evenings and Saturdays. According to Smith, past years have seen 100-plus kids between levels one and eight take part in the program which focuses on basic foundational learning with the possibility of moving on to racing.
Also hitting the slopes again when the hill reopens will be the Battle River Ski Club, which will run Friday evenings and Sundays. According to Smith the Battle River Club is smaller, only drawing 30-40 members, but the advantage of this club is it also allows for snowboarding as well as skiing.
Special events planned for the season include a kick-off, a variety of sponsored meals served by the ski chalet on a variety of nights through the season, an always popular glow night around the mid-season mark, a fun race for kids, and finally the Slush Cup and wrap-up in March.
“We for sure try to engage the community,” said Smith.
“We try to engage all the generations.”
The Valley Ski Hill is operated by a non-profit society which allows the volunteer board members to work Casinos, which money then goes back into hill improvement. The board has also done a variety of other fundraising activities, such as hosting pancake breakfasts.
Individual season passes are are now available for purchase, and daily full or half-day passes will also be available at the chalet.
Returning for the 2022-2023 season are the daily family passes, which allow parents and two children to ski for one price. Alternately, family season passes are available which allows parents and children, with no cap, to ski, provided everyone is from the same household.
The staff at the hill are currently at work making snow and grooming runs, and more information regarding a firm opening date will be shared via social media closer to that time.
For more information, check out www.valleyskihill.ca.