Columnist on a slippery slope

Columnist on a slippery slope Open letter to Heather Bennett: As a proud member of the Watson Lake Ski Club I take offence to your recent correspondence in the Yukon News, January 13th. It concerns me you have chosen to portray our stellar facility in

Open letter to Heather Bennett:

As a proud member of the Watson Lake Ski Club I take offence to your recent correspondence in the Yukon News, January 13th.

It concerns me you have chosen to portray our stellar facility in such a negative way. This is hardly what a proud Watson Laker would do and is certainly not a recommended method of achieving positive resolution to a problem.

Our facility is run entirely by dedicated volunteers and thousands of hours are put in to make the facility the gem it is. We take pride in running a safe and reliable facility. We are open as much as we are able to fund and staff.

The 2009-2010 season got off to a slow start. We had high hopes with all the snow in October, but it seemed to end as fast as it started. We headed into the Christmas break with not enough snow to ski safely. We always hope to be open during the Christmas break. A decision was made by the club to open on December 27th for daytime skiing only because there was not enough snow to night ski safely.

We were open December 27th and 28th, before the temperature plummeted and we were forced to close. We have always closed if it is greater than – 25 C as it is not safe or pleasant to ski at these colder temperatures.

January 8th and 9th we were able to reopen for daytime skiing. Luckily, the week of January 10th to 15th we got more snow and a decision was made on January 13th to open for night skiing starting Friday, January 15th.

Our school groups usually ski in February as part of their phys-ed program. These are private bookings on the hill and are not open to the public. The school ski program did not start for 2010 until Friday January 15th when the Lower Post School students and teachers used the hill. How fortunate for those students to have two teachers who are ski patrollers!

I find it hard to imagine how the facts in your story compute. We have not had any days this season which match the supposed chain of events in your story. Night skiing did not even start until two days after your letter appeared in the paper.

It is appalling that you would use such a public venue to pass on incorrect or perhaps outdated facts. If this story happened in a previous season, there is no need to relate it now, giving the impression that it just happened. Instead, why not take the more positive problem-solving approach by referring the complainant to one of the members of the Watson Lake Ski Club so the situation could be investigated and resolved?

We have many skiers who come from out of town to ski at our fabulous facility. We welcome anyone to our facility during our scheduled hours of operation and where possible we accommodate special requests.

At this time we are open Wednesday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. til dusk. The chalet can be reached at 536-8031 during operating hours, when we are happy to answer questions. You can also leave us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

If you are coming to Watson Lake and wish to use the facility please call ahead to be sure that you know our schedule and hours before you arrive. The hill is always closed when it is colder than – 25 C according to the Environment Canada website.

The Belvedere Hotel and the Watson Lake Ski Club have joined together to offer ski packages this season. Skiers who stay at the Belvedere will receive a 25 per cent discount on lift tickets and rentals during their stay.

Finally, if the very public figure in Whitehorse reads this letter Ð please take the time to contact the Watson Lake Ski Club executive at Box 303, Watson Lake in order that we can address your concerns in a more effective manner than Heather chose to.

Sue Rudd, director

Watson Lake Ski Club

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