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Employment standards investigating defunct ski society

The Great Northern Ski Society owes more than $13,000 in unpaid employee wages, according to the government's employment standards branch. A certificate was issued last week.

The Great Northern Ski Society owes more than $13,000 in unpaid employee wages, according to the government’s employment standards branch.

A certificate was issued last week.

At this point in the process, little more than the society’s name and a dollar amount appear on a publicly available list at the department’s offices.

President Craig Hougen said he couldn’t discuss personnel matters of the now-defunct group.

He said the society always placed the highest priority on its staff.

The government’s director of employment standards, Michael Noseworthy, was equally tight-lipped about specific details in the case.

Speaking generally, Noseworthy said the amount on a certificate could refer to one employee or multiple employees.

After a complaint is received, the department will investigate, he said. If investigators conclude wages are owed then a certificate is issued.

The employer has 28 days to appeal the decision or come to some sort of agreement.

If there is no agreement, the case can be brought to the Yukon’s Supreme Court where more information would be made public.

The ski society was issued its certificate on Feb. 12 for $13,796.86.

Great Northern Ski Society, a non-profit group, was responsible for operations at Mount Sima until it very publicly ran into money troubles.

With debts exceeding $400,000, the ski society announced its intention to dissolve at the end of June and the resort ceased operations on July 2.

After a successful fundraising campaign, Sima was able to reopen this winter, this time under the control of a new group, Friends of Mount Sima.

But the original operators cannot officially dissolve until all debts are paid off.

Hougen said he couldn’t answer questions about how much money is still owing “until we have a chance to analyze this additional information that came in.”

He said paying off the debt is something that is being worked on constantly.

Aside from the bills, there are a lot of other things being done, he said.

“There’s all kinds of transactions that need to occur in order, first of all, for GNSS to close down and secondly, to transfer all of the assets to Friends of Mount Sima. There is a fair amount of work on that. Every week there is more work being done on that.”

Ideally, everything will be wrapped up by mid-summer, he said.

Hougen said this latest hurdle will not get in the way of the end goal - to dissolve the group and transfer all assets to the new operator.

“This particular certificate will not impact our ability to wind down Mount Sima. It may take a little bit longer.”

Since taking over this winter, Friends of Mount Sima have had some very public financial successes.

Earlier this year Sima sold more than 900 season passes. That’s believed to be the most ever in its 21-year history.

“At GNSS we’re delighted with the success Friends have had this winter,” Hougen said.

Contact Ashley Joannou at