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Mount Sima closed for the season

Mount Sima is closed for the season.The Great Northern Ski Society made the decision last week.“This tough decision is in the best interest…

Mount Sima is closed for the season.

The Great Northern Ski Society made the decision last week.

“This tough decision is in the best interest of the hill, the user groups, the staff and the public,” wrote society president Ernie Berken in a news release.

“Safety is the number one concern at the hill and the board and staff have tried exhaustively to address many issues that would ensure the safe operation of the hill.

“But they are unable to finish all the work required to open this season.”

Mount Sima suffered a number a serious setbacks trying to get the hill open this year.

A lack of natural snow early in the season was exacerbated by problems with snowmaking equipment, which became clogged with gravel and debris.

Chairs also had to be removed from the chair lift to do a cable test.

Gary McWaters stepped down from his position as general manager when the chairs were put back on again without a millwright present, as is required by the hill’s insurance policy.

On January 25, McWaters’ fears were nearly realized as 40-kilogram rollers from the T-bar fell eight metres to the ground.

The metal equipment nearly hit ski instructor Jon Standing and a student as they rode the lift.

“This season’s issues are a culmination of a number of years’ problems, all coming to a head this season,” said Berken.

“Many of the maintenance issues have arisen because of a lack of consistent staffing over the years, and the limited resources available to a non-profit organization that is running a big business.”

Mount Sima staff will spend the rest of the winter closing the facility, addressing financial issues, and planning for next season.

The board will also be looking at options for reimbursing season pass holders and people who have purchased punch cards and ski packages.

An approved reimbursement plan should be announced within the next month.