Skiers, boarders out early at Sima

Never before have skiers and snowboarders made tracks down Mount Sima so early in the season -- that is, without first hiking up on foot.

Never before have skiers and snowboarders made tracks down Mount Sima so early in the season—that is, without first hiking up on foot.

Mount Sima Ski Resort enjoyed its earliest season opening last weekend with about 440 skiers and snowboarders ripping down the slopes on Saturday and Sunday. The resort will be open again this weekend between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., including Friday, and will be open daily December 17 to January 3, except on Christmas Day.

“I’m super happy to see so many people here for the opening,” said Guillaume Rochet, ski area manager for Sima. “People were saying thank you for opening early, so it was great.

“We have more fun at Sima because we have music outside every day, around the chalet, which is something new. And now people can buy their (lift) ticket outside, at a window.

“There was already a lot of people upstairs in the lounge the first weekend, so that was a big change from last year. The food is great – it’s homemade food this year.”

After a disastrous ‘07-‘08 season, which saw the facility close in January after troubles with its chairlift, Mount Sima bounced back last winter, luring 16,696 visitors to its slopes, which were closed only 22 days due to cold weather.

Outside of skiing and boarding, Sima worked to expand its operations to include an uphill snowmobile race, a mountain bike festival during the summer and an end-of-season celebration called Simapalooza, which featured a variety of activities, a beer garden and live music.

However, the resort is not done adding new dimensions to its operations, erecting an ice-tower for climbing and offering snowshoe rentals. In fact, on top of the regular ski and snowboard camps, Sima now offers multi-activity camps for kids that include ice climbing, skiing and snowboarding.

“Last year we only had skiing, so this year it’s a real multi-activity place at Sima,” said Rochet.

“We’ll probably have a backcountry festival at the end of February, Simapalooza is already in the plan for the last weekend of March (27, 28), the snowmobile challenge is already in the plan for April,” added Rochet. “The backcountry festival will be a full weekend in the last weekend in February. It’s mainly in collaboration with Up North Adventures.”

Sima will also be the training ground for Yukon’s Arctic Winter Games teams in snowboarding, alpine skiing and freestyle skiing.

“We’re going to be on the hill training with snowboarders every weekend,” said Mary Binsted, head coach of Snowboard Yukon. “There’s the Sandor’s Shredder program, which is the young guys, 10-14, will be out every Saturday with coaches. And we have the elite team – we’re calling it the E-Team – the ones training towards the Arctic Winter Games this year, the Canada Winter Games next year. We’ll be out with them every Saturday and some Sundays, especially leading up to the Arctic Games.”

Arctic Winter Games trials will be held January 9 and 10, with the race event on the Saturday and the freestyle event on Sunday. The race trials will be held in conjunction with the Alpine Ski Association and the freestyle event with the Yukon Freestyle Ski Association.

Snowboard Yukon will be holding RBC Riders races December 27, January 31 and March 21.

“It’s an introductory, fun race geared towards riders 10 to 14, but we’ll take anybody,” said Binsted of the December 27 RBC Riders race.

More information on the camps or other activities can be found at www.mountsima.com.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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