Mt. Timothy Ski Society has a lot to be thankful for. After announcing last month that the hill was in danger of remaining closed for the season, an outpouring of financial support from Cariboo communities in recent weeks has lifted the society back up.
The local non-profit ski society held two member meetings Sept. 25 and 28 last week where the board of directors informed members about the dire need of funds in order for the ski area to open for the 2017/2018 season.
It is also popular with families from Bella Coola, as it’s the closest ski hill to the isolated community.
A past debt of about $150,000 coupled with the state of the emergency this summer that resulted in a loss of season’s pass sales, fundraising opportunities, time to maintain and repair hill assets and a loss of staff are all to blame for the situation, he said.
“That past debt is hanging over us,” Wonnacott said, noting the hill managed to have a balanced operating budget with a small profit last season, however, the society must pay $20,000 per year toward the debt.
Wonnacott said there are currently about 300 season pass holders which account for under 20 per cent of the society’s income.
Daily ticket sales make up about 30 per cent of yearly sales, while grants, donations, kitchen sales, the ski school and School District 27 school trips fill in the rest.
Wonnacott said having a family ski hill is a community asset just as swimming pools, skating rinks and other facilities that lend themselves to healthy, active lifestyles are.
“Whether one uses Mt. Timothy or not, it helps provide a place for affordable winter recreation, offers discounted ski/snowboard packages for students that many of the schools in School District No. 27 take advantage of, provides a place for the not-for-profit Timberland Ski Club to run their Nancy Greene Ski League and Race Club for youth, contributes to the local economy and helps attract and keep people in the region,” Wonnacott said. “It improves our quality of life and to not have a local ski and snowboard area would be a big blow to the Cariboo.”
A skier since his teens, Wonnacott said he has been on the Mt. Timothy Ski Society board of directors himself for the past five years, three of those as president.
“It’s a gem in the Cariboo and I wanted to do my part to support it,” Wonnacott said of why he volunteers with the Mt. Timothy Ski Society.
Society president Ryan Wonnacott delivered the good news to its members just before the Thanksgiving weekend that the hill will reopen this year.
“Due to the great efforts and generosity of society members and supporters, we are nearing our initial goal of raising $50,000 in order to prepare for the upcoming season – currently we are at $42,000, and we are confident we will meet our initial goal by Oct. 15, and likely sooner than that,” Wonnacott stated in an email to members and on the ski hill’s website.
“We are excited about this support, and are beginning to plan for the upcoming season.”
Wonnacott had said previously the hill was in jeopardy of not opening this year due to a old debt hanging over the society as well as stresses caused by this year’s wildfire situation.
The society is planning a volunteer work weekend at the hill focusing on brushing and firewood for the lodge Oct. 21 and 22.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Election of Directors of the Mt. Timothy Ski Society, including election of new directors, is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. in the Gibraltar Room at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex in Williams Lake.
The meeting will follow the Ski Swap hosted by the Timberland Alpine Ski Society that will occur earlier in the day. The AGM is open to all Society members (season pass holders from 2016/17 or 2017/18), and voting privileges extend to all members 19 years or older.