As the guest speaker at the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce’s (SCCC) annual general meeting on May 8, Walter Bramsleven presented board members with plenty to be excited about.
Bramsleven presented to the SCCC in the Valley Room behind the Red Coach Inn on Wednesday evening. A resident since 1988, he has always been involved with his community, whether by playing slow-pitch or coaching young hockey players in 100 Mile House.
Locals might recognize him from years of involvement with Sitka Log Homes, but may not realize that Bramsleven is also the new general manager of the Mount Timothy Recreation Resort, which was purchased by KevLar Development Group in December 2018.
As part of the transfer agreement, KevLar agreed to pay all outstanding debts owed by Mount Timothy Ski Society (MTSS), a promise they have kept.
At Wednesday’s AGM, Bramsleven announced the group’s plans for the future of Mount Timothy, which is rebranding itself from a ski hill to a recreation resort. Bramsleven is one of three in the new ownership group and told SCCC members that he and his partners are grateful to everyone who worked on the hill before its sale. The primary owners are Larry Henderson of Lac la Hache and Kevin McCray of Prince George.
Previous contributions will not be forgotten, said Bramsleven, who offered nothing but admiration to previous owners involved, admitting that the resort has encountered “a succession of bad luck” in the past.
KevLar Development Group has been working with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to ensure the road to the ski hill remains well managed.
He also addressed any potential concerns of heavy snowfall, promising that whatever Interior Roads can’t manage will be maintained by hill owners themselves via private snow plow.
The main log lodge at Mount Timothy is still undergoing renovations, but its owners have already obtained a liquor licence. The lodge kitchen has been partially rebuilt to include new appliances.
Upon completion, the lodge will offer a full-service restaurant catering to local favourites—like poutine— while also servicing a demand for upscale dining. The group compared menus of successful B.C. ski hills to establish their own offerings.
Another important area of research for Mount Timothy’s new ownership group involved understanding what happens at ski resorts after guests finish hill activities for the day. Bramsleven told board members that the best way to make money at a ski hill is by capitalizing on what occurs between the hours of 3 and 9 p.m. He referenced successful resorts like Whistler and Sun Peaks (Kamloops), where countless activities are offered to guests beyond skiing and snowboarding.
“We want to be an all-season resort,” said Bramsleven. “More activity and more people on the hill means more fun.”
Mount Timothy won’t operate this summer but hopes to be open for the summer in 2020, and of course, for winter this year. They also plan to install campsites in response to a growing public demand for accommodations on the hill.
“Snowmobilers spend money,” Bramsleven advised, promising that Mount Timothy will offer plenty of access to trails and even to potential repair services. The owners hope to cater to mountain bikers in the future, too, but foot traffic from bikers significantly slows down chair traffic, which means the hill will likely offer shuttle bus services to transport mountain bikers instead.
They’re not just offering recreational activities at Mount Timothy, either. Bramsleven wants residents to experience special events like weddings on the hill, if they please, as well as family reunions and perhaps one day, even outdoor concerts. Goals for the hill are expansive and the team is clearly excited for what the future holds.
Before all that can happen, though, Bramsleven and his partners are still working to complete the changes they’ve made to the resort, which include sewer and landscaping projects.
The hill’s Red Chair will receive non-destructive testing after the May Long Weekend, to ensure that all chairs and ropes are safe for the public. Bramsleven assured listeners that this is standard procedure.
He and his partners are determined to restore the public’s faith in the hill: “Yes, we’re a private enterprise, and we’re going to have this thing up safe and secure.”
The resort has already secured some key staffing positions, as they’re determined to become operational year-round. That could mean Mount Timothy will be open for roughly ten months at most, barring winter conditions.
The hill will continue to service both the communities of 100 Mile House and Williams Lake and promises that one thing has not changed—their pricing.
The group intends to walk before they run, with plans to focus on rebuilding the mountain’s client base and instilling trust within the community once more.
Bramsleven thinks that Mount Timothy can foster similar success to resorts like Harper Mountain by including a tube park of its own. The installation could mean an earlier season opening.
The new owners are in the process of rebranding Mount Timothy, so locals can still find the resort on Facebook under the name Mt. Timothy Ski Area. For lift passes and more resort information, visit www.skitimothy.com.