Open for business
Ski Cape Smokey welcoming all skiers, snowboarders
“A lot of people don’t realize what it’s like until they get here,” said Kevin Dauphinee, describing the view from the top of Smokey.
“It’ll take your breath away from the moment you take the turns up Smokey Mountain on the Cabot Trail, you will start to realize what a beautiful part of the island this is for sure.”
Ski Cape Smokey opened for the season last weekend, said Dauphinee, a longtime volunteer maintenance supervisor and one of this hill’s most steadfast ambassadors.
“When you get on the Poma lift, you can look back and the view of Ingonish Harbour, the beach, Keltic Lodge and then North Ingonish, it is unbelievable. If you walk up to the top of the mountain (which isn’t accessible by the Poma) it will blow you away even more — you feel like you are on top of the world. It’s truly amazing.”
Even though there wasn’t much notice, last weekend’s opening went smoothly, according to Dauphinee.
“Because it was last minute and was only for Saturday and Sunday, we didn’t figure to have many people. But the first day we had a few groups from Sydney and the second day we had some people from Sydney and Baddeck, and some folks from Martock who didn’t know we were open. They had their snowboards with them and they absolutely loved it.
They fell in love with the hill and said they can’t wait to come back.”
He noted that the snow the area received over the last few days is going to help build a good base.
“Right now we have about a three to four-foot hard-packed, well-groomed base and the upcoming forecast this week should help as well.”
The skill hill will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Later in the season the hill will stay open until 4:30 p.m.
Naturally Active for Life Victoria County is sponsoring its annual open house on the weekend with two-for-one skiing on Friday and free lift passes and rentals (while supplies last) on Saturday.
“We’ve been doing the open house the past two or three years and it’s been going over well. We picked up a lot of new skiers and hopefully it will be the same for the weekend.”
The volunteers aren’t making any snow at the moment, which is a big plus for the hill.
“Often off to the sides of the runs skiers hit nature’s fluffy powder. We also leave some runs at the top that we don’t groom so people can grab some powder,” Dauphinee said.
“The snow conditions are amazing and the people here are what make this trip worth it. Our volunteers spend countless hours on the hill, but we are here because we want to be here and we want the hill to remain open and viable.”
There are ski rentals available and this weekend there will be a full menu available in the cafeteria. The bar will be open as well.
Along with the regular weekend hours, Ski Cape Smokey will be open on Family Day, Monday, Feb. 20 and for the week of March break.
As seen in this recent photo, the runs at Ski Cape Smokey in Ingonish are ready to welcome skiers and snowboarders on Friday for the first full weekend of the season.