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'We're not in the panic zone yet': Mission Ridge prepares for ski season amid lack of snow

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Hitting the slopes at Mission Ridge is a winter tradition for many in southern Saskatchewan.

Many might assume that the lack of snow is a major concern for the business. However, that isn’t quite the case according to business manager Anders Svenson.

“This is kind of par for the course for us,” he explained.

“This time of year is always focusing on snow making. Unfortunately we haven’t had the best temperatures for that but there’s some coming up in the forecast that we’re hoping for so we’re just prepared for when we get the temps.”

Micheal Smith is the owner of Mission Ridge Winter Park.

“We’re not in the panic zone yet,” he told CTV News. “But if we miss Christmas holidays, basically it’s the rest of the year just trying to catch up.”

“So we need to be open for Christmas.”

Like many ski hills, Mission Ridge makes its own snow, which is particular help during drier years – where natural snow is in short supply.

The process of manufacturing snow for the hills is quite the undertaking, and requires cold temperatures to ensure the effort doesn’t go to waste.

“In its basic form, we spray very fine particles of water into the ski, it freezes and falls as snow and it’s the volume that we do, so we estimate that between 12-15 million gallons of water go on that hill,” Svenson explained.

The process of covering the entire park typically takes about 10 days with consistently low temperatures.

“We like to go 24/7 with no highs reaching more than minus eight or minus seven, obviously we haven’t had that but we’ve been firing up at nights when we hit double digits.” Smith said.

“One hundred per cent of the snow that skiers see on any given day is man made. Anything from Mother Nature is a bonus, we call it free advertising,” Svenson added.

“We see tens of thousands of guests every year and it’s a pretty cool experience to be able to provide that to Saskatchewan. When the perception is that it’s flat and you look up and see that it’s not really that flat.”

While Mother Nature is still being a bit uncooperative – staff at Mission Ridge are optimistic that they will be open for the ski season soon.

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