Sunday, March 21, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead, (Friday, March 19, 2010)

Shames Mountain's early closure stirs up discussion, No time like spring to talk Christmas carols and the Mayor's honour is defended by the ANBT chairman, some of the items of note from the Friday news cycle.

Daily News, Front page,headline story
LATE IN THE SEASON SNOW IS A SHAME FOR SHAMES MOUNTAIN SKIERS-- Shames Mountain shut down for the season on March 14 (as we outlined here on the blog on March 10 ), and with the early end to the ski season there are rumblings that it may have be the final season for the Northwest ski hill. With the General Manager of Shames saying that's not so, the Daily News put George T. Baker and Patrick Witwicki on the file to find out more.

Coming up on the first day of Spring seems like an interesting time to introduce the topic of Christ and Christmas into the local schools, but such was the case at the recent gathering of School District 52. George T. Baker reviews Catherine Hague's desire to see more Christianity in the School Christmas shows and Christmas classroom sessions. Hague a substitute teacher  in the School District is seeking to challenge the Ministry of Education policy on the issue of Christian Christmas Carols in the schools and at Tuesday's School District meeting found some support to her position that the policy of the Ministry was an uneven guideline. Baker's article gained him his second mention in recent days in the Vancouver Sun's education blog.

Mayor Mussallem's absence at the All Native Basketball Tournament's opening ceremonies gets another lookover, this time as the Tournament Chairman offered up some background on the circumstances surrounding the now controversial no show.  Peter Haugan,  admits that the Mayor was not provided with a "formal invite" to the ceremonies, a case of misplaced delegation, that he has decided to take ownership of. Wrapping up his review of the events of those days, Haugan re-affirmed that in his belief, Mussallem has been one of the biggest supporters of the All Native Tournament at City Hall.

Hawkair sought out the Daily News to clarify what it calls misinformation about its current ownership situation.  Under the headline "The correct information concerning Hawkair", the Daily News on Friday provided a forum for Hawkair officials to explain that Central Mountain Air has not purchased Hawkair, but that all three airlines are all partners within the same group.

For some the concept may be akin to splitting hairs on the terminology reflecting partnership and ownership, and it doesn't quite reflect what was said in the Hawkair press release when the story first broke on the local scene. As we recounted on the blog on March 16th, Hawkair's press release stated: "Hawkair would like to announce that effective March 15, 2010 the control and ownership of the Company has been purchased by a British Columbia corporation which currently owns and operates Northern Thunderbird Air and Central Mountain Air.".  

Regardless of the terminology, for the most part Rupertites are just glad that Hawkair will still be operating out of the city, whether as a stand alone airline or as part of a consortium of three separate airlines.

The Sports section featured a review of Thursday night's battle of the high school hockey teams, the annual clash of the school saw PRSS eke out a 5+4 victory over cross town rival CHSS at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre's Arena.

(Archive for Daily News articles for March 19, 2010)

Late in season snow is a shame for Shames Mountain skiers
Putting the ‘Christ’ back in carols 
ANBT president wants to ‘clear the air’
The correct information concerning Hawkair
Centennial Round Table brings industry and local government together 
Popular performer returns

The Northern View
No new articles were posted on the Northern View website on Friday

CFTK TV 7 News 
No new articles were posted on the Northern View website on Friday

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
A Significant Saikuz Loss-- Daybreak interviews Wil Fundal regarding the passing of Saikuz elder and healer, Sophie Thomas. (listen to interview here)

Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now. The most recently posted items for this week can be found on the weekly archive for Daybreak North click here

The Daily News, headline, front page story 
Late in season snow is a shame for Shames Mountain skiers
By George T. Baker and Patrick Witwicki 
The Daily News 
Friday, March 19, 2010

 Pillowy snow, covering long tracks of ski and snowboard terrain was not enough to keep Shames Mountain open until Easter this year.

Unlike most years, Shames Mountain closed for the season on March 14 at the conclusion of Spring Break, leading to speculation that it was closed for good and that North Coast slopes enthusiasts would be forced to make the long carve from Prince Rupert to Smithers whenever they wanted to ski.

Not so, says Laird Carmichael, Shames Mountain General Manager, who just concluded his first season on the job.

“I’m definitely back for another year,” he said. “And the support from the community is unbelievable.

 “We’re not going to work on mother nature … we’re going to work on the corporate side of things and continue to provide a good product.”

That said, El Nino wreaked havoc on the “product” this season, with unseasonably warm temperatures throughout January and February, which meant “early season” conditions at Shames never really improved.

Until Spring Break, that is, when snow finally began falling regularly up at Shames, and is still continuing to fall right now. Yet, Carmichael said they had no choice but to call it a season on March 14.

 “Normally we go into the first weekend of April,” he said.

“But we’re trying to protect our assets so we can keep our mountain open for next year.”

Marc Page, owner of local skateboard and snowboard shop, Loaded Sports, said that he predicted another return to the northwest ski hill next winter.

Page was conducting his annual ‘Throwdown’ freestyle board and ski event on the Shames park area, where a handful of children younger than 12 competed for the first time in a freestyle event. Page said he felt Shames would host at least one more year of competitions.

“It’s not closing. I don’t think so,” said Page.

However, others were not so sure.

Matt Demelo, 15 of Terrace, was snowboarding on the mountain last Sunday. He theorized that the closing was a false one because of the numbers of skiers and boarders on the hills. He was sure that the mountain would open again the next weekend and run until the snow dried up.

But he was less optimistic about the Shames Mountain Ski Corporation, who have listed the mountain resort for sale at the stately price of $1.5 million.

 “It will be rough on a lot of the kids in the North if it closes. There is nothing to do in the winter for the kids who don’t play hockey,” explained Demelo.

 “But the economy is hurting. I can’t get a job. My dad’s electronics store is probably at the worst we’ve seen.” 

Indeed, while the weather certainly didn’t help with skier visits, the economics of the region haven’t helped either, said Carmichael.

 “It’s been a very abnormal snow-pack, and we haven’t had enough ski visits,” he said. “The economics has a huge impact on how we did this season … how much disposable income do we have?”

A sales and marketing representative for Oakley was on hand and said he was certainly concerned about the mountain's long term future. Andrew Sharp said that he has made the trip to Terrace from the Okanagan at least once per winter for the past six years because of the preferable conditions the sparsely populated mountain provides.

"It's steep. No one's here. You might get that on the hills of Whistler, but it would be only one run," said Sharp.

Shames Mountain enjoyed three consecutive years of heavy snow packs, including the record-breaking winter of 2006-07.

But 2009-10 is, unfortunately, being compared to the mild winter of 2005-06, where a very rainy and mild December kept Shames from opening until January.

Still, that year, the snow eventually did pick up. In 2010, that didn't happen until the first week of March.

"The mountain used to have a quote "We put everyone to Shame(s)',. Well now it is a shame", opined local DJ and City bylaw office,r Derek Kormendy.

But Carmichael is adamant that Shames will be open next season, and they are beginning their early-bird season campaign as of April 1st.

"Despite what mother nature gave us, everyone had a good season," he said.

No comments: