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Saskatoon’s first ski hill opens
Published Sunday, February 10, 2019 6:30PM CST
Last Updated Sunday, February 10, 2019 6:36PM CST
Saskatoon skiers, snowboarders and tubers no longer have to drive hours out of the city to hit the slopes.
Optimist Hill, a brainchild of the non-profit organization, the Optimist Club, officially opened at Diefenbaker Park on Sunday.
“Right now, everyone’s been travelling to either Prince Albert, Table Mountain or Wapiti. So to have something like this, right in Saskatoon, that everyone can just come to – it’s going to be a game changer,” Drew Macbain, a snowboarder, told CTV News right before going down Optimist Hill.
The hill took six years to build, cost $3 million and required about six Olympic-sized pools worth of dirt.
“To get kids and families enjoying this hill – it's going to be great for Saskatoon as a whole,” said Robert Letts, co-chair of Optimist Hill.
Adult lift tickets on the weekend cost $20, kids five years old and under are free. Optimist Hill is open until 9 p.m. every day unless temperatures hit below -25 C.
While Optimist Hill doesn’t have the vertical of the Rocky Mountains, organizers of the park say they hope it will serve as a place where kids can learn – and maybe even become the next Mark McMorris.
“As they progress, they can go on to bigger hills and learn how to get better and bigger – just like Mark McMorris did. There's no reason why we can't continue that legacy here right in Saskatoon,” Joe Van’t Hof, co-chair of Optimist Hill, said.
A second lift and free toboggan hill is expected to open next season.
Van’t Hof said there are plans to have a slip-and-slide to take over the hill in the summer.