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Misty Ridge gaining momentum

Misty Ridge Ski Hill welcomes 2011 with a bounding sense of optimism thanks to Barrhead County council and Mother Nature.

Misty Ridge Ski Hill welcomes 2011 with a bounding sense of optimism thanks to Barrhead County council and Mother Nature.

Barrhead County council voted in favour of a $28,000 endorsement to Misty Ridge Ski Hill’s board of directors to help settle their debts, and to offset opening costs such as insurance for the year, as well as new ski equipment. The money was also earmarked for a new electrical system to power the snowmaking equipment.

“Before, I was hauling a generator around the hill. Now I can just plug a tower in,” said hill manager Greg Reschke. The hill has seen, on average, about 100 people a day since opening the weekend of Dec. 17.

“That’s definitely a good start to the season,” said Reschke.

More than 1,000 people have used the facility since it opened for the 2010/11 season. At this pace, the hill is set to match or exceed the more than 5,000 people who visited Misty Ridge four years ago, Reschke said. He credits the early success of the season on a co-operative Mother Nature.

“It’s the warm weather and the huge dump of snow we got,” says Reschke, adding the future of Misty Ridge looks bright.

“The way this year is going, it definitely looks good. The more people who come out this year, we’re going to have better funds to put back into the hill next year. I can only see it getting better,” said Reschke, adding he would like to see a separate area for tobogganing in the future.

The past two years were particularly slow for Misty Ridge, recalled Reschke.

“We would get about 60-70 people on average, and on Sundays, that number would be a lot lower,” said Reschke.

As usual, Misty Ridge offers downhill skiing, snowblading and snowboarding. The staff is also busy building a quarter pipe to go along with the jumps and rails already in place.

The facility boasts a 1,300-foot lift line, 10 runs, cross-country trails, a concession stand, ski lessons, a certified ski patrol and equipment rental. Traditionally, the busiest day for Misty Ridge is Family Day, which falls on Feb. 21, and features a cardboard box race for kids.

Misty Ridge is open on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until mid- to late January when hours of operation are extended to 4:30 p.m. because of extended daylight. Misty Ridge gets visitors from all over the county including Westlock and Mayerthorpe.

“This year, you can tell there is more interest, because more and more families are coming out and getting their five- and six-year-olds skiing. Usually the bunny hill isn’t as busy, but this year, there is constantly people, and the guys are giving lessons,” said Reschke.

Season passes are now available for purchase. A family pass for the entire season is $350 while an adult season pass is $175 and $150 for youth. A single day pass will cost $19 for adults and $17 for youth.

Misty Ridge is situated along the Athabasca River about 35 kilometres north of Barrhead.

For more information about the ski hill, log onto


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