Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 19, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
2 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, March 19, 1974 Kootenay hills woo Albertans Ski the Other Side is the message being beamed into Alberta from the East Kootenays. and more and more Albertans are heeding it. With four full-fledged ski areas, plus deep powder glacier skiing at two locations, the other side of the Rockies has a lot to offer Alberta skiers who are looking for new terrain. At the southern end it's almost possible to believe Fernie has seceded from British Columbia there are so many Alberta licence plates in the Snow Valley ski area parking lot on weekends. And 170 miles to the north, Calgarians are shunning the 30-minute- plus weekend line-ups at Banff ski hills for the less crowded slopes of Panorama Mountain near Invermere or Fairmont Mountain at Fairmont Hot Springs. In between, the Kimberley Ski Area, with possibly the best hill of the four areas, is luring skiers from both Calgary and Lethbridge. Within the last five years East Kootenay skiing has matured from a collection of community hills into full-fledged ski areas. While they don't yet have the cobweb appearance of the major ski areas with lifts running off in every direction, they also don't yet have the long line-ups that so frustrate weekend ski enthusiasts. And expansions are planned at Fernie, Kimberley and Panorama, which will more fully exploit the potential of the hills. At Fernie's Snow Valley, area manager Heiko Socher will put in a self- loading beginners lift this summer which will free up the main T-bar for intermediate and better skiers. Next on the list is a chair lift, but it will depend on plans for subdivision of some 100 of the 330 acres owned by Snow Valley at the base of the ski hill. If subdivision plans are approved by the provincial government, revenue from the sale of lots will be used to put in lifts and develop new runs. Just 130 miles from Lethbridge. Snow Valley already has two T-bar lifts, one on top of the other rising a total of 2.100 vertical feet. Nestled into the Lizard Range of the Rockies, it has prodigious snow falls, with an estimated 16-foot base at the top this year Skiing from the upper lift runs into May In fact Mr. Soeher is planning a spnnc i 'he May lone weekend okiers will foe tricked 1o the upper lift where there will- be day-long hot- dogging contests, a chicken barbecue and hopefully of sun-tan skiing. Regular day lift tickets cost and for mid- week skiing, while a family season pass is at Snow Valley. Some 78 miles northwest, the Kimberley ski area is run by a dynamic young man named Emile Cochand. who's a third generation ski resort operator. His father and grandfather operated Chalet Cochand 45 miles north of Montreal and Emile. who won his first ski race when he was two years old, is following in their footsteps. Emile brought night skiing to Kimberley with installation of underground wired lighting on the main run off the mile-long T-bar lift, last summer. With the T-bar and a fairly new 7.000 foot double chair lift, the hill is well served, but Emile is now eyeing a neighboring mountain to the north. Story and photographs by ANDY OGLE A new day lodge and chairlift with approximately vertical feet could be installed there, about miles from the present operation, he says. The tops of both hills are connected by a ridge line.so skiers could get to either base from both summits. That development is probably two years away, however. First off the drawing board will likely be plans for a 700-person conventioji hotel, condominiums and cottages. These will be developed at the base of the ski area which is entirely within Kimberley city limits. In effect, it will be the city's next area of expansion. And it will of course be done in the Bavarian motif that has revitalized this mining city and made Kimberley the closest thing to a European ski village in the Canadian Rockies. Lift tickets at Kimberley arc for adults, weekends and holidays: midweek, and for children, and to a maximum of lor a family season pass depending on the number of children. 3'z-hour drive north js Panorama Mountain. into a H males upstream Irom Jraermcre. which is a short seven miles from Radium Junction. It was a foot T-bar that rises vertical leet. and an upper chair lift is proposed that area manager Guy Messerh says will be built within two years, which will add another vertical feet. The ski hill's five runs, which test all levels of skiers, and a gentle beginner's self-loading lift and slope, are popular with Calgarians. many of whom own cottages in the area. But according to the locals, even on the busiest weekend, such as occurred during the recent Calgary teachers convention, the litt line wait was at the most 14 minutes. Lift tickets at Panorama are for adults, weekends and holidays. midweek. for children 18 and under, weekends and midweek, and to for family season passes Panorama has the added attraction of being close to the Radium and Fairmont Hot Springs pools, a welcome end to any skier's day. Fairmont Mountain, IVz miles above the luxurious Fairmont Hot Springs resort, is billed as more of a family ski area and is more part of the Fairmont "package" than an attraction by itself. However, its vertical feet T-bar lift puts skiers at the top of runs with enough variety to provide a good day's skiing. Ski packages which include accommodation at the lodge, with its hot pool, swirl pool baths and other amenities, and skiing at Panorama Mountain are offered at relatively reasonable rates. For four persons to a room, for example, a single day's stay with skiing costs five days and seven days Lift tickets at Fairmont are for adults and for children on weekends, and and on week days. A season pass for adults is with family season passes at a maximum All four Kootenay ski areas have individual ski week packages, and moves are now under way to try and put together ski-lour packages next winter that would take skiers to all areas If efforts in that direction arc successful it will probably be aimed primarily at the Vancouver market with skiers flying into 19 miles !rom Kimberley. A Iberia skiers, some 1rom lar away .arc .alreath Ihv oj Ka.st Honi'-n.n '-lo operations Mountain entrance Northern gateway to East Kootenay skiing, Highway 93 to winds up Sinclair Canyon. Radium V Off lo slopes Wrme 'his tyke slicks' to trie rope lows. Dinj-sized skiers can usually be seen OP even the more difficult slopes at most ski areas today.