The communities of 100 Mile House and Williams Lake are answering the call to save their local ski hill, Mt. Timothy Ski Area.
The local non-profit ski society held two member meetings Sept. 25 and 28 last week where the board of directors informed members about the dire need of funds in order for the ski area to open for the 2017/2018 season.
“We are definitely hopeful and positive. We’ve got great supporters,” Mt. Timothy Ski Society president Ryan Wonnacott said Tuesday. “I think we’ll get there.”
Wonnacott said the hill set a target of $50,000 but would like to fundraise to $60,000 in order to “get a good footing for now and into the future.”
In just one week’s time, $30,000 has been raised through pledges, large individual donations and a GoFund Me site where $6,700 has been raised, Wonnacott said. The society needs to raise the full amount by Oct. 15 in order for the hill to open Dec. 15.
A past debt of about $150,000 coupled with the state of the emergency this summer that resulted in a loss of season’s pass sales, fundraising opportunities, time to maintain and repair hill assets and a loss of staff are all to blame for the situation, he said.
“That past debt is hanging over us,” Wonnacott said, noting the hill managed to have a balanced operating budget with a small profit last season, however, the society must pay $20,000 per year toward the debt.
Wonnacott said there are currently about 300 season pass holders which account for under 20 per cent of the society’s income.
Daily ticket sales make up about 30 per cent of yearly sales, while grants, donations, kitchen sales, the ski school and School District 27 school trips fill in the rest.
Wonnacott said having a family ski hill is a community asset just as swimming pools, skating rinks and other facilities that lend themselves to healthy, active lifestyles are.
“Whether one uses Mt. Timothy or not, it helps provide a place for affordable winter recreation, offers discounted ski/snowboard packages for students that many of the schools in School District No. 27 take advantage of, provides a place for the not-for-profit Timberland Ski Club to run their Nancy Greene Ski League and Race Club for youth, contributes to the local economy and helps attract and keep people in the region,” Wonnacott said. “It improves our quality of life and to not have a local ski and snowboard area would be a big blow to the Cariboo.”
A skier since his teens, Wonnacott said he has been on the Mt. Timothy Ski Society board of directors himself for the past five years, three of those as president.
“It’s a gem in the Cariboo and I wanted to do my part to support it,” Wonnacott said of why he volunteers with the Mt. Timothy Ski Society.
There are a number of ways supporters of Mt. Timothy can contribute to the fundraising campaign:
Contribute through the GoFundMe page, write a cheque to the Mt. Timothy Ski Society and mail to: PO Box 33, 100 Mile House, BC V0K 2Z0, donate via SportBC and the National Sport Trust Fund (NSTF) and receive a charitable donation tax receipt for any donation over $20, pledge a contribution or purchase a 2017/18 Season’s Pass online.
For more information about Mt. Timothy, including contact details go to www.skitimothy.com, or Mt.Timothy Ski Area on Facebook.