Adam Piccolo, general manager of Mt. Timothy Ski Area, can remember the early days of the ski hill.
“We had a cement bunker with a wood stove sticking out of it,” he said. “That was the day lodge.”
Prior to 1987, Mt. Timothy’s first year of operation, the ski hill in 100 Mile House had shut down, and the ski hill in Williams Lake near Bull Mountain had shut down, both due to a lack of snow.
“The 100 Mile House group got together and decided they wanted to do a ski hill here [at Mt. Timothy],” Piccolo said. “There were a few others in Williams Lake who were trying at the same time to do a ski hill and they were all kind of putting proposals in and the government said ‘Why don’t you guys work together and build one?’”
From there, the Mt. Timothy Non-Profit Society was created. Bruce Johnson, one of the current directors, began flagging runs, and logging commenced shortly after.
Now, with a laundry list of upgrades, renovations and improvements under its belt, Mt. Timothy Ski Area is preparing to celebrate 25 years of operation this Sunday, with several special events to commemorate the milestone.
“It’s going to be a pretty big day for us,” Piccolo said. “It’s pretty exciting, especially since we’ve remained a non-profit society this whole time and continued forward. It’s great to see that we’ve held on for 25 years and hopefully we’ll go another 25.”
To start, since it’s the 25th anniversary, lift passes for adults will be $25.
In addition, for those up for a challenge, Mt. Timothy will be giving away 2013/14 seasons passes.
First, starting with registration at 9 a.m., the staff will be hosting a frozen T-shirt smash. The winner will be awarded a 2013/14 seasons pass.
“We’ll be freezing T-shirts into big, frozen balls and the first person to get their frozen T-shirt on gets a seasons pass,” Piccolo said. “It’s $25 to sign up for that, and everyone gets to keep the shirt at the end.”
The T-shirt smash takes place on the deck of the day lodge at 2:30 p.m.
Next, starting at 10 a.m., there will be a 25-question scavenger hunt taking riders all over the mountain.
“It will be 25 questions or obstacles that you need to accomplish and the first person to finish the scavenger hunt wins a seasons pass, as well,” he said.
“There will be stuff all over the entire mountain.”
Piccolo said Mt. Timothy staff will also be hiding 25 rubber duckies throughout the ski area, each with a number, corresponding to a prize.
Conditions, he added, are the best they’ve been all year.
“It’s been snowing up here non-stop for the past week,” he said. “Right now we’re at a 153-centimetre base, and that’s pretty decent for us. The whole mountain is powder right now.”
Looking back on some of the improvements and upgrades made to the ski hill over the years, Piccolo credits the work of past general manager Noel Thompson.
“I don’t think we’d be where we are if it wasn’t for Noel,” he explained. “I was a liftee when Noel started here and I always tell this story to people. The first thing he said to me was this place was a diamond in the rough and we just needed to polish that diamond.”
When Thompson started in 2000 all that existed was a handle tow and a T-bar.
“The first thing Noel did was build the extension onto the day lodge, which doubled the size of it,” he said.
“And then he started talking about a chair lift, and everyone thought he was crazy.
“One day we showed up for work and he had a chair lift sitting in the parking lot, and that was a huge undertaking.”
To Piccolo’s knowledge, Mt. Timothy is the only non-proft society in B.C. to have installed a chair lift.
In 2006, Thompson eliminated the user-unfriendly handle tow and installed the first magic carpet for beginners to easily make their way up the slopes. Then, in 2009, he upgraded the T-bar and installed a second magic carpet lift, along with a platter lift.
In 2009 Thompson also secured a $1,074,430 grant from the federal/provincial government’s Community Adjustment Fund, and work began on a new guest services building.
“That’s still our final project at the moment,” Piccolo said. “It’s really close to being done. The dry-wall is done, it’s been painted, and it’s just the finishing touches that need to be done.
“The new building will be our pro shop and our guest services, and the day lodge will be strictly for food service.
“We really hope to have it done for next season. We didn’t want to push too hard and have it not as nice as it should be.”