Ski club seeks help
Hali Clouthier, president of the Pembroke Ski and Snowboard Club, recently made a presentation to Laurentian Valley council requesting financial support for the Alice Ski Hill. Last year council gave $3,000 and she is hoping to see that matched or bettered. For more community photos, please visit our website photo gallery at www.thedailyobserver.ca
The Pembroke Ski and Snowboard Club is requesting council’s support to help with the operation of the Alice Hill Park for the 2013 season.
Hali Clouthier, president of the club, appeared before Laurentian Valley council last week to provide an update on how the club faired last winter as a result of a $3,000 contribution from the township and to ask for help again this year as the club continues to work towards becoming self sustaining.
While Clouthier didn’t make a specific funding request, she did indicate the city of Pembroke has approved a $4,000 grant and she would be more than pleased to see Laurentian Valley match or exceed the contribution.
Councillor Debbie Robinson expressed concern that she thought last year’s request was intended to be one-time only.
“I’m sure you hoped it would be one time, but we knew it would be a couple of years before we got ourselves out of the mud,” Clouthier replied.
While club memberships were down in the 2011/12 ski season, she told the council that daily lift passes and ski school numbers were way up.
“It was the most action the hill has seen in years,” she said. “There were lineups.”
Memberships and sales in 2012 were $57,577.15 compared to $46,208.03 in 2011. Although revenues increased, so too did expenses which came in at $68,120.02 in 2012, up $13,855.44 from 2011.
In 2012, the club received $24,010.42 through municipal subsidies and fundraising efforts, Clouthier noted.
At the end of the 2012 season, the club had a bank balance of $10,683.05, but with old non-cleared payments of $1,370.25, $1,695.71 worth of payments in September and a $4,000 donation from Trans Canada Pipeline, it started this season with $3,617.19.
It didn’t take the club long to figure out what to do with the influx of cash. Among the expenses were repairs to the counter weight, T-Bar, Poma lift, increased furnace oil costs, increased diesel fuel cost because the lift ran more often, and new snowboard equipment purchased for the rental room.
Last year, the club saw increases in the number of people taking lessons at the hill with 28 in Kinder ski compared to 19, a huge jump in students from 35 in 2011 to 81 in 2012 and six adults up from zero the year before. The number of racers, however, went from 29 to 16.
With increased riders came increased demand on the already old equipment, which led to more repairs and in turn more expenses, Clouthier told council, in addition to extra wages for staff and instructors to meet the demands of the hill and overall increased insurance costs.
In an effort to show council the club is trying to come up with ways to increase revenues coming into the hill, she explained new this year will be a snowboard terrain park with the goal of increasing snowboarder ridership and in turn increasing revenue for the hill. The club is engaging students from the community to help get the terrain park up and running. It will include a certified snowboard terrain instructor to provide lessons to those who are interested in learning to do the sport safely.
Laurentian Valley has yet to make a decision on whether it will fund the Pembroke Ski and Snowboard Club.
Club registration takes place at the Pembroke Mall outside Sport Chek on Saturday, Nov. 17 and Saturday, Dec. 1, both days from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For the first time in close to 20 years the club is hosting a ski swap Nov. 16 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the former Curves location on Pembroke Street East. On Nov. 15 people with equipment to sell can drop it off so it can be inspected and priced in time for the sale. Twenty per cent of the sales will go to the club.
Tina Peplinskie is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist