We had the pleasure of visiting Andy Foster and meeting Sam Smith at Baldy Mountain Resort this weekend.
Sam (Sandra) has been a long-time resident on the mountain. The Resort has been through a number of challenges over its history, and at one point in the 90’s the Ski Club took over the Ski Hill and Sam was General Manager. It was fantastic hearing about the history of Baldy from Sam and the many CWSAA Spring Conferences she attended. Sam still remains very active in the Resort and community and was on the hill helping out and taking photos for her blog (http://skibaldy.blogspot.com/) all weekend.
This weekend, Baldy was host of the Southern Zone Nancy Greene Ski League Finals and Cynthia Thomas’ two girls, Amelia (U6) and Ella (U10), were competing in their first race (proud mama). The race was mostly run by volunteers from the community that no longer have kids in the program, but have a fond connection to Baldy and its race program. Word on the mountain was that this was possibly the largest race they hosted since the 1985 BC Winter Games. Andy was the MC of the race, announcing each child as they came down the course and later hosting the awards ceremony. At Baldy they have a tradition of offering cupcakes to all the competitors, and the community got together and baked the treats.
Baldy is celebrating 50 years this season, and has an incredible history. Many of their runs are named after important people from the area. They’ve showcased these stories throughout the resort.
Baldy is serviced by two chairs – The Eagle double chair that brings guests into fantastic glades and rolling groomers. And the Sugarlump Quad, a Leitner Poma fixed grip that was installed in 2007 when Tim Foster was the GM, accessing mostly beginner and intermediate groomers, and the terrain park. The lift crews were very friendly and had their hands full this weekend with a tonne of pint size ski racers. With fixed grip chairs, the lift operators were quick to offer assistance, slow the lifts for the masses of mini racers who couldn’t reach the seat and hold back the chairs for smooth loading, while the lifties at the top always had a smile and wave! There is also a conveyor lift for the beginners. A t-bar also remains on the mountain, but is not operating as the terrain is mostly accessible from the Quad chair. Despite the major race and local powder hounds flocking to the mountain, there were never any line-ups for the lifts!
This is the third year back in operations, since the resort was in receivership and closed for a period of time. The Ski School and rentals Dome has been temporarily replaced by trailers. Unfortunately the dome structure was infested by marmots during the closure and has substantial repairs required. The repairs are expected to be done this summer. Matt Koenig has been at Baldy for about 20 years, and came up on his own time during the closure to ensure the lifts and facilities were maintained.
During the weekend of our visit over 20 cm of snow fell which made for amazing powder skiing in glades that could easily compete with a day of heli skiing. Meanwhile the impeccable grooming on all their green, almost every blue and even a couple blacks was top notch. Congratulations to the team at Baldy for putting on a great event, and bringing back this amazing gem of a resort!