Mt. Timothy Recreation Resort’s new ownership group is injecting a breath of fresh air, and a new lease on life, into the beloved, local ski area.
Local dignitaries and Black Press Media were invited to the ski hill Wednesday for a tour of what’s new and a preview of what’s to come for the upcoming ski season, and beyond, by owners KevLar Development Group, and general manager Walter Bramsleven.
Beginning today, Friday, Nov. 15, the public is invited to come up to the hill, pickup their seasons passes, have lunch and check out the facility for what Bramsleven is calling a soft opening.
Heading up to the ski hill, patrons will immediately notice the road heading in has been significantly improved and widened after maintenance was taken over by the Ministry of Forests, as well as the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. The narrow, degraded state of the road was a major point of contention among patrons prior to the ski hill’s closure for the 2018/19 season.
Once inside the lodge at Mt. Timothy, guests will notice many upgrades and improvements to the interior including big screen TVs, WiFi Internet service and satellite TV. A glance inside the kitchen will reveal sparkling, mostly new stainless steel appliances and counter tops.
Downstairs, the men’s washroom has been completely stripped down and rebuilt, and plans are in place to renovate the women’s washroom, as well.
Outside, new fascia has been installed on the lodge’s exterior, along with major infrastructure upgrades and improvements to septic, water and electrical.
For the 2019/20 season, the pro shop will remain in the basement of the lodge, however, Bramsleven said the plan is to move it to the large, unused building at the base of the hill by next season.
“Work got away from us and we just didn’t have time to get that set up,” he said. “One thing led to another, and we had so much more in terms of priority to get done before opening this season so we will have that ready to go next year.”
Bramsleven said the ownership group is sticking to the 2009 master development plan in order to expedite construction, with plans for the completion of a campground, along with two cabins by next season, and a total of 10 cabins in its long-term, five-year plan.
With Mt. Timothy Recreation Resort now officially a part of the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail, Bramslevene said snowmobilers are welcome to come to the hill, park their sleds, have lunch or dinner and relax inside the lodge before heading into the mountains, or back home.
“We’ve seen tremendous response from both communities in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House,” Bramsleven said. “We’re hoping everyone is as excited as we are about getting our ski hill open and running, and with our restaurant and renovations I hope people will be pleased with what they see if they come up to visit us.”
Larry Henderson of Lac La Hache, one half of KevLar Development Group alongside Prince George’s Kevin McCray, said on the ski hill itself, 75 per cent of the runs have been brushed, which was also a massive, and much-needed undertaking.
All of the hill’s lifts have been certified and approved and are ready to go for the season, he added.
New this year will be a tubing area along the upper magic carpet lift, as well as two new snowshoe trails.
Plans are also in place to operate the recreation resort year round, opening the hill to ATVers and mountain bikers in the spring and summer months.
“This place has massive potential,” Henderson told the Tribune.
“We’ve got a bunch of bookings already for school groups looking forward to coming up again, so we’ll open the hill to the public Thursday through Sunday and have school groups up Monday to Wednesday.
“We’ll keep the lodge going seven days a week, though.”
Henderson estimates, including costs and hours of labour invested, the ownership group has invested over $800,000 into upgrades, renovations and improvements.
Inside the pro shop in the lodge’s basement, patrons will now be able to rent snow shoes, along with a full lineup of skis and snowboards and other equipment.
Glen Tanner, who has worked at Mt. Timothy in the past and is managing the pro shop, said he couldn’t be more pleased with what the new owners have done to the place.
“I’m so happy these guys came in,” Tanner said. “They’ve made this place as great as it was day one, 30 years ago. We’ve got guys on call who are just waiting for snow to come to work. Before, Timothy wouldn’t open regardless of how much snow we had until a couple days before Christmas. Now, once we have enough snow, we’re open. Our season’s going to be longer. Just snowshoeing, welcoming snowshoers to come up then ride across the valley, tubing, the place is turning into a resort. And with all the plans for the spring and summer months, I’m excited.”
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett, who attended the tour on Wednesday and has been a longtime advocate for Mt. Timothy who was instrumental in getting the ministry to take over the road maintenance, said she couldn’t be more thrilled with what she saw.
“It’s amazing what has happened here in the last six months,” Barnett said. “I’m so happy we now have a ski hill that’s going to be viable. It always was before but now, under new ownership, private sector, with the work theye’ve done, will just improve everything up here. I hope everybody comes up. Skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, for lunch, for dinner. It’s another addition we have in the Cariboo, and a reason for tourists to come here, and for local people to have a good quality of life. Many people would certainly have missed their skiing last year and now lots of snow we pray and this will be a fantastic facility.”
Williams Lake City Coun. Jason Ryll, who also attended the tour, added he’s excited about Mt. Timothy’s reopening.
“The kitchen improvements alone are going to make a huge impact,” he said. “And that they’re going to be open seven days a week, and for dinner, plus the improvements to the road access are critical.”
He said it’s encouraging to see KevLar Development Group has intentions of being opened year round, and are taking the right steps to be successful.
“It’s a great, family facility,” Ryll said. “I know I learned to ski here many years ago, and taught both my sons to ski here, and I hope one day they can teach their kids to ski here, as well.”