Hidden Valley Ski Area

Finally, there was natural snow. The weather conditions were ideal. And skiers were happy at Hidden Valley.

This was last weekend at the Cypress Hills Provincial Park, Elkwater, Alberta.

So far Hidden Valley has done an excellent job of making snow to keep the place running. Now we are being rewarded with natural snow – that soft powder every skier loves so much.

Hidden Valley is our jewel – right in the middle of the Prairies. It has family oriented ski hills which have done a lot for me and my family and for hundreds of other families who use it. I have met people from Medicine Hat, Brooks, Taber, Oyen, several places in Saskatchewan and sometimes Montana.

Hidden Valley has taught and continues to teach thousands of children and adults how to ski and snowboard – including an aging late bloomer like me!

During week days, it is busy with school trips coming from different places. It saves these children the expense of traveling to the mountains.

Winter can be very depressing because most activities are indoors. Hidden Valley is God’s gift to the people of this area –for fresh air and sunshine

Our population is increasing and it is time we see some more development at Hidden Valley. I think it needs another chair lift to service the Hidden Valley run where the t-bar is. Right now this run is underutilized as many skiers are reluctant to use the t-bar.

Adults don’t go there unless they have to accompany their children. This puts pressure on the main chair lift. On a busy day, there are long line ups and significant crowding on the Main and other runs.

Come to think of it, thirty years ago, there was only a toboggani hill about half-a-mile south of Hidden Valley used by local residents. Then there was a rope tow at the same site and beginning of skiing in this area. In 1967, a t-bar was installed with several runs.

In 1981, Dave Fischer, father of the current owner, Kevin Fischer, took over the operation and planning for the area. In 1987, at the beginning of the re-development, the area was renamed Hidden Valley.

The re-development was undertaken by the Government of Alberta. It included a Quad Chair, two Handle Tows, a full service daylodge, snowmaking system, run development and re-contouring of the entire base area. The combined lift capacity is 2400 skiers per hour.

Kevin Fischer indicates to me that Alberta Government had ambitious plans to enhance the Cypress Hills Ski facility by increasing snowmaking capability, install second chair lift to service the Hidden Valley run where the current t-bar is, and make additions to the existing daylodge facility.

Fischer says, “We hit 800 skiers and we are overloaded. Ultimate stage of development would get us to 1400 persons per day capability.”

So what happened to this ambitious plan? It became a victim of budget cuts when the government was trying to balance its books.

Now that the budget is balanced and we are in surplus – isn’t it time for the government re-invest in this project which promotes healthy life-style? It will fit quite well with government’s new campaign to promote Healthy U.

The investment will bring in more tourists and business for the local communities.

And we will be instilling life long healthy skills in our children, who will pass it on to their children and grandchildren. It is an investment of immense long term healthy benefits for generations to come.

Do you agree? If yes, then cut this article and send it to Premier Ralph Klein (Fax 780-427-1349), with copies to our local MLAs Mr. Lorne Taylor (Fax 403-528-2278), and Mr. Rob Renner (Fax 403-527-5112) or by mail at the Legislature Building, 10800-97 Avenue, Edmonton, T5K 2B7 or drop it off at their local offices.

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