After an arsonist destroyed Kimberley Alpine Resort’s chairlift on the night after opening day of the 2021/22 season, the community and its many winter visitors have been anxiously awaiting the reopening of the Northstar Chairlift, and that day finally came on Sunday, Dec. 18, exactly one year since the fire.
“We’re so excited to have the lifts turning and to be open for the 2022/23 ski season,” said KAR’s area manager Ted Funston. “There was a big crowd for opening day, and we were stoked to see everyone enjoying the great powder conditions.”
Conditions certainly have been optimal, with a good base already forming and a lot more snow falling over the course of opening day.
With the 2020/21 season being affected by the pandemic and the following season heavily impacted by the fire, there was a palpable excitement and a lot of emotions at seeing the Northstar Chairlift, the main artery to the mountain, turning once more.
Local musician Heather Gemmell, who last year penned a song expressing her reaction to the arson called “Northstar Burning,” performed in the Stemwinder on opening day and debuted her latest tune, aptly titled “Northstar Turning: Bluebird Day.”
The Northstar Quad lift did experience some delays on opening days, due to a sensor fault on one of the lift towers, which Funston said they chose to swap out before they loaded people on to be as safe as possible.
“We will always choose public and staff safety first in our lift and all other resort operations without exception,” Funston said. “We’d like to thank everyone for their patience while we got that figured out.
“The lift ran well the rest of the day, with a few stops and starts, as we continued to dial in the new system on the chair. Our crews made a few more adjustments last night, and the lift has been running even better today.”
Funston added that the whole team at the resort is stoked to be back to full operation on all chairlifts and encouraged the community to come up and check out the excellent conditions on the mountain.
For those continuing to up-track up the mountain, Funston added a reminder that the activity is only permitted on the Boundary run, between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.
“Our many on-mountain cameras and security personnel continue to catch the odd person in prohibited areas, and we have been asking them to leave,” he said.
There is still a $100,000 reward offered for anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for last year’s arson and information about that can be found here https://skikimberley.com/blog/100000-reward-announced/
All calls with information should go to the Kimberley RCMP detachment at 250-427-481. Calls can be made anonymously to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or at www.solvecrime.ca