Optimist Hill opens in Saskatoon forward of schedule

Skiing, snowboarding and tubing are coming back to Saskatoon as Optimist Hill gets ready to open Friday afternoon.

Doors open at 4 pm at Diefenbaker Park and the first 250 people get free lift passes and hot chocolate.

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Optimist Hill opens terrain park and new lift

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  • Optimist Hill opens terrain park and new lift

The 70-foot hill has groomed lanes for snow-tubing, skiing and snowboarding, as well as a terrain park, free toboggan hill and a two-conveyor lift system.

Maxine Tebbe, the general manager for Optimist Hill, says they’ve been working to get things up and running.

“We’ve been working hard the last couple weeks, making snow for the first two weeks of the month when we had some cooler temperatures,” Tebbe said.

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She noted that this last week they’ve been forming the hill and getting things organized.

“We’re opening three weeks earlier than we did last year, and this is the earliest that we’ve actually opened.”

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This is the fourth season for the hill.

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Extreme cold in Saskatoon forces closure of Optimist Hill, Meewasin skating rink

“Mother Nature actually has provided a lot of snow for us — not what we need, of course, because we need quite a few feet of snow.”

She added that they’ve been able to make snow in warmer temperatures due to a product called Snomax, which Tebbe said is used at many other ski hills.

Tebbe says they are also getting ready for the Burton Mystery Series that’s coming to the hill on Dec. 17

The event will have big-name riders like Mikey Ciccarelli, Maria Thomsen, Mirae Campbell and three-time Olympic medalist and Regina native Mark McMorris.

Other hills in the province are looking at early December startups.

Table Mountain, west of North Battleford, says on its website that it is tentatively aiming for early December.

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Mission Ridge Winter Park, at Fort Qu’Appelle, is aiming for a Dec. 9 opening day.

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