Staff at Apex Mountain Resort are warning people not to use the mountain for skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling before the mountain is open.
The mountain received approximately 35 centimetres of fresh snow over the weekend, prompting some to head out for some early season turns.
Despite recent heavy snowfall, there are “serious” safety risks associated with using the mountain before it’s open, explained the resort’s general manager James Shalman.
“It definitely looks really enticing to get out and ski and snowboard but the truth of the matter is it’s still really dangerous,” said Shalman. “The likelihood of getting injured is quite high.”
Rocks and other obstacles are just barely covered by the snow at this point, posing a threat to skiers. Because the mountain is not yet open, obstacles remain unmarked.
The recent snowfall also came at very low temperatures, making the snow very light and easy to cut through which can easily expose dangerous obstacles. “You’re going to cut through it much deeper than you normally would,” said Shalman.
There are high voltage power lines and water lines underneath the snow for snow making purposes. Grooming machines and staff on snowmobiles are also currently present on the mountain as they get things ready for the upcoming season, adding to the list of safety threats. “You’re not going to win a battle when you hit a grooming machine over a knuckle,” Shalman said. “There’s just a lot of variables out there.”
Shalman noted that people using the mountain before opening day is a problem each year. In the past, it has had resulted in serious, sometimes fatal, incidents. “We’re not trying to take someone’s fun away, what we’re trying to do is make sure everyone has fun in a safe environment.
“We’re working hard to get the mountain ready to ride… please stay off the mountain until (then) and we’ll let you know when it is.”
The mountain’s proposed opening day is Dec. 5 but that is subject to change depending on conditions.