Situated on the west edge of the District of Mackenzie between the community and Morfee Lakes is Little Mac Ski Hill, a community-operated ski hill that has provided residents and visitors with affordable and easily accessible skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing opportunities for many years. The family-friendly hill adds to the community’s attractiveness and retention of long-term residents. The facility has a 90 metre vertical that is accessed by a tow lift with the longest run stretching more than 200 metres.
Over the years, Northern Development has approved more than $90,000 for upgrades and improvements at the facility. The first investment was approved by Northern Development in June 2014 with a $27,455 grant to assist on a $70,517 project that included the installation of lights for night skiing and equipment for freestyle training. Subsequent projects included the development of mountain biking trails, acquisition of a snow groomer in 2019, chalet upgrades and installation of terrain park features and fencing.
“Little Mac Ski Hill is a cornerstone of Mackenzie’s winter recreation scene,” said Mackenzie Mayor Joan Atkinson. “Having a safe, easily-accessible place for people of all ages to gather during the dark winter months for physical activity and fresh air contributes greatly to our quality of life. Multiple investments from Northern Development over the years has supported the District of Mackenzie as they seek to improve the facility and offer opportunities to residents.”
In 2019, Northern Development approved a $15,000 grant through the former Community Halls and Recreation Facilities grant program to assist with the costs of the District of Mackenzie acquiring a snow groomer for Little Mac Ski Hill and other community facilities. In 2018, the previous snow groomer was decommissioned and Little Mac Ski Hill was closed for the season. The purchase of a new snow groomer, along with comprehensive community feedback sessions and strategy development, allowed the ski hill to re-open last season and again in 2021, this year with an extra day of skiing each week.
“As we continue to weather economic disruptions and uncertainty, Little Mac Ski Hill is a beacon of hope,” continued Mayor Atkinson. “The District of Mackenzie is currently working on two projects that Northern Development has committed funding for. These projects are creating jobs and improved recreation opportunities for locals. In the future the upgrades will attract travelers to Mackenzie to enjoy the facility in all season and generate revenue for our local businesses.”
Funding for all the Little Mac Ski Hill projects came from Northern Development’s former Community Halls and Recreation Facilities funding program. Under the Trust’s new suite of programs, the projects would be eligible for funding through the new Recreation Infrastructure program.