Sled-up and ski-down in Valemount this winter

November 24, 2014

The Crystal Ridge Sled Ski Facility, operated by Valemount and Area Recreation Development Associated (VARDA), is going to be better then ever this winter season with a new sled-up ski-down option.

Northern Development recently approved $17,360 in funding to help align the Village of Valemount’s Crystal Ridge sled ski facility as a market-ready tourist attraction.

The world-class recreational facility offers a unique experience for riders to shuttle themselves up the mountain on sleds and take turns skiing or boarding all the way down. The facility is open to the public, supporting six semi-cleared runs, each run offering more than 2,200 vertical feet of powder, as well as a designated up-track for snowmobile travel.

In an effort to attract outdoor enthusiasts to the Village of Valemount, the Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA) proposed to begin upgrades and expansions to the Crystal Ridge Sled Ski Facility. Upgrades began in September 2014, and are expected to be completed by December. Through the funding received from the Trust, the facility will be able to complete several upgrades, including signage, installed culverts, install washroom facilities and acquire grooming equipment.

With the completion of the upgrades, the day-pass system will provide a steady revenue stream for further maintenance and operations.

The Crystal Ridge Sled Ski Facility grant was provided through Northern Development’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program. The Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program provides municipalities, regional districts, First Nations bands and registered non-profit organizations with up to 50% of a project’s budget to a maximum of $30,000 in funding to improve or expand existing facilities in order to increase the number of events held annually in the community, contributing to service sector revenues in the local economy.

“Once you try the continent’s deepest powder skiing, you can’t go back to groomers,” said Village of Valemount Mayor Andru McCracken. Mayor McCracken, a long time backcountry skier, bought a snowmobile the day after his opening run on Crystal Ridge. “We’re talking about a life changing experience in the capital city of heli-skiing.” He said it is the essence of their plan to rebuild the community’s economy. “It’s a three step program to revitalization. People will ski one run to the base. Second, they will snowmobile to the top of the run, where there is cell reception, 
and call a realtor, buy a house and move here. I am so proud of the community’s forethought, the Valemount and Area Recreation Development Associations’s hard work, and Northern Development’s belief in our vision.”

“The Crystal Ridge Sled Ski Area is one of a kind. Sledskiing or boarding is an activity that is booming all over the mountains of B.C. It blends both the love of skiing/snowboarding with the ease and freedom of motorized assistance for access. Crystal Ridge is open to the public and offers six semi-cleared runs, boasting 2,200 vertical feet each with a designated up-track for snowmobile travel.

The closest relative would be similar to downhill mountain biking, where riders shuttle themselves up and take turns ripping the runs down throughout the day” said Curtis Pawliuk, General Manager, VARDA. “Northern Development will be playing a crucial role in the future enjoyment of this facility. With the Trust’s recent contribution to our project we have been able to purchase the needed grooming equipment to maintain quality access to this facility.Without this assistance, we would have been left using inadequate equipment and the recreational users would have to pay the price with a less than stellar experience. Now users of the area will have quality and smooth access trails into this one of a kind facility and this is largely in part to the assistance from Northern Development.”

Quick Facts
• Northern Development has already approved 42 projects through the Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program in 2014, with a combined total funding commitment of $930,461.
• The proposed upgrades to the Crystal Ridge Sled Ski Facility began September 2014, and are projected to be completed December 2014.
• The Columbia Basin Trust has contributed $16,000 toward the completion of this project.
• Crystal Ridge has been recognized as a world-class recreational facility, highlighted by CBC radio and numerous magazines throughout North America.

Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust