Shames Mountain is offering free day tickets to other mountains' season pass holders who have been impacted by this year's warm, mild weather.


Shames Mountain, in Terrace, announced earlier this month it would increase the value of its standing reciprocal discount to a free lift ticket, if the season pass holder's resort shut down or paused operations. Normally, the resort offers a 50-per-cent discount to season pass holders from other alpine ski areas.


"It is no secret this ski season has been a difficult one across the country. Things here in Terrace have also been challenging. However, we are far better off than many other ski areas in our province," a notice posted on Shames Mountain's website says.


"Skiing conditions at Shames recently have been great. It’s not the metre-per-week snowfall we are used to, but it is allowing for wall-to-wall perfect grooming in the sun."


Several ski resorts in the province have been impacted by the season's mild weather, forcing them to limit which runs are open, pause operations for several days, or decide not to open entirely. For example, Mount Timothy, a ski resort in the province's South Cariboo region(opens in a new tab), announced in January it wouldn't open for the season due to a lack of snow. 


In the Lower Mainland(opens in a new tab), Grouse, Cypress and Seymour have all paused operations on numerous occasions, pushing locals to travel to the Interior to ski and board before the end of the season. 


"These ski hills are community beacons, they offer the same wholesome inclusive heathy outdoor activity we do," Shames Mountain's statement said. "Unfortunately, their guests are left waiting for their ski areas to potentially reopen."


'Bad fiscal planning?'

Shames Mountain runs as a non-profit, operated by My Mountain Co-Op. Nearly 2,000 people own a membership, which ranges in cost from $300 to $600. Discounted memberships are available for youth and members participate in electing a board and volunteering where possible.


After announcing the free lift tickets, some members expressed concern over the possible financial impacts the offer would have.


"To some of you, the idea us helping others at a time when we ourselves need financial support is bad fiscal planning," Christian Theberge, the resort's general manager, said in a statement. "Because of the distances between us and closed ski areas, we do not expect very many people take us up on the offer."


Theberge explained the resort already offers 12 free tickets per day through local libraries, which sometimes don't get used. But for out-of-towners, those tickets are harder to access.


In a follow-up, Theberge said the resort usually sold seven reciprocal tickets at the 50 per cent discounted rate per week in previous seasons. That reciprocal rate has been in place over the last 13 seasons.


Theberge also argued a visit to the mountain is "much more than the value of a lift ticket," adding out-of-town guests tend to spend more than local visitors.


"They are here to experience the place. They try our different food and drinks, buy souvenirs, and during regular winter, they often rent powder skis or boards after realizing they need more floatation," Theberge said.


"We have heard and listened to people’s concerns and objections. It is now time for everyone to get behind this initiative together. Let’s welcome our struggling neighbors with open arms and share the happiness that comes from sliding on snow."