Canada Scores Biggest Season Ever

Aspen Highlands Opening Day Powder

Ontario, Canada August 10--Canadian skiing is back. A recent study by the Canadian Ski Council indicates that visits to Canadian ski areas were up more than 10 percent in 1998-1999 ski season than the previous year.

The study showed that Canada's 280 ski areas were visited by a total of 17,130,000 people, recording the highest total ever.

"We're back on track," explained Colin Chedore, President of the Canadian Ski Council. "Canadians are re-discovering winter as a time for outdoor sport and family fun."

British Columbia and Yukon resorts were the big winners, recording 5.5 million skier visits--an 18.5 percent increase from the 1997-1998 season. Skier visits in Alberta were up a whopping 26 percent from 1.8 million in 1997-1998 to 2.5 million in 1998-1999.

Provinces such as Manitoba (up 21 percent), Saskatchewan (up more than 5 percent), Ontario (up five percent), and Quebec (up 1.7 percent) all experienced an increase in skier visits.

The only region that didn't prosper last winter was Canada's Atlantic coast. Ski areas in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island all experienced a loss of nearly 22 percent in skier visits. Much of this was due to poor weather conditions and a lack of snow.

While La Nina cursed the Atlantic side of Canada, it blessed its western counterpart by dropping record amounts of snow.

"There were ideal conditions for skiing in B.C. and Alberta," Chedore continued. "Although we did not have record snowfall in Ontario and Quebec, the driving conditions were good. The roads stayed fairly dry, so it was easier for skiers to get to the hills."

With the prediction of a return of La Nina, Canada might be in position for another big winter. But for now, they will just have live with the memories of last winter's record-breaking season.