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Late dump of snow wraps 'wild ride' of a season for North Shore ski hills

This weekend is the last chance for spring skiing at Seymour and Cypress, while Grouse is expected to end their season later this month

There’s not much time left for diehard skiers and snowboarders to get in some spring skiing turns on the North Shore mountains.

Two of the three North Shore ski hills – Seymour and Cypress – will have their skiing last day of the season on Sunday, while Grouse Mountain has yet to announce the last day of its skiing season and has tickets available online up to April 23. 

“As long as we have enough snow, we’ll try and remain open,” said Grouse spokesperson Madelaine Twomey. 

Spring skiing conditions during the last week have been quite good, following a dump of snow on Monday, said Simon Whitehead, spokesman for Mt Seymour.

“We got a whole load of snow on Monday and Monday night,” said Whitehead – about 25 centimetres. “The sun is shining, and we’ve got enough snow. It’s definitely spring conditions.”

Local ski hills have been operating on reduced hours this month, which tends to happen at the end of the season as demand cools off and employees move on to other jobs, said Whitehead.

This weekend will cap a challenging year for local ski hills, when record high temperatures and atmospheric rivers delayed the opening of the ski season and caused resorts to shutter on a number of days.

“It has been a wild ride this year,” said Whitehead. “We had a very strong El Nino. And that definitely created a lot of the weather conditions we saw.... It’s not the worst year we’ve had but it’s definitely up there.”

Having to open then close repeatedly makes it hard to retain staff, he said. When Mt Seymour is running at full capacity, it employs between 550 and 600 people.

Prior to this ski season, however, the North Shore hills had a string of years where conditions were excellent, Whitehead added. A probable La Nina weather pattern forming for next year is also good news when it comes to snow, he said.

“It’s Mother Nature,” he said. “It’s like farming. You get what you get.”

In the case of Seymour that’s especially true – unlike Cypress and Grouse, the resort doesn’t have snow-making equipment.

Just how many days ski resorts were able to open this year is open to interpretation, he added.

Some resorts have declared themselves open when only the bunny hill was functional, while others, like Seymour, defined “open” as having the main chair lift running.

Ski hills rely on sales of season’s passes – usually bought six months in advance – to help buffer the drop in sales of daily lift tickets that happens when skiing conditions aren’t great.

This year’s season’s pass holders at Seymour are getting a 30 per cent discount on next year’s passes to make up for some of that, said Whitehead.

Here’s where you can catch the last bit of spring skiing on North Shore slopes:


Last day: Sunday, April 14. Open weekdays 1 p.m.-9 p.m., weekends 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Goldie Magic Carpet and Mystery Peak Express chairs open. (Brockton and Lodge chairs closed) Check website for conditions.


Last day: Sunday, April 14. Open weekdays 9 a.m.-4 pm, weekends 9 a.m.– 4 p.m. Check website for which chairs and runs are open.


Last day: not announced, although tickets are available for purchase online up to April 23. Open weekdays noon-8 p.m., weekends noon–8 p.m. Check website for which chairs and runs are open.