Costumed skiers and snowboarders marked the end of Phoenix Mountain’s 2021 ski and snowboard season on Sunday, March 28.
From its late start on Jan. 8, through the sudden departure of the hill’s general manager (GM) and a temporary shutdown in mid-season, the mountain has made it through some rough patches this year — all of them against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a rough start for Phoenix … but we’ve turned a corner,” new GM James Hall said Sunday afternoon.
Hall replaced outgoing GM, Kevin Rand, who stepped down in late January. Phoenix then hired a new kitchen manager and a new head of ski patrol, Sebastian “Sea bass” Sullivan.
Phoenix meanwhile hopes to raise $125,000 for a used snow caterpillar that would relieve the hill’s lone snow groomer, “Snowman,” whose engine failure closed the mountain for 10 days in mid-February. Phoenix spent around $25,000 to repair Snowman, which Phoenix will keep as back-up machine, Hall explained.
Hall added that he would like to see Phoenix add 14 T-bar “carrier units” to the hill’s ski-lift, which can currently pull 22 patrons at a time. Each T-bar unit costs around $2,600, but Hall said the project could be realized over the long-term.
Hall thanked Phoenix’s new board, holding up the mountain’s “punctual, hardworking and reliable staff” as “second-to-none.”
Anyone who would like to contribute to Phoenix’s on-going fundraiser is asked to contact the Grand Forks Credit Union or visit the “Help Phoenix Ski Hill” page on the crowd-source fundraiser, GoFundMe.com.