Valley Ski Hill nominated to Kraft Heinz Project Play

Valley Ski Hill near Alliance, Alta. was teeming with people eager to learn the sport of skiing early last season. The hill has been nominated to potentially win $250,000 for important modifications to the hillside for sustainability. Image courtesy of Valley Ski Hill

The Valley Ski Hill has been nominated to be a contender in the $250,000 Kraft Heinz Project Play.

This program goes towards recreational facility upgrades with three second-place winners each receiving $25,000 for their project.

For the ski hill located north of Alliance, the physical hillside is sliding.

Over the years the soil on the hill has become saturated by the runoff in the spring, causing the hill to slide.

Every fall, heavy equipment has to be brought in to push the soil back into place before snow making can begin.

Through countless volunteer hours and donated equipment, the hill gets up and running each season.

However, the club is dangerously close to losing one of the T-bar towers to this slide, and if that happens, the hill will most likely close.

An engineered plan has been drawn up to fix the hill and all that is needed is the funds to go ahead with it.

Many have already voiced their concerns and appreciation for the regional facility including Valley Ski Hill Board of directors member Carol MacRea who nominated the ski hill to the program.

She sees this program as a “community builder.”

“If we lose that tower we are hooped,” said MacRea.

The rules of the program are simple: for this round the public is asked to submit photos worth three points, sharing their post on twitter for five points and/or submitted stories worth 10 points with an external judging component as well.

The more points accumulated, the better the odds of placing in the top four entries.

The deadline is fast approaching with only three days left as of Thurs. Sept. 19 so submissions are more important than ever.

A number of people have already submitted their stories and images on to the site.

Valley Ski Hill has been an important asset to the community as there are no other ski hills within 150 kilometres of Alliance.

Schools come from six different counties in the eastern part of the province including Wainwright, Camrose, Flagstaff, Paintearth, Stettler, and Special Areas, giving every student the opportunity to learn how to ski, a chance they would probably not get if Valley Ski Hill didn’t exist.

“We really do have a lot of school kids come and learn how to ski. It’s a super family friendly sport and it’s so much fun for kids and it’s a winter outdoor sport.”

MacRea highlight the disabled ski program, something unique to the hill as there are scarcely little programs for disabled people to utilize in the area.

“Around here the only other option is hockey unless it’s a team sport in school,” said MacRea. “And two: we have the CAD program which is a disabled program. Like in the city there are opportunities, out here not so many.”

The hill also has a racing program and a freestyle program which gives children of any age or ability the opportunity to develop that passion for skiing that their parents and grandparents had, despite the flatter landscape.

The community’s ‘passion for play’ all started 72 years ago, when a group of volunteers with a passion for skiing got together and started a ski hill.

They relocated 15 years later to the present location.

In 1989, the lodge burnt down, and again the volunteers and the community rallied and rebuilt a beautiful new lodge.

This love for skiing has been passed down from generation to generation, as has the determination to run a quality ski hill out on the prairies.

Rally deadline is on Sun. Sept. 22.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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