While temperatures soared to unseasonably warm highs last Sunday, many families took to the slopes, enjoying the chance to do some skiing or snowboarding in the sunny shirtsleeve weather.
Cam and Jill Turnbull and their three boys, Ben, Dylan and Jacob, were among the families who traveled to Medicine Lodge Ski Area for the afternoon.
The family, who live in Rocky Mountain House, are in fairly close proximity to Medicine Lodge, which is located just 11 kilometres west of Bentley on Hwy 12.
‘It is great for the boys,’ said Jill Turnbull. ‘They just love it.’
Her oldest son, Ben, has taken a couple of lessons from ski instructor Colleen Overs who comes out to Medicine Lodge on Sundays.
Turnbull said she is amazed at how quickly the six-year-old caught on to skiing after he had taken the lessons.
‘He’s already skiing on his own,’ she said proudly, as she watched her son — who wasn’t exactly flying down the hill, but who was definitely coming down on his own — make a safe landing at the bottom.
Ben’s younger brother, three-year-old Dylan, seemed quite content to go down the hill several times securely attached to his dad with a harness.
It will be a few years, no doubt, until the baby, who is nine-months-old, will venture onto the ski hill, but for now he is quite happy to sit in the sunshine with his mom watching his dad and his brothers.
The ski hill, run by volunteers, has 13 runs, a main T-bar and two handle tows.
At Medicine Lodge, there is a chance for everyone to enjoy skiing; the beginning skier who is content to glide down the bunny hills or the more advanced skier who is ready to take on a black diamond run.
In an earlier interview, Gina Williams, secretary of the Medicine Lodge Ski Club, said the hill is frequented by families from the area as well as larger centres such as Edmonton and Calgary.
‘So many families come back every year,’ she said. ‘It’s just a wonderful place for everyone to enjoy.’
The little ski hill nestled in the rolling hills between Bentley and Rocky Mountain House has served the area well over the years, she noted.
About 20 volunteers work at the hill. Only lift attendants are paid.
The hill is open on weekends and throughout some Wolf Creek School holidays.
A snowboard instructor, Brandon Lansall, is also on staff.
Rentals and a concession are available. The hill may stay open until the end of March, depending on the weather.
‘You never know, relying on Mother Nature the way we do,’ said volunteer manager Bob Offet.
Day and seasonal passes and rentals are available through cash or cheque.
The ski lodge is also on Facebook.
Medicine Lodge is presently looking for patrollers who have first aid. For more information, contact the lodge at 1-403-748-2025.