Duck Mountain Ski Hill is looking forward to the 2020/21 ski season

Now in his seventh year as Duck Mountain Ski Hill general manager, Craig Brock, has high hopes for the upcoming ski season.

“We know that everyone is concerned about our status and how Covid-19 will affect us,” offered Brock. “We are working right now to make our facility Covid compliant and protect everyone's health. There are only a few inches of snow so far on the slopes but more arrives each day and grooming should start before long.”

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Brock is optimistic, despite the unprecedented set of pandemic related challenges he and his staff are facing. The ski hill has reported steady customer growth in the past couple of seasons, and he anticipates that trend will continue.

“We are preparing for even more people this year,” said Brock on a phone interview.

While many Saskatchewan residents are feeling the drain of staying home due to rising pandemic numbers, a boost may be found in the plethora of outdoor activities the province has to offer. Exercising in nature has been proven by numerous studies to enhance mood, boost immunity, and lift spirits.

Brock anticipates people will travel from all corners of Saskatchewan to take advantage of outdoor activities in the Duck Mountain region. Since the pandemic started, cross-country skiing, for example, has seen a noticeable jump, according to Brock.

“Outdoor activities are a great way to forget about quarantine [life] and provide some relief,” said Brock.

“It’s a strange thing to want to attract people to the hill, but at the same time, not attract too many people,” pondered Brock. “We look forward to providing fun, family-oriented play, but we are making alterations to keep everyone as safe as possible.”

Those planning a trip to the hill this year can expect a few simple rules to follow. For instance, families are required to travel throughout the ski hill in household groups and not mix socially with other groups or families. Masks will be mandatory and lift line-ups will require social distancing. All extra gear, bags, and boots must be left in visitors vehicles.

Brock also outlined the measures his team is taking to ensure safety in the lodge.

“We are hiring extra staff for cleaning and sanitizing, as well as taking extra steps in food service, reported Brock. “The kitchen has been renovated and seating in the day lodge has been spaced for social distancing.”

Brock attributes the latest renovations to the support of a sponsorship program fueled by local businesses.

“We had a very successful fundraiser in the spring. There are so many businesses that have supported us. A special thank you needs to go out to Ritchie Industries,” added Brock.

The Duck Mountain Ski Hill features 21 runs, a junior tube run, and a terrain park. Lifts include two t-bars and a magic carpet lift on the bunny hill. Ski, snowboard and helmet rentals and instruction are available for both adults and youth.

To find out the latest news and updates, people are invited to check out the website at skitheduck.com or @skitheduck Facebook page.