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Norquay plans for the future
Published Monday, December 17, 2012 5:19PM MST
Last Updated Monday, December 17, 2012 6:26PM MST
The oldest ski resort in the Rockies is looking at ways to drum up business in the summer and increase revenue in the off season.
Mount Norquay is the only ski hill in the national park that isn't open in the summer so the owners are now working with Parks Canada on a new plan that would see the resort open year round.
Skiers first hit the slopes at the resort, named after Manitoba premier John Norquay, in 1926.
The resort is the closest ski hill to the Banff townsite but for decades it has only been utilized in the winter months.
The ownership group has been working for the last 14 years with Parks Canada to come up with a long-term plan for the hill.
The resort could be open as early as July for summer use and will offer visitors the chance to hike or take a chair lift up to the historic Cliff House.
Cliff House was built in 1952 and offers spectacular views of Banff.
In the long-range proposal a route would be built with cables and ladders to the top of the mountain to allow hikers of all abilities to summit the mountain.
“Via ferrata is Italian for iron roads, and they're all over the place in Europe, and ther’s some in North America as well. It's a great opportunity for people to be a mountaineer for the day,” said Andre Quenneville, GM of Mount Norquay.
Not everyone is onboard with the summer plans.
“Right now there's a few hundred people that go there for the summer to Mount Norquay, for whatever reason, that's going to go up to 10,000 or more, and it's that increase in people that will decrease the habitat quality and actually put grizzly bears at risk and that's what we're concerned about,” said Sarah Elmeligi from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.
Visitors to the park have until January 4, 2012 to provide feedback on Norquay's long-range plan.
Visit the Norquay website for more information and to fill out the comment form.