Hoodoo Hoppers try to salvage season | DrumhellerMail
Last updateFri, 24 May 2024 12pm

Hoodoo Hoppers try to salvage season


    While there are not too many encouraging signs the ski hill will open this season, one group who has been left in the lurch is the Hoodoo Hoppers ski team.

    This year the ski team was rejuvenated with hopes of a winter of skiing and learning, however without the ski hill opening, they have seen a lot of time on the highway.
    “We are going out of town,” said Heather Zucatto, treasurer of the Hoodoo Hoppers. “We’ve been going to Nakiska, trying to go every second weekend.”
    The team started the season with high expectations, and even purchased new equipment. They also purchased $2,400 worth of ski passes for the Drumheller Ski Hill. The team has been fundraising through casinos, and were able to get permission from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission to use some of the funds for logistics. 
    “It is using up the funds very quickly. The club doesn’t pay for everything, and when you have a family of five it adds up,” said Zucatto. “It is very disappointing because through all of this we had no idea the hill was not going to open.”
    By this time, the team was hoping to be racing every second weekend, but with the limited training, the skiers are not ready to compete.
    This leaves the team in limbo. It could use the funds they paid for the ski passes to continue to train at other facilities. Even if the hill opens, the season could cut down to just weeks, especially if a chinook blows in.
    She said she received a personal guarantee from Zrinko Amerl of the ski hill they would get their money back if the hill did not open. But lately, the team has tried to communicate with the manager of the ski hill as well as board members, but have not heard back. She would just like to know what is going to happen.
    “I think that it is sad at this point there is no communication,” she said. “I know there are a lot of people out there who want their money back…what is a person supposed to do about a pass? I would like his direction because I am just about at wit’s end.”   
    Amerl said they are still looking at the legal aspects of the contract and hoping to open soon.  The funds from the ski passes he said go into preparation for the ski hill for the season, and were paid to Drumheller Valley Ski Hill, Amerl’s company.
    “I have too much invested in the ski hill to go anywhere. Normally what is done in the ski industry, and Drumheller Valley Ski Hill has done this in the past, is they carry passes into the next year,” he said.
    When asked if people will get a refund, he said, “If we are shut down, absolutely.”
    “For the people asking for refunds, we have the same number of people saying, ‘just get us the hill going,’ that is priority number one. My family made their home here, members of the club are long term members of the community, and we will make it good for everybody.
    “Nobody is going to be out money for supporting the ski hill.”
    He also says that if the ski hill does open those who purchased passes will be able to use them for the entire calendar year.
    “They bought them for the Christmas season, and they haven’t received the Christmas season. We will at least do that for people. If we don’t open, they will at least carry into the next year and hopefully we’ll negotiate something. I really don’t believe we’ll get to that point, I believe we will see the ski hill open this year,” he said.

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