Local couple purchase Holiday Mountain Ski Resort
For the first time in over a year, the crunch of skis and snowboards sliding down a hill will echo around the Holiday Mountain Ski Resort.
Paul and Renée Warkentin are the new owners of the resort, which is roughly one and a half hours southwest of Winnipeg in La Rivière. The resort, which first opened in 1959, was closed last season due to COVID-19 concerns, and had announced earlier this year they didn’t anticipate being able to open this year due to drought conditions.
Buying a ski hill wasn’t in the plans for Paul and Renée, who also own Cobblestone Homes in Grande Pointe, but with the resort staring down a potential closure, Renée said she knew they had to do something.
“We did not want to buy a ski hill, we just did not want it to close down,” she said.
“This is my hometown area, and my husband skied here when he was young… Honestly, it just fell in our lap and happened.”
Despite only taking possession of the property Dec. 1, the couple has been hard at work at Holiday Mountain to get it ready for the season
“If you would have told me that we were going to do this, I would have told you, ‘you’re crazy,’” Renée said, laughing.
“We would have loved to have renovated because the place was fairly rundown, then we would have renovated and opened up next year with a big grand re-opening, but we just felt families needed this.”
Now under new ownership, Renée predicts the resort will be open just after Christmas. The new owners live between Ile des Chenes and Landmark, with new general manager Abe Sawatzky also from the region, as he is from New Bothwell.
“There’s been a lot of closures, and it’s a sport families can do together,” Renée said.
“We put our nose to the grind to open it up this year.”
The work to open the resort has gone into painting, cleaning, plumbing and re-wiring the electrical systems among other things. The to-do list to re-open a ski resort is a long one, but Renée anticipates opening ahead of their Jan. 1 target.
“There’s so many moving parts, and when it’s all new, it’s quite the undertaking,” she said.
“My husband has been a rock star, and we’re just getting it done.”
The resort features two chair lifts with a t-bar lift carrying riders up to 11 different runs, although the t-bar lift will not be operational when the resort welcomes patrons back to the hills.