The Association of Quebec Ski Resorts (ASSQ) has urged the Quebec government and the state-owned Hydro-Quebec to lighten the burden on its members in the context where the the rainfall that hit Quebec at Christmas struck them hard. The owners, who invested also heavily in health measures this year, have seen all their efforts since last October to put the season on track practically wiped out.
Some regions have smashed precipitation records with more than 150 millimeters of water received forcing the temporary closure of ski resorts and for others, an extended, and indefinite closure.
“The joy of being able to welcome skiers and snowboarders this winter in their resort despite the context of pandemic has given way to desolation among ski resort owners who have never suffered adeluge of water as major as that of December 24 and 25, "said Yves Juneau, President and CEO General of the Association of Quebec Ski Resorts (ASSQ). “The ski resorts are equipped with several, powerful snowmaking systems which, however, require negative temperatures to be able to properly operate snow cannons. Now we have to go these cannons in order to offer snow-covered playgrounds to Quebecers who thirst more than ever for winter sports, "continued Mr. Juneau.
In this exceptional context, the ski resorts therefore have to put the snow cannons back into operation in order to relaunch the ski season and make up for lost ground.
"For Mont Sutton, the situation we come from at Christmas is the equivalent of losing a farmer's entire harvest”, explained Jean-Michel Ryan, owner of Mont-Sutton and Chairman of the Board of the ASSQ. “We are going having to resume mechanical snowmaking with substantial increases in electricity prices during the next few days due to the conditions imposed by Hydro Quebec and it is completely unacceptable and impossible for us to envisage these additional costs in the current context "
"The Quebec electricity pricing system has grown heavier and has moved away from the reality of some industries”, continued Yves Juneau. “Ski resorts, for example, are heavily penalized simply because they use electricity on a seasonal rather than regular basis, to the point of having to pay up to double the average price".
"The revival of snowmaking, which is set to continue in January and even until February next, will trigger the winter penalty billed by Hydro Quebec to the ski areas, representing 75% of the maximum power demand in full during the winter period for rate G-9, an additional amount of $ 150,000 to $ 300,000 for a major ski resort, an amount impossible to add to the current costs in a context of crisis, ”he underlined.
"It is absolutely essential that Hydro-Québec and the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Jonathan Julien understand once and for all the precariousness of our industry and the inequities of the electric pricing for ski resorts. Our request is simple and repeated: the stations of ski ask to suspend the imposition of the winter penalty associated with minimum billed power HQ's pricing plan for this season” concluded Mr. Juneau.