Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

De small ski centers in Bas-St-Laurent at the end of their tether

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The absence of snow also complicates the gives for small centers trying to ensure their profitability.

  • Mathieu Berger (View profile)Mathieu Berger

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Rising insurance premiums and the lack of snow are causing headaches for small ski centers in Bas-Saint-Laurent. Some even have to turn more towards the population and businesses to make ends meet.

Insurance premiums for the Mont Biencourt Ski Center have exploded since the start of the pandemic. From COVID to today, it's really increased by almost 50% and compared to last year, it's jumped 7%. It increased again. I don't think it will end up going down either, deplores the general director of the ski resort, Manon Roussel.

The Municipality of Biencourt manages the infrastructure of the Center. It is therefore she who pays the bill, but she now wishes to share it with the 18 other municipalities of the MRC of Témiscouata.

Biencourt asks them to pay $5,000 each from wind royalties. The ski center is in Biencourt, but you have to understand that it belongs to an entire population of the MRC. With wind royalties, we want to ask for them to help us keep our ski center, believes Biencourt municipal councilor Daniel Dumont.

It's going to make the difference between surviving and living.

A quote by Daniel Dumont, municipal councilor in Biencourt

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Mr. Dumont and Ms. Roussel add that businesses in the region will be asked more in the coming months to sponsor the station.

The Cabano Family Outdoor Center must seek help from the population and the City to make ends meet.

The situation is not It's not rosier for the Cabano Family Outdoor Center. Its insurance premiums increased from $300 to $17,000 in two years, according to the Center's manager, Dany Beaulieu. Labor costs also complicate the situation. The organization also launched a crowdfunding campaign among the population a few weeks ago.

The City is also helping by increasing its contribution by $5,000 this year for a total of $15,000.

And we gave ourselves a right of review for the end of the year to perhaps add a little bit in depending on the results of the traffic that there will be this winter, adds the mayor of Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac, Denis Blais.

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The mayor of Témiscouata -sur-le-Lac, Denis Blais

For the mayor, it is essential to support the organization. It's an institution. It’s been working for 55 years. There are more than 3,000 young people who have learned to ski on these small slopes, he illustrates.

Another downside for the ski resorts skiing: the heavy rains which fell at the start of the week also jeopardize the opening of the resorts during the holiday season.

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The general director of the Mont Biencourt Ski Center, Manon Roussel, hopes that snow will be there soon in order to save part of the holiday period.

We are a 100% natural ski center. When there is no snow, there is no skiing, recalls Ms. Roussel.

This period is nevertheless crucial to ensure the profitability of ski resorts. We lose 30 to 40% of revenue for the season. Fingers crossed that spring break will be extraordinary, she hopes.

  • Mathieu Berger (View profile)< source srcset="https://images.radio-canada.ca/q_auto,w_160/v1/personnalites-rc/1x1/mathieu-berger-journaliste.png" media="(min-width: 0px) and (max- width: 1023px)">Mathieu BergerFollow

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