Mount Maichen Ski Hill: A Tradition of Kindness

I was disturbed to see a local writer publicly disapproving of how the Mount Maichen Ski Hill is operated.

Her article depicts this hill as a poorly run, poor excuse for a ski hill. Strangely, this author is from the very community she defiles.

It’s obvious you’re just trying to rattle the Chatty-Kathys, and I can see the fun in that, but I do need to set one thing straight: Mount Maichen is an absolute gem for the Town of Watson Lake and the Yukon.

To think, a town of this size, having a fully functional ski hill – spectacular.

Is it Whistler? No. But it is a well-run facility exuding community spirit, full of friendly people, and fun terrain for all.

Small, yes; but given the number of people per terrain, you’ll have the ample space.

Tons of dry powder (which usually remains dry all year long) piles up in this area, more so than anywhere else in the Yukon. The layout is well thought out, with a variety of runs for all. From steep to gradual, groomed to powder, it has enough to keep a skier/boarder whooping all day.

The view from the top is picturesque, with the big lake immediately below, backed by the vast Liard Plateau, which is then bordered by mountains in the not-too-far distance. Some of the biggest trees in the Yukon swathe the hill, peppered with pine, spruce and lots of birch.

And by far the most profound attribute of this hill is who operates it: volunteers. This is not a money-making endeavour, but a community-building opportunity that locals refuse to let go.

The amount of hours spent by the volunteers who keep this thing afloat, for the benefit of Watson Lake, is amazing. There are too many people to list of those who chip in time and ideas to pull off another ski season.

Some spend more time organizing, fundraising, cooking, proposal writing, grooming, fixing, supervising and ski patrolling than they spend working at paid jobs.

The benefits their efforts have in the community are immeasurable. Benefits for the youth is the most obvious, with night skiing being quite popular with the younger crowd, who may have nothing else do other than getting wrecked on a Wednesday or Friday night.

This effort is truly a marvel, and to shed any negative light on such a positive place is just not right.

If you get a chance, visit Mount Maichen and enjoy a great day of sliding. And remember the selfless volunteers who keep this kind tradition alive.

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