MANITOUWADGE — The Kiwissa Ski Hill has officially closed its 2023 skiing season, one of the most successful seasons the hill has seen to date, according to municipal staff.
Trish Boileau, the township's director of community programming, said that the hill saw a steep increase in usage, particularly by skiers coming from out of town.
“I would attribute that to an advertisement that was done on our behalf by Superior Country, they did a web advertising for us, and their ad campaign reached like 70,000-72,000 people and had a lot of interaction as well,” she said.
“So, for us to have about 112 people come from out of town to use the ski facilities from 29 last year, so a significant difference for sure, a really successful season as far as we're concerned.”
With such a significant increase in out-of-town traffic, many businesses in Manitouwadge benefitted greatly, according to Boileau, especially businesses that provide accommodation which don’t typically see a lot of use in the winter months.
“It's generally fairly slow here in the winter for accommodation, unless people are here for work,” said Boileau.
"It was nice to see how much of these extra accommodations were utilized over the season, it was pretty busy overall, with people coming into town and shopping and eating and staying and playing.”
Not only did the hill see an increase in out-of-town skiers, Boileau said that local skiers also hit the slopes in much greater numbers than years prior.
“The total amount of local users that we had was over 980 and that is up from the 2020 or 21-22 season [where] we had about 486 local users,” she said.
“So, it's nearly doubled. Essentially for local use of the ski facilities and then with the out of town, you know, that's more than triple, so fantastic numbers all around sold 1,150 tickets during this season, which is huge, and our rentals did really well also.”
Boileau says that with plans for future endeavours, she sees nothing but growth coming from the town’s ski hill.
“I think Manitouwadge itself is kind of getting on the map, so to speak, it's kind of one of these places that’s a hidden gem, if you're in the North Shore area, of course, you've heard of Manitouwadge,” she said.
“But with the advertising of the ski hill specifically last year and we're one of few ski hills on the North Shore as well, so, I can only see it increasing and continuing to increase as we get better facility wise as well.”
The town hopes to see even more people out for the 2024 ski season and has plans to create ski packages that may include accomodation or gift certificates to local businesses.