Upon becoming Resort Manager of Kamiskotia Snow Resort three years ago, Lorne Haveruk noticed that certain changes could help Timmins’ beloved winter sport destination to reach new heights. “The fellow who ran things before had done it well for a very long time, but it needed new vision,” said Haveruk. “That’s what I brought here. The vision now is to continue to make Kamiskotia an affordable Northern Ontario mountain ski resort where people can come and play.” With Haveruk’s expertise and input from board members, the resort’s customer base has grown from 290 members to more than 1,100, thanks to several initiatives that have allowed the resort to play a stronger role in the region’s recreation sector. There are now more than 30,000 visits to Kamiskotia each winter, a number that continues to grow as word spreads that the hill is the place to ski in Ontario. Kamiskotia draws skiers and families from throughout northeastern Ontario, including Sudbury and North Bay, and from as far away as Toronto and Whitby. This has been partly due to a change in the resort’s service pricing, which Haveruk launched following a close look at Kamiskotia’s books. With the support of the resort’s board of directors, more competitive pricing was put into place to help position it as an affordable destination for winter activities. “Nothing against hockey, hockey is great, but I understand that getting a child started in hockey is quite expensive,” said Haveruk. “Getting somebody going in skiing is much more affordable now.” This move has been further helped by additional efforts to make Kamiskotia an easier place for families to visit and enjoy. Shuttle buses are now available weekends and holidays, with special shuttles offered on Friday and Saturday nights to accommodate the new evening snow tubing and skiing. The resort has been mindful of future generations, installing energy-efficient LED night lighting wherever possible, with continued upgrades on the horizon. Along with new on-site lockers for gear and equipment storage, these measures have taken the hassle away from parents and have made a “huge difference,” said Haveruk. “Now it’s easy to come and play at Kam.” To capitalize on the rise in attendance, one run was added in 2011 with another two in 2012, meaning that all four sides of the mountain can now be skied upon. The resort has also been expanding its facilities to draw in people beyond downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails have been groomed, and a large outdoor skating rink on the resort’s south side might become reality. The new south side sunset outdoor licensed deck is also expected to be a great draw once the weather warms. “People can play outside, come in for a bite to eat, sit by the fire, eat at the sundeck BBQ on weekends and holidays and head out again for more fun once they have warmed up.” Haveruk has been sure to honour Kamiskotia’s past by repurposing old equipment and keeping the public aware of its rich history, which dates back to the 1920s, a time when ski enthusiasts used to cross-country ski to the renowned mountain to enjoy the slopes before skiing back home. “I want people to know that this isn’t a brand new ski area; it has a long history and is one of the only mountains in Ontario.” Haveruk also noted that the close-knit nature of Timmins’ business community and within the Chamber membership has been a big help in exposure, support and marketing, making it easy to spread the word about all the new happenings at the hill. “Chamber membership is definitely good for business with its many offerings, meetings, educational seminars and functions,” he said. “Thanks to all the businesses and individuals in the community who have helped us stay operating, we've turned Kamiskotia into a sustainable business. We're a non-profit, so we really rely on that support to keep our doors open.” While this winter’s weather hasn’t been entirely cooperative in providing natural snow for the hill, Haveruk, a seasoned skier who has skied all over the world, asserts that the weather in town is no indication of the conditions on the hill. “I encourage everyone to check out the daily hill conditions on the website even when the weather seems bad. I’ve been skiing for 43 years and this is some of the best skiing I’ve found in Ontario. We’re redeveloping our offerings, so it’s a great time to come check us out.” Kamiskotia Snow Resort is located at 5050 Kamiskotia Road in Timmins, Ontario. Visit them online for daily conditions, prices, and services at www.kamiskotia.com, or give them a call at (705) 268-9057. Click here to see the full-sized image.