The Saskatchewan government says it’s interested in a British Columbia man’s proposal to reopen Mount Blackstrap.
Torey Spink wants the province to lease the land and if they do, he will invest between $5 million and $8 million in the project.
The government has made it very clear there are no provincial funds available for Blackstrap, just south of Saskatoon, Spink said.
“All the money will be coming from myself,” he said, adding he isn’t looking for any investors, just the support of the people in Saskatchewan.
“The $5 million to $8 million is our investment into the hill.”
The government has been in informal talks with Spink and is anticipating his formal proposal, which he says he is submitting Monday, said Cindy MacDonald, executive director, operations with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport.
“It’s something we would definitely consider. We have advertised that opportunity in the past,” she said.
Spink said he has been part of the ski industry for most his life, including teaching skiing full-time worldwide before coming back to Canada and going to school in Saskatchewan. He worked at several more hills before getting into ski coaching. In the infancy of snowboarding, he became a sales representative for a snowboard manufacturer and now owns his own company in Whistler, B.C.
The province pulled the plug on Mount Blackstrap in October 2009 after no one took over the facility that had been closed for more than two years. A month later, in September 2009, the ski lodge burned down and all the leftover ski equipment, including a triple chairlift was sold.
“It’s basically starting from scratch. The one exception now compared to ’71 or ’72 when the mountain was built is that at least there is a mountain right now,” Spink said.
He plans to build a quad chairlift that would service over 1,300 people per hour. He would also build a j-bar Poma lift to replace the t-bar which makes it easier for snowboarders to get up the hill.
Since the fire in 2009, there are no existing structures at the Mount Blackstrak, Spink said building a new lodge on Lake Blackstrap is his first priority.
The lodge would be bigger than the original resort which would be used year-round for weddings and gatherings.
Construction would begin in April after the thaw pending government approval, Spink said.
A four-season business plan is the only sustainable option in Spink’s mind. He said he envisions a focus on water sports, mountain biking, BMXing, and climbing during the summer months.