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Frost Fire Ski is operating in a different capacity this year due to a wind storm that wrecked their main chairlift.

Kristi Wilfahrt, Interim Foundation Director of the Pembina Gorge Foundation (PGF), said the foundation is currently looking to replace the broken chairlift.

The foundation purchased Frost Fire Ski area in June of 2017 from Judith and the late Richard Johnson who had owned and operated it for over 40 years.

The foundation thought the chair lift repair would cost up to $100,000, being covered mostly by insurance. However, the project has turned into a complete replacement that will cost over a million dollars.

According to Wilfahrt, the engineer said the 1950's model was better off being replaced than repaired.

"It takes about 9 months to build and put up, so we're hoping to have that done in the end of September, so we're going to be fundraising for that," said Wilfahrt.

PGF has applied for a grant from Land and Water Conservation and is also planning to ask people to sponsor the chairs on the lift as a way to fundraise.

Wilfahrt noted the cost of a new lift is 1.3 million dollars, which is more than they paid for the ski area.

Despite the setback, there is still plenty of activity happening on the mountain this winter.

Opening day for Frost Fire Ski was Dec. 16. Wilfahrt said they will be running the Magic Carpet, and tubing will take place on the north side of the carpet.

There will also be a beginner ski slope available for skiing and snowboarding on the south side of the carpet. Several terrain park features will be rotated along the far southern edge of the slope for more advanced skiers and riders.

As for other activity at the hill, the lodge is experiencing some renovations and a new hospitality manager was hired.

"He's an excellent cook and he's bringing kind of new neat flavours to the lodge," said Wilfahrt.

The foundation is also working on the next Frost Fire Summer Theatre, which has been operating for 33 years. Wilfahrt wants to add an additional camp for kids, as well as more entertainment, crafts, recreation, history and cultural events.

Other plans include setting up a restaurant with adult beverages, building amenities that support the country club and golf, as well as ski cabins with overnight accommodations.

A mountain bike terrain park is also in the works, and creation of the trail began last summer.

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