Ollie, Asessippi’s favourite porcupine, and Toba, Travel Manitoba’s polar bear, ride the snow carpet up to the top.
More than one million visitors have passed through the Asessippi Ski Area and Resort during the resort’s 14-year tenure, turning what was once believed to be a questionable endeavour into a complete success.
Asessippi Ski Area and Resort recently celebrated welcoming one million guests to the ski resort located near Russell (SUBMITTED)
"It was really exciting," Asessippi director of marketing Roz Pulo said about reaching the milestone on New Year’s Eve.
Pulo, who has been with the resort since its inception, said the ride has been filled with many bumps, but in the end it’s been gratifying to see the resort grow and flourish in the region.
"It’s a huge milestone and it proves that the plan worked and there were a lot of people that said it would never work," Pulo said. "It certainly hasn’t been easy, but it’s very rewarding and it’s great to know that goals have been met and have been exceeded in a lot of areas."
Asessippi has 25 runs with three chairlifts, two terrain parks and a snow-tubing park that has doubled in size from last year.
Another recent addition is the snow carpet. Measuring 650 feet in length, the carpet is the ideal way for beginners and children to get from the bottom of the hill to the top, eliminating the fear of getting hung up on a T-bar lift or not being strong enough to hold onto a handle tow.
And it’s been the commitment from investors to continue to upgrade Asessippi that Pulo credits for some of the resort’s success, growing it from a small hill to the expansive winter resort it is today.
"Our investors haven’t hesitated to take risks, to put money back into the company and expand."
With youth programs like the 1-2-3 program and promotions such as the Sunday Sampler, which allows children to get a lift pass to the bunny hill and rentals for under $10, Pulo said the resort has made a priority of growing on a grass-roots level.
Today, she said the resort has winter pass holders from Winnipeg to Brandon and Yorkton to Regina. And each year the sell has been made easier and easier by the runs and conditions the resort can offer.
"Our snow conditions have improved every year and the snow making and our snow makers, sometimes I just look at them with awe because I can’t believe how quickly they can get the hill put together," Pulo said.
This year the resort is off to another great start, boasting about a 10 per cent increase in traffic during the holiday season over last year.
"I think we’ve helped to change the culture in the region," Pulo said. "When we first started there were a lot of kids that didn’t ski at all and now you can see kids walking to school with their toques and goggles on."
And the resort should only continue to grow as skiers, snowboarders and tubers who grew up on the hill and saw it mature right from the beginning start to introduce their children to the sport.
"I just want to thank everyone that has helped make us a success," Pulo said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 14, 2013