Ski Martock sees decline of users during work to rule labour action

Published on February 7, 2017

Public school students are no longer showing up at Ski Martock in large numbers.

©Colin Chisholm

MARTOCK, N.S. – Busloads of customers not showing up at the door would be bad news for any business, and that’s the case for the region’s largest ski resort.

Andy MacLean, general manager of Ski Martock, said they’ve seen a major dip in skiers since work to rule began as a result of a labour dispute between the NSTU and provincial government.

“It has impacted our season for sure,” he said, noting that typical weekday would consist of anywhere between 300 and 700 school kids hitting the slopes.

“That, and the fact that we have a number of school ski race teams, Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation certified teams – those school athletes aren’t here training either,” he said. “Or competing.”

MacLean said they’ve made adjustments to compensate for the lack of school children coming to the ski hill.

“Where we don’t have those school kids coming, we don’t have the same number of employees here working to accommodate them either,” he said.

MacLean said the reduction in labour impacts almost every department of the resort including the snow school, rental shop, food service, and others.

Ski Martock has started a promotion called Love Winter as a way to entice visitors during weekdays.

It started running from Monday-Wednesday, but has since become a promotion for Monday-Friday.

“We normally wouldn’t discount our daytime rates mid-winter. We have made this offer to generate some visits and lessons and it’s doing a great job of that,” he said.

Andy MacLean, general manager Ski Martock
Nadine Armstrong

King’s-Edgehill School, along with other private schools from Halifax, continue to send groups to Ski Martock almost daily, MacLean said.

Businesses and other organizations tend to send groups or hold events during the weekend he added.

“There are other groups coming, but certainly not the volume we see normally from the public schools,” he said. “We’d love to see some sort of an agreement reached.”


Weather not having a big impact

Despite the general lack of snow this season, MacLean said it hasn’t made a big dent in their operations.

“Nova Scotia winters, generally, are like this,” he said. “We don’t really have a really wintry winter.”

Unlike, MacLean said, the gargantuan amount of snow dumped on the province in 2014/2015.

“The fact that we’re sandwiched between the Minas Basin, the Bay of Fundy, and the Atlantic Ocean puts us at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to a consistent winter anyway,” he said.

“Our ability to make and maintain snow is what gives us the ability to have a consistent season every winter,” he said.

“People may not be seeing snow in their backyards, but we’ve certainly got it in ours.”