Manitoba Mountain: Small Footprint, Big Potential
SAM Magazine-Girdwood, Alaska, May 26, 2011-The Mountain Rider's Alliance (MRA) and its Manitoba Mountain Ski Area Restoration Project, which aims to restore lift access to a ski area that last operated in 1960, continue to move forward. The plan for the area, located on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, was introduced at a mid-February public forum in Girdwood. The group has more recently created a website to keep stakeholders apprised of the project's status, www.skimanitobamountain.com.
The Project is noteworthy because it looks to develop a minimalistic ski area that utilizes clean energy, promotes winter outdoor recreation, and increases economic stability and regional employment opportunities in the area.
The project, if developed, would become Alaska's eighth ski area. MRA and the organization's local partners are seeking approval for three surface lifts and a bare-bones base facility. The proposal also calls for a Nordic trail system.
While the numbers sound small, the surface lifts would access thousands of acres of skiing. When off-piste and hike-to expert-only sectors are considered, the accessible terrain comprises 10,000 acres, in fact.
"Manitoba Mountain will afford skiers and boarders with access to five times the skiable terrain as any other area in the state. Providing convenient access to a wide variety of terrain, a well-planned layout of surface lifts ensures energy efficiency and minimizes operational costs," said MRA spokesman Jamie Schectman.
Manitoba Mountain would also generate clean energy to reduce its operating expenses, energy usage and carbon footprint. The development would exceed the goals of Alaska House Bill 306, which mandates that 50 percent of the state's energy be provided by renewable energy by 2025.