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Thunderhill progress update

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The new chalet and trail expansion for the Thunderhill Ski Area is coming along nicely, with ground having been broken last week to lay a foundation for the new recreational home base of Thunderhill.
Since the campaign started to raise funds for the expansion, the Thunderhill Ski Club (TSC) has secured a $300,000 grant from the Manitoba government as part of the Building Sustainable Community Program, as well as $25,000 from the Trail Manitoba grant program, to be used towards the completion of the chalet and new trail systems.
TSC board member Kyle Machan noted that a portion of the funds from both grants has been paid out already, with a requirement to apply for the balance of funds every quarter as money is spent.
“We have applied to pretty well any grant available that we even remotely met the guidelines for,” he said. “Anyone who has done grant writing knows it’s easily 12-24 hours of solid work between two or three people, so it’s not as easy as a copy and paste. We have a good team, and if you don’t ask, you won’t receive.
“This year, all grants have seen 10 times the number of applications as previous years, so it was an extremely competitive market.”
The local fundraising and sponsorship campaign ended Oct. 1 with some incentives like lift tickets and cross-country skis.
“Locally, we have been nothing short of blessed,” said Machan. “Support has been openly offered and everyone has tried to help in one way or another. We will be trying to campaign for the project again with fundraising efforts, as we have a way to go.”
The total goal of the project is to raise $1.5 million. This has been offset somewhat thanks to the generosity of local builders and material suppliers. To date, a little more than $1 million has been pledged, over the course of 10 years.
The current plan is to work with the cash in the bank right now to get some construction progress done as much as possible.
“We’re hoping to get it to the point where (the building) is lockable,” said Machan. “We weren’t in the position where we can tell a contractor to do a turnkey operation, so we’re doing it in phases.”
Machan expects that the chalet could be completed by June.
The trail network will be moving at a slightly different pace. Alex Man with Scatliff+Miller+Murray was hired to design the trail network, and recently released a new map layout, and came out to flag the cross country/multi-use trail late last week.
Machan noted that the plan is to clear this trail and pack it enough to use for cross country this winter.
“This is something we can use volunteers for, and so this will not necessarily be in such a locked timeframe,” he said. “By next year when some of those pledges have come in, we should have enough money to finish Phase 1.
“The trail system is expansive enough that it could be three or four years before they’re all done, but we’d like to get at least one new trail every year. This year, we’ll start (with the cross country trail), and next year could be the land-based learning trail or the multi-use trail. I would also like to have at least one more mountain biking trail completed for next year.
“We need a good chunk of the capital in the next two years so we can finish the build and open the facility to the public,” Machan continued. “If you have anyone that has interest in sponsoring the project in any way or another, don’t be shy to reach out, and every donation is greatly appreciated.”
Those interested can reach out to Kyle Machan, Derek Henkelman, Rob Ter Horst, or any TSC board member.
Future fundraising initiatives have not been set yet, but are anticipated to be announced in the near future.
“We would love to have a bingo, Chase the Ace or something online where we can interact with people a little more, but that seems to be harder than we would have anticipated,” Machan concluded. “We are currently seeking help on the subject from a couple of organizations and hopefully we can announce some fun soon.”

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Jeremy Bergen
REPORTER
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