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An Urban Hill In Montreal Will Not Be Reopening


It was one of the few places on the continent that one could jump on a metro line and get some turns in right in their own city. Although it does sound like a fantastic idea, one that seems to have proven popular, the Borough of Sud-Ouest (Southwest) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada has decided that it will not continue with Pente à Neige.

“The three-year pilot project carried out at Ignace-Bourget Park with the non-profit organization Pente à Neige has been completed. We are now better equipped to work on a new formula that is better suited to the needs and demands of our population," said the borough mayor of Sud-Ouest and president of the executive committee of the City of Montreal, Benoit Dorais, in a press release.

Pente à Neige was started in 2017 as a way to bring snow sports right into the city of Montreal. Located in Ignace-Bourget Park, the micro ski resort was designed to not only be a more affordable snowsports experience but one that was very accessible in terms of travel. With three runs, a terrain park, tubing, and rentals all just a few minutes from the center of town by car and all costing far less than one would pay at a larger resort, this seems almost like a skier and riders paradise hidden amongst the urban sprawl.

However, the city of Montreal has decided to end the partnership and bring this urban ski hill to an end. The Borough, though having many good things to say about the Pente à Neige project, has cited various issues that have led city officials to not renew the agreement between the city and the ski hill.

“The experience with Pente à Neige has among other things confirmed the site's potential in terms of winter sports. However, the formula raised various issues, particularly in terms of security, social acceptability, and impacts on parking in the surrounding streets,” said District Councilor, Anne-Marie Sigouin.

The news of the city's choosing not to renew the agreement with Pente à Neige came as a bit of a surprise to the operators of the park. According to a recent satisfaction survey, 95% of visitors said they were satisfied with their experience and that 91% planned on a return visit. This survey came after a year that the micro resort saw 55,000 visitors. 

"Indeed, not everyone has the possibility of going out of town with his or her family to practice winter sports. We are convinced that Montrealers need access to outdoor activities, even more so in a context where the City of Montreal intends to bet on the importance of being a tourist in its own city,” specifies Estéban Dravet, founder of Pente à Neige. "We are surprised and disappointed with the Borough's decision after these three years of working hand in hand. A line has been drawn without giving us the opportunity to say anything before the decision was rendered.”

Pente à Neige, however, is not going down without a bit of a fight. They have asked the community and their fans to support them in getting the city to change its mind. One of the ways they are looking to do this is in the form of a petition, which currently has just over 3,600 signatures. If you would like to help them in achieving their goal, the petition can be found on the La Pente à Neige website, which also has other suggestions for helping save the hill, or you can go to the change.org petition directly by following this link, http://chng.it/MCFKkT8GCf.

In the meantime, the city has developed an online survey to get ideas from the community on the future of the park. Snowsports are still in mind, with Sud-Ouest Borough Mayor Benoit Dorais saying, “From the start of this adventure, our desire was to improve the conditions for skiing on the Newman slope and to keep it free. The next version that we will develop in the coming months will remain faithful to these objectives." However, keeping Pente à Neige intact is not an option on the survey. Though the operators ask, along with the petition signing, that fans make it known on the survey that they would like Pente à Neige to stay just as it has for the last three years.

Petition | penteaneige

It is with surprise and concern that we announce to you today that Montreal's South-West borough has decided not to renew the agreement which allowed Pente à Neige to offer an urban ski resort at the Ignace-Bourget Park.


Photo Credit: Pente à Neige

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