The Canada Winter Games is already generating economic activity from Tabor Mountain.
As host for snowboard and freestyle ski events, Tabor Mountain Ski Resort has to completely revamp its facilities. As reported in The Citizen last week, this work will make Tabor one of Canada's top facilities for these sports.
It will also trigger a flow of money into the community that might start with the 2015 Games but is already resonating in the local economy. The official elements of the event have a price tag of $150,000, which will be paid for jointly by resort owner Fern Thibault and the 2015 Canada Winter Games Host Society.
However, said Thibault, he and his partners are investing an undisclosed amount in several other areas of development - things the resort has always dreamed of having but couldn't justify until Prince George won the Winter Games opportunity.
For starters, the resort is revamping its entrance, adding eight new runs, reopening a T-bar that hasn't operated in eight years, and building a terrain park "we are taking to be the largest in B.C," as well as a snowcross course for beginners to go with the more difficult course.
"No other place I know of in Canada has two courses - one dedicated to beginners," said Flynn Seddon, president of the BC Snowboard Association and a technical consultant for the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
"It will be an overall expansion of almost 50 per cent," Thibault said. "You can hear skidders and logging trucks out there right now."
More than 250 loads of dirt have been trucked into the site, and more will be needed. Every time a dumptruck rolls onto the Tabor property or a logging truck rolls off, it's like the ching of a cash register for the local economy.
"It's creating jobs and using machinery," Thibault said. "We're moving all that material, we're burning fuel, we're having breakdowns so we have to buy parts, we're working with Carrier Lumber and Timberspan Wood Products to use trees right off the property here and creating a major new entrance out of wood."
The tree clearing has been going on for four months, said Thibault. A private contractor has been employing a crew of four or five people at a time, using a tree processor, skidder, chainsaws and logging trucks.
Future possibilities for the mountain include finally securing a base of mountain bikers willing to use the chair lift, downhilling on the ski routes in the summer. It was an experiment the resort ran for four years at a loss, so it had to be discontinued but the signs are there of one day soon having enough interest to be above the red line on the ledger.
There are 22 summertime trail options on the ski resort property, plus connections to the network of nordic ski trails next door on the Sons Of Norway cross country system, and connections to the network of trails down the south side of the mountain operated by the Prince George Snowmobile Club.
With year-round staffing and a menu of full-calendar activities at the ski resort, those official links might well grow from concept into reality.
The more distant but most important possibility for Thibault is the chance the Games-related improvements mean for his dreams of homes on the mountain.
"We are wanting to take it to the next level," he said. "The Games is an announcement across Canada for what we have here, and based on that, we will be taking it to a full development - a housing community right here on the ski hill. It's unbelievable what could happen here in the future. The Games is a big stepping stone for that."