Asessippi Ski Resort & other winter activities

January 10, 2022, 10:43 am
Sierra D'Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Asessippi Ski Area & Resort located just north of Russell, Manitoba, offers a variety of outdoor activities throughout the winter and summer time. Individuals from across the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan go to the area for skiing, snowboarding, downhill tubing, mountain biking, camping, golfing, weddings, cottage coves and more.

Manitoba’s outdoor adventure resort—Asessippi Ski Area & Resort, has redesigned its rental area to allow families and individuals the opportunity to enjoy winter activities, all while staying safe through social distancing protocols.

"Certainly we had to change a lot of our policies, procedures and protocols, but Manitoba Health has been fantastic in helping us with trying to make everything as safe as possible,” says Richard Crosthwaite, general manager of the Asessippi Ski Area & Resort.

“It’s been a learning curve for us just as it’s been for every other business. Hopefully when our clients get here, we want them to feel safe enough. We want people to come here and have fun, that’s what we strive for.”

The Asessippi resort is located just north of Russell, Manitoba. They offer outdoor activities all year around such as skiing, snowboarding, downhill tubing, golfing, mountain biking, camping and more.

“We certainly do different things on the hill, we want to give people a variety, so we thought why not have something different for a bit of everyone here,” says Crosthwaite.

“We offer a wonderful variety of activities, we have a ski hill here with 26 runs, we have a magic carpet, we have multiple things available for all walks of life. Basically we don’t just offer skiing at the hill, we also have ski bikes, we’ve got snow shoe trails, we also do weddings. We do up to 40 weddings a year. We have different venues.”

During the winter season, Crosthwaite says the Asessippi resort also offers beginner to intermediate lessons of skiing and snowboarding. However, due to the inconsistent weather during the months of November and December, the business was not able to stay open for a consecutive amount of time.

“We make 100 per cent of our snow at Asessippi and we like to start at the end of October. It was unfortunate that during this year in November and in the beginning of December, the temperatures were not favorable. They were very warm so we couldn’t really make that much snow,” Crosthwaite says.

“That affects us because obviously we can’t open in the time frame that we need to. I pump about 10 million gallons of snow a year, that takes a considerate amount of effort and time to do. If we can guarantee a consistent temperature of minus 25 that would be absolutely spectacular for us.”

Crosthwaite says Asessippi resort was closed during the Christmas period, due to the weather being too cold to operate the snow hills in a safe manner.

“Our policy is that if the weather is minus 35 with a windchill, we don’t operate,” he says.

“My number one goal is for everyone to have fun, and everyone’s safety. Safety is my number one concern on the hill, I’m constantly observing what the temperatures are and unfortunately when the temperatures are not favorable, we cannot open with respect to the rules.”

The days when it is too cold to be outside, Crosthwaite says the business is forced to close due to safety concerns.

“We can’t operate when it’s minus 35 with a windchill, it’s just too dangerous, the machines don’t like it and it’s not healthy for the staff.”

“When people come to Asessippi I want them to enjoy the experience and not leave thinking it could’ve been better. It’s the safety aspect that really worries me.”

Although the business started off to a rough season, Crosthwaite says the weather now, seems to be good enough to run winter activities and stay open.
“We have a lot going on here and just getting people to the area is terrific for the local community.”

He says the Asessippi resort benefits the community not only during the winter season, but during the summer time as well.

“It (Asessippi Ski Area & Resort) certainly benefits the community because we get about 80,000 people that come here a year,” Crosthwaite says.

“People come from all over the province which is absolutely fantastic. Everyone spends a lot of time in the area, at the local shops, the retails, the gas stations and more, so I’d like to think those are all ambassadors for the area.”

“Hopefully people come back not just for skiing, but in the summer, because during the summer there’s so much going on in the area. We have wonderful golf courses, we have fishing in the nice lakes, camping, things like that.”

During the summer, Crosthwaite says the resort is the only place in the area that offers downhill mountain biking throughout the months of June to September.

“We are actually the only west access mountain bikes trail system in Manitoba, which is quite unique for us.”

“We’re always trying to expand the business, so that we can be a year round resort rather than just being open during the winter resort. We have a fabulous chalet here, which doesn’t get utilized to its full potential so that’s what we’re trying to aim for. Trying to accommodate for weddings and just make use of the surroundings we have. It’s a beautiful adventurous area during the summer as well, so we need to jump on that bandwagon.”

Individuals can check for additions and updates on current winter activities.

Crosthwaite says the business has made enough snow now to last until March, and as long as the weather cooperates, he says the Asessippi Ski Area & Resort should be busy and able to stay open.