first_imgMONTREAL – Downhill skiers could be whizzing down the slopes of Montreal’s beloved Mount Royal in a few years if a Quebec promoter gets its way.Gestev, a sports and entertainment event management company, is mounting a plan to resurrect the mountain’s long-closed ski hill to host a future World Cup parallel slalom race.President Patrice Drouin said the group has been looking for a site for several years but only recently realized that the mountain’s dimensions could fit the technical standards required by the International Ski Federation.“In finding that the slope already existed, and served for competitions and an initiation to skiing for many people in Montreal and the surrounding region, (we thought) ‘Why couldn’t the event be the trigger to bring back this trail on the mountain to serve the population before or after the competition?’” he said in a phone interview.Gestev’s plan involves clearing and rebuilding the old ski hill on mountain’s north slope, which closed in 1979.Remnants of the old ski lifts can still be found alongside the site of the former path, which is now mostly covered by trees that have grown in naturally to fill the space.The project would involve removing some of those trees as well as building temporary infrastructure to accomodate racers and spectators, Drouin said.Ideally, he said, the mountain would host three or four years of international races beginning in 2020 or 2021, and could be open to the public afterward and in between.While he’s likely to encounter some resistance from people who don’t want the natural landscape tampered with, he argues that the group is bringing back part of the mountain’s heritage rather than building something new.“It’s not a question on enlarging, of extending, of excavating,” he said.“We’re saying the path is already there, and we could use it exactly as it was and put it back in place for the event.”The company has yet to order a to gauge the project’s environmental impact.The three-headed mountain that sits at the heart of Montreal was declared a historic site by the Quebec government in 2005.Les Amis de la Montagne, which advocates for the mountain, unsuccessfully lobbied to have the area included on a Canadian list of potential UNESCO World Heritage sites.While the mountain offers a number of winter sports including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, snow tubing and skating, the group has expressed concerns that downhill skiing and snowboarding could harm the mountain’s natural environment and destroy fragile vegetation.“The importance of making smart decisions relative to the types of activities that are (or not) permitted on Mount Royal is critical for the sustainability of the natural area,” reads the group’s website.Drouin said the plan to bring skiing back to Mount Royal is still in its early stages.No budget has been proposed, and the scope of the project could be scaled up or down based on the input of citizens, government and concerned groups.Drouin said the group is now meeting with various sports federations and public officials to find out if there’s enough support for the project to move ahead.He said the responses he’s received from sports federations and public officials thus far have been “fairly enthusiastic,” although he has yet to receive any official endorsements.Drouin said the company should decide by March 2019 if it plans to move forward and formally submit the project to the the International Ski Federation.last_img

Group pitches plan for international ski racing on Montreals Mount Royal

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