An escort truck from Emil Anderson Maintenance rolls ahead of a convoy of vehicles navigating the critically damaged Hemlock Valley Rd. on Monday. More than 50 vehicles went down that day, ending four days of being stranded for a number of guests and employees at Sasquatch Mountain Resort. (Emil Anderson Maintenance/Contributed)

Community over crisis: Hemlock Valley restoration efforts in full swing

Sasquatch Mountain Resort resumes operations Saturday

One week after a landslide shut down Sasquatch Mountain Resort, operations are expected to resume again on Saturday.

A shuttle to and from the resort is set to run on Saturday and Sunday and spots can be reserved by contacting guest services. For those scheduled for lessons, the resort asks they allow themselves enough time to arrive an hour early.

On Thursday afternoon, the resort released a statement that a single lane of alternating traffic on Hemlock Valley Road will now be open 24 hours a day starting on Friday at 8 a.m. At this time, an escort vehicle will not be necessary, but travelers can expect delays of up to 60 minutes as crews will have to stop traffic periodically to continue to work on repairs.

RELATED: Sasquatch Mountain sets up car retrieval system

Shelby Lim, marketing and development director at the resort, said there are currently about 150 people in the area now, 100 of which are staff and the remainder are locals. There were once more than 500 people stranded this past weekend when a landslide triggered by heavy flooding crippled the only road in or out of the resort. The community near the resort lost power, which took BC Hydro 43 hours to restore. With efforts from TRK and Librico Helicopters, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) and Emil Anderson road crews, all stranded people were evacuated by Monday afternoon.

“We’re just happy that nobody was hurt, everyone got home safely, and we’re excited to get back to doing what we do best,” Lim said in a statement.

RELATED: Hundreds stranded at Agassiz’s Sasquatch Mountain after heavy rain, landslide

The resort released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying they are working closely with MOTI to restore the road to full capacity as soon as possible. Lim said construction was proceeding well and added the resort was not looking to rush into opening the road prematurely, stressing the paramount concern of public safety above all.

As the repair efforts press on, Lim stated MOTI will continue to develop a plan for a long-term solution for the road.

“We really appreciate your patience during this time and will be updating our channels as soon as possible,” the statement read. “We would like to say a huge thank you to TRK Helicopters, Librico Helicopters, The Canadian Ski Patrol, the unwavering Sasquatch Mountain staff members, The Hemlock Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association, The Hemlock Valley Homeowners Association, and our local MLA Laurie Throness for all the support during this time.”

VIDEO: Sasquatch Mountain evacuation successful

For those traveling in the evening on Wednesday or Thursday, at 5 p.m. a pilot vehicle will depart from the bottom of Hemlock Valley Road, and at 5:30 p.m., a pilot car will head downhill from the same 3 kilometre sign.

Mandatory chains are still in effect when traveling Hemlock Valley Road.

Conditions and times are subject to change.

With 25 centimetres of snow in the forecast, fresh powder could await those who return to the mountain this weekend.

“This event was an amazing display of camaraderie as locals, surrounding municipalities, government and strangers who pulled together to make the most out of a challenging situation where the focus was put more on community over crisis,” Lim said.



adam.louis@ahobserver.com

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