Candy Mountain

September 2004

sign at the entrance Sometimes when I look at old ruins and see them deteriorating, I fear that some day all the ruins will be collapsed and there won't be any left to explore. However, checking out the remains of the Candy Mountain ski resort, I was reminded that the supply of future ruins is constantly replenished.

Candy mountain was a ski resort operational as recently as 2001, and has since been abandoned. You can still find traces of it as a ski hill on the web, including an attempt to save the ski resort by selling shares in it in 2002.

By the looks of it now, partly dismantled, it doesn't look like anybody will reopen it. With two other decent ski hills in the Thunder Bay vicinity, and a shrinking and aging population base locally, there simply is no need for three ski hills, and so the owner of two ski hills decided to shut one of them down and concentrate the snowmaking equipment to the Loch Lochmond Ski Area.


The ski hill

The hill is already noticeably overgrown, although on the runs, so far, there is only shrubs. The vertical elevation gain is over 700 ft - quite decent, compared to what I'm used to in Southern Ontario!

Quite a nice view of Thunder Bay from the top.

view from the hill remaining lift masts remains of surface lift

At the top, there is also a satellite dish antenna farm. Presumably for cellular and microwave communications. The top of the main lift was some hundred meters removed from the antenna farm, but there was nothing left of the lift in that area.

hilltop antenna installation.

There were two snow groomers, on the hill, one at the bottom, and one near the garages part way up. One of these looked relatively recent, although it was clear that various parts had been taken off it. The older one of the two looked fairly complete.

older snow goomer newer snow groomer

Also various pieces of equipment lying around for grooming the hill - some of it no doubt for grooming the hill in the summer to keep the terrain smooth and the vegetation low enough as not to poke through the snow.

cultivator

Most of the hill was serviced by just one double chair lift line. There was another lift line further to the left, but it didn't go all the way to the top. There was also the grip tow for the bunny hill. In addition to that, there was a surface lift, which appears to have been abandoned before the last season the hill operated.

ski trails map


The Alpine village

The alpine village is relatively intact, with relatively few panes smashed. In fact, it looks tempting to try to make something out of the main chalet. Looks like such an inviting building, and probably keeps itself warm on a sunny winter day. Such a shame.

alpine village alpine village alpine village alpine village alpine village clock don't run chalet basement chalet inside chalet outside chalet windows plant in roof


The lifts

The main lift that used to go all the way to the top no longer has its cables taut. The top third of the hill's posts have been removed, and the lift cable is lying slack on the ground. The chairs have all been removed, and are lying in rows on the ground, with tall grass growing between them.

main lift machinery main lift bulwheel main lift empty towers main lift chairs

The control room door is open, and the window smashed. The electrical equipment inside looks recent, the paper instructions on the wall are not even yellowed. The lift's operating licence is taped to the wall. Expiry date: Dec 2001.

main lift electrical control room lift liscense

The other lift is much more overgrown. Presumably, they only used the main lift for the last few seasons. The ski lift had been struggling, and the extra capacity wasn't needed, especially with the main lift covering most of the runs already.

It was quite a bushwhack getting to the machinery, and it loomed impressively over the shrubs that nearly engulfed it.

second lift bulwheel second lift bullwheel second lift counterweight second lift backup motor

The cables were still on the towers for the second lift, and even looked shiny in the light.

A plaque shown in the control room window indicates the lift was built in 1970. Those were probably better times for the ski hill, and for the Thunder Bay area in general.

second lift cables second lift plaque: 1970 it won't start

Another surface lift had been dismantled probably much longer ago. The bullwheel mechanism was lying off to the side on the bottom of the ski hill. Probably removed to make way for skiers, seeing that the surface lift wasn't even on the trail map.

dismantled surface lift bullwheel

An finally, here's a Google Satellite view of candy mountain:

The ski hill has since been converted to a priave residence, an is not going to be converted back to a ski hill again. Here's an Article about it from a thunder bay newspaper (Local copy here)

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