NORTH BAY -- Thanksgiving weekend started off with a beautiful view and some outdoor yoga at Laurentian Ski Hill.

"This is a view that we get all the time in the winter, but not everybody gets to see the spectacular colours from the top of the hill," said assistant manager, Jennifer Matthews.

"Typically this is a no trespassing area. So, we're happy to open it up to the public today."

Physical distancing markers were on the ground to help ensure that participants were 6-feet-apart and masks were worn until the session began, making it a safe space for people to come out and enjoy.

"It's just a really lovely way to give yourself some mental space and with yoga you have that opportunity," said yoga instructor Amanda Everitt who donated her time.

"In this beautiful fresh air, you've got the great scenery that you can start to enjoy and sometimes let go."

Everitt adds, "I think a lot of businesses are struggling with everything going on and everybody deserves a chance to keep going and whatever we can do to support local businesses is really important."

The event took place Saturday morning for one hour and was by donation only.

"We're going to have additional costs this year with COVID so [the donations] will go into our operating budget," said Matthews.

"We appreciate every bit of help that we can get. We are a not-for-profit organization and last year with cutting out early at March Break, that was a tremendous loss for us. So we're hoping that enthusiasm is great this year and we appreciate the support of the community."

On top of giving people a chance to get outside and enjoy the ski hill a few months early, Matthews hopes it will help draw people in this winter.

"We're getting ready for the season and we want people to start thinking about Laurentian Ski Hill for an option this winter because it's going to be a great outdoor activity," she said.

Early bird season passes are currently on sale until Nov.8.

"It's a great value because you can come as often as you want for as long or as short of a time as you want. So, it's a good deal because you're buying that convenience," said Matthews.

"We've had steady sales so far in the last four weeks since we've been selling so we're about on par with last year."

Although the Ski Hill is gearing up for the season ahead, it will look slightly different this year in order to keep everyone safe.

"We will have to make some changes with our indoor space. We will be encouraging people to get ready at home as much as they can, get ready in their vehicles. Of course, if you are absolutely feeling unwell stay home, stay safe," said Kristen Franks who is a director on the board of directors for the ski hill.

"We will be encouraging physical distancing on the hill, but the facilities will be available. Washrooms will be available. We're working with our partner at Laurentian Cafe to have some sort of food service available. So as I said, planning is in full force and we are ready for the season to begin."

The goal is to have the hill open before Christmas with skiing available until after March Break.

"We saw a saying this week that said, you know, 'be well, ski well' and it's so true," said Franks.

"If you can get outside and enjoy the fresh air, obviously it's so much easier to physical distance outside. Generally when you're skiing you are wearing some sort of PPE with masks, goggles, gloves. So we hope for a great season ahead."

A community clean up is planned for Oct.17 to help the ski hill get ready for winter.


The last name of yoga instructor Amanda Everitt has been corrected, there is an "i" in it.