Hemlock businessman Richard ten Brink says ATV trails are excellent around Hemlock Valley and it has become a bigger tourist draw over the last few years.

Open for business despite closed slopes

Hemlock Valley businesses frustrated at lack of exposure after ski hill's closure announcement

‘We’re still here’ is the cry from the top of the mountain.

Hemlock Valley businesses, which rest around the base of Hemlock Valley Resort, are still open for business despite the cancelled ski season. And It’s about time everyone else knew that fact too, says local businessman Richard ten Brink.

“It’s almost devastating for the industry up here,” says ten Brink, owner of Hemlock Hollow Mountain Accommodations, of the resort’s announcement of a cancelled season on Feb. 4. “It’s been hard on the businesses because that’s what people mostly come up for.”

But no snow shouldn’t stop visitors, he goes on to say. There’s a lot more to Hemlock than a ski hill.

“It’s a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle,” says ten Brink. There’s ATV routes and hiking trails as well as quiet, hidden natural beauty around every corner. There’s fishing, golfing and close access to Harrison Hot Springs.

After Hemlock Resort made the announcement, hundreds of people responded, many writing comments on Hemlock’s Facebook page. At least one mentioned not being able to get a refund for their upcoming weekend booked through Hemlock Hollow. Ten Brink says while they have a clear refund policy on their website, in many cases they did end up providing refunds.

“We pretty much just threw the cancellation policy in the garbage and did per case,” says ten Brink. “A lot of people told us they’d just come up and enjoy it anyway.”

Ten Brink says those who chose to come up for their reserved overnight stays still had a good time. To attract more visitors, Hemlock Hollow dropped their high-season rates to encourage more overnight stays.

The ten Brinks love Hemlock Valley. They ended up living there when a weekend getaway place became their full-time home. They started off as a bed and breakfast and recently bought a competitor’s properties, now making them the largest accommodations company on the hill.

Stewart Green is another one of the year-long residents on the hill. He doubles as a ski coach and local realtor. Green is quick to point out that Hemlock was just the first of many hills with bad luck for snow this year, with many either closing or having severely impacted conditions.

When it comes to real estate, Green says the closure this year didn’t actually cause a stir in the local market. That’s because the waters have been relatively stagnant for years.

“The trend is really province-wide, and country-wide and world-wide,” says Green. “After 2008 and the economic downturn, interest in recreational and retirement-style real estate dropped off.”

Places like Hemlock Valley suffered, with the frequency of sales dropping “considerably.”

Green saw almost no sales from 2010-2013. But then in 2014, inventory started to move with a “little flurry” of interest. He says for newer buyers and longtime owners, the only draw was winter skiing. But now, he sees owners and renters using the accommodations year-round for everything from hiking, ATVing, golfing and fishing.

“I’m a big believer Hemlock will succeed,” says Green.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Umbrella decorating contest to raise funds, awareness for Ann Davis Transition Society in Chilliwack

People invited to decorate red umbrellas as part of Umbrellas for Change: The Ann Davis Art Contest

No injuries in midnight house fire near Sardis Park

Crews from five Chilliwack fire halls responded to get house fire under control

Chilliwack school district staff working on September classroom plans

More information about back-to-school plans to be unveiled by Aug. 26 says senior district staff

Chilliwack-Hope MP looking to celebrate pandemic community heroes

Eligible community heroes include individuals, businesses and not-for-profits

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Staff member tests positive for COVID-19 at Maple Ridge Seniors Village

Fraser Health is on site implementing outbreak protocols at the seniors care facility

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Racism in B.C. healthcare: Deadline for First Nations survey coming up on Aug. 6

Survey comes after hospital staff allegedly played a blood alcohol guessing game

‘We want to help’: As overdose deaths spike, beds lay empty at long-term Surrey rehab centre

John Volken Academy searching for ‘students’ to enlist in two-year residential treatment program

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Most Read