The general manager of Hudson Bay Mountain says thieves who stole about $20,000 worth of equipment from the ski hill last week have robbed the community of Smithers.
A 2015 Ski-Doo, tools and ski equipment were among the items stolen from the company’s maintenance shed, which is adjacent to the lodge, in the early hours of Jan. 27.
Thieves kicked in a locked door to break into the shed, where they took everything from maintenance harnesses to oil guns.
It was the third time the shed had been broken into in two years.
Dikran Zabunyan believes more than one thief was responsible, and that they must have known what was inside the shed.
“They knew what they were looking for,” Zabunyan said.
“The sad part of it is they not only took a brand new Ski-Doo and our tools but they also took our employees personal belongings.
“It was a bit of a cheap shot taken at us.
“The way I look at it is they didn’t only rob our mountain but they also robbed our community.”
Some of the stolen equipment belonging to the employees included skis worth $1500 and a race helmet valued at $800.
Senior lift mechanic Damien Braun said a local retailer had helped him replace his stolen snowboard, bindings and goggles.
“I was lucky to have friends in the right places to get all that stuff back which was really awesome,” he said.
“Jason from Rayz [Boardshop] helped me out but getting the stuff with sentimental value back is, well, we won’t get that.”
Another employee lost a helmet signed by other ski athletes and a set of racing poles that had helped carry him to competition wins.
Hill and trail manager Frank McBride said the mountain could not have continued to operate as normal without help from local businesses including Canadian Tire and Telus.
“Without the support that we’ve been getting from the community, especially with the harnesses that we’ve been loaned and the tools that we were given a great deal on, we really wouldn’t have been able to open the mountain again so quickly,” he said.
Zabunyan said the community had been angered by the theft because it feels a sense of ownership over the mountain.
“I know a lot of the people in the community are not happy about this and we thank them for their support and hopefully we can find the culprits,” he said.
HBM has already installed security cameras at the shed.
“We just bought some cameras, a brand-new camera, which we were talking about doing anyway about two weeks ago.
“I guess our timing is a bit late but we purchased it today and we are installing it as we speak so we can get an immediate response.”
The company is also using social media to circulate photographs of the stolen Ski-Doo in the hope that someone in the community will recognize it.
The missing snowmobile is a black and white Ski-Doo Rev XP 550 F-C.
McBride said its flag would either be sawn off or there would be a hole where the flag had been because thieves had removed it at the site.
The missing tools were inscribed with “HBM”.
The RCMP is investigating the theft.
Anyone with information can contact Smithers RCMP at 250-847-3233 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.