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Record-breaking heat still bringing skiers to the slopes as spring approaches


With winter feeling like it’s all but over, spring-like conditions are still bringing skiers to the slopes.

The temperatures hit 11.6 C in Ottawa on Monday, the hottest March 4 in the city's history, and skiers like Jimmy Cousaert are taking full advantage for the first time this season.

"I just want to enjoy it before the end of the season," said Cousaert.

Having recently moved to Canada from Belgium just four months ago, Cousaert wanted to experience Canadian skiing while there’s still snow on the ground.

"It's not the same thing in Belgium," he explains. "You have maybe one or two ski parks and it’s indoor. its artificial snow and the feeling is not the same."

Despite the unusually warm temperatures, Mont Cascades Ski Resort, just north of Ottawa, says that 75 per cent of their runs remain open.

"There's not much snow in the city. But our snowmaking teams have been working very hard all winter long," said Jeremy Flynn, Mont Cascades' director of customer service.

The ski industry relies heavily on March Break crowds for business. Mont Cascades is also planning ski camps as Ontario schools take their break next week.

"It's been great for sure," Flynn said. "Of course, we would love to have a bit more snow, but from what we can control, we're proud of the product we’ve put forward."

"I'm expecting to skin my hoodie this afternoon," shares one skier, while another adds, "I love to just fly and let go."

Thomas Ouellet, another skier, says, "The snow is more sticky, so it's harder. If snow gets on your skis you can fall. But I like it when it’s hotter."

For Cousaert, he says he picked the right day to hit his first Canadian ski hill.

"It’s good. Not so cold," he said.

"Yeah, I enjoy it."

With files from CTV News Ottawa's Josh Pringle Top Stories

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