Big White Ski Resort delays opening, again

Big White opening delayed

Despite reports of an atmospheric river set to bring precipitation to the B.C. Coast and Interior, Big White Ski Resort has decided to delay its opening day again.

Chairlift operations have been pushed back from Tuesday, Dec. 5 until Thursday, Dec, 7.

"Mother nature continues to play tricks with our early season traditional snowfalls. We did not receive as much snow as was forecasted and therefore we are not able to open up tomorrow," said resort senior vice president Michael J. Ballingall.

Big White was originally supposed to open on Nov. 23, which was delayed to Nov. 30 and then it was delayed again until Dec. 5 due to lack of snow.

As of Monday Big White says its alpine snow base is 52 cm, Ballingall says if the situation changes they will open as soon as conditions permit, "we are expecting snowfalls in the next 24/48 hours."

"We predict that if we received 25 cm of traditional early-season snow we would be able to open a variety of runs at the resort on our centre slopes," Ballingall said.

So far mother nature hasn't cooperated and the precipitation that is anticipated could fall as rain or snow, depending on the freezing level.

"It could be magic. It could be a disaster and that's the game that we play right now," said Ballingall.

Fernie and Panorama both received 20 cm of snow over the weekend and are partially open but according to Ballingall, none of the ski hills in British Columbia have great conditions at this point.

"I'm in Vancouver right now it's, pouring rain. I'm hearing that it's pouring rain to the top of Whistler. So I don't know what's going to happen, but this time of year, the difference between two and three degrees celsius can mean a dump of snow and a dump of rain."

The delays are already taking their toll on the business.

"The cancellations today alone are over $100,000," Ballingall said

"People want to go skiing... there's ski instructor courses, level one and level two courses that we've had to cancel. Those people waiting to get their certificate so they can get a job. There's lots of ramifications from this, but we're hoping 48 hours from now we'll be able to push the button again."

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