Last year an early blast of snow meant opening day was pushed up. This year, Big White Ski Resort has had to delay its planned opening for the winter season.
The mountain was scheduled to welcome skiers and boarders this Thursday, November 23. Instead, fingers are crossed that they will be able to open next Thursday, November 30.
“We thought we’d get a lot more snow tonight than is scheduled now. The forecasts are changing like crazy,” explains Big White Ski Resort senior vice president Michael J. Ballingall.
“We see all these storms off the Pacific. Some are south of us, some are north of us. None are right on top of us and we need a couple of storms right on top of us.”
He says the resort needs about another 50 centimetres of snow for runs to be ready. The base at the village is currently listed at just 37 cm.
Unfortunately, the delayed opening means many people coming up from the United States to mark American Thanksgiving this Thursday won’t be able to strap on the boards.
“We had over 200 reservations. Fifty per cent of those were owner units, so people coming up to stay in their own units. They’ll probably still come because a lot of people have made this their tradition,” says Ballingall.
However, some visitors are coming from Australia. He suspects those powder seekers will rent vehicles and drive to the ski hills that are open, like those in Alberta, and then come back to Big White when conditions improve.
Despite the slopes being off limits for the time being, people can still head up to the resort this weekend. The gondola will be in operation to take people from the parking lot up to Happy Valley.
“There are restaurants, you can pick up your pass, you can pick up your seasonal rentals. Our new 60th Anniversary merchandise will be there and we have the big Black Friday sale,” Ballingall points out.
“So there’s lots of things going on. There’s just not enough snow.”
Sun Peaks was the first Thompson-Okanagan resort out of the gates, It opened some of its runs and lifts last weekend.
Silverstar Mountain Resort is scheduled to open its Nordic runs November 24 and it’s Alpine on November 30. The scheduled first day at Apex Mountain Resort is Dec. 9, while Mount Baldy is set to its season Dec. 15.