November 09, 2015 - 1:21 PM
CENTRAL OKANAGAN - Big White is opening two weeks early, the first time in 14 years the ski resort has begun operations this early in the season.
“This is early. This is not usual. Mother Nature has given us a gift and we’re giving it back to the locals,” Michael J. Ballingall, Big White’s booster-in-chief, declared today. He says the opening was prompted by a 30-centimetre dump of snow over the weekend.
The Ridge Rocket and Gondola will open at 8:45 a.m. Friday Nov. 13 with just a handful of green runs — Highway 33, Serwa’s Easy Out and Easy Street — available for skiing. The planned opening date had been Nov. 26.
Ballingall said tickets for that first taste of skiing or snowboarding are 50 per cent off.
“I can tell you there will be a lot of people skipping school on Friday morning,” he said.
Early season conditions means skiers need to avoid tree and terrain skiing.
“It’s okay if you have 150 to 200 centimetre base but when it’s 50 to 70 you want to stay on the runs,” Ballingall said.
Last time Big White opened early was before Halloween in 2001 and Ballingall says staff are working extra time to ensure mountain services are open for Friday.
“They are on panic stations up there like you’ve never seen before. But the family policy has always been if there’s snow on the ground, we open, so they knew this could happen,” he said.
Ballingall said there is some risk that a warm spell could shut the mountain back down, but he's prepared for that too.
“It’s happened before but that’s just the way it goes,” he said. “Meanwhile, it’s supernatural B.C. Get out there and suck in that fresh air.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015