iN PHOTOS: Shoot your friends for fun on this former West Kelowna ski hill | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?

Current Conditions Light Rain  16.3°C

Kelowna News

iN PHOTOS: Shoot your friends for fun on this former West Kelowna ski hill

Airlift Kelowna has been running for years as part of the Joe Rich Sportsman’s Association. Now Bull Mountain in West Kelowna is starting up its own competitions.
Image Credit: Submitted/Dan Shemley

Don Journeay has been struggling for years to keep Bull Mountain (formerly Crystal Mountain) alive in West Kelowna.

Now he’s launching Airsoft competitions, starting this weekend, to bring more action to the hill and some much needed revenue.

“We’ve looked at all sorts of things up here and this seemed to be a really good fit for the off season,” Journeay told “It’s low impact. We have stunning views. People get lots of exercise running around and it’s essentially not a dangerous sport.”

Image Credit: Submitted/Dan Shemley

That last comment comes despite the fact that Airsoft is, essentially, a war game where teams roam around a course shooting each other with plastic pellets.

Many ski hills have mountain bike courses set up for summer visitors but those can lead to some serious crashes so liability insurance is expensive, Journeay said.

With Airsoft, while the pellets do sting, participants need to wear face masks.

Image Credit: Submitted/Dan Shemley

“You can tell you’ve been hit because, trust me, you will feel it,” Dan Shemley, who first started playing more than 20 years ago, told “It feels kind of like a pinch. Or you feel it hit your gear and you go: ‘I’m dead.’”

Shemley is secretary of Airsoft Kelowna which has been operating as part of the Joe Rich Sportsman’s Association since about 2018 and, he said, it is the largest and longest standing such club in the Okanagan.

Image Credit: Submitted/Dan Shemley

In some ways Airsoft is similar to paintball, but is more tactical and without the sticky, stinky paint that, Shemley said, "takes forever to clean.”

Because there are no visible marks from a hit, the game relies heavily on the honour system.

Image Credit: Submitted/Dan Shemley

It originated in Japan in the 1970s and is credited to Ichiro Nagata who invented a soft air gun. Firearms were banned there so the guns were designed not to kill anyone.

Over time, they evolved into accurate replicas of real guns.

Airsoft Kelowna operates on two courses on the Sportsman’s club property at 13620 Highway 33 East, near the southeast end of Joe Rich.

Image Credit: Submitted/Dan Shemley

Games are held every three weeks during the winter and every second Saturday in the summer, including this coming Saturday, June 3. For more information go here.

Journeay has ambitious plans to launch with three to four courses that can accommodate up to 60 people between them (about 30 people go out to the Joe Rich event).

He’s starting at two days a week but hopes there’s enough interest to run seven days a week.

Bull Mountain is at the end of Glenrosa Road near the northwest end of West Kelowna. For more information, go here.

Image Credit: Submitted/Dan Shemley

Journeay has leased the land he renamed Bull Mountain since 2019. The hill closed permanently after a tragic chair lift crash in 2014.

READ MORE: West Kelowna's Crystal Mountain to reopen this winter under new name, new management

Over the past few winters he’s built skating rinks, had snowshoeing and snowboarding areas but no operating lift.

“We’re just trying to survive at this point,” Journeay said. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2023

  • Popular penticton News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile