Unique West Kootenay all-season resort proposal breaks from tradition | Penticton News | iNFOnews

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Unique West Kootenay all-season resort proposal breaks from tradition

Image Credit: PEXELS / Flo Maderebner
May 27, 2020 - 6:30 AM

First steps in the development of a unique mountain resort that blends the convenience of a typical winter mountain resort with accessibility to undeveloped backcountry are underway in the West Kootenays.

The project, backed by the founder of Valhalla Pure Outfitters, is described as “a blend of lift-serviced recreation typical of traditional mountain resorts with an extensive and accessible backcountry.”

They call it Zincton, after a small mining area west of Kaslo and east of New Denver in the West Kootenays that burned down years ago.

An Expression of Interest, the first of a three-step approval process, was forwarded to the the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development earlier this month.

The new all-season resort development is located in an area known as London and Whitewater Ridge, according to the executive summary.

The resort would cover an area of approximately 5,500 ha and includes the summit of Whitewater Mountain at 2,768 metres.

The proposed Zincton study area limits between New Denver and Kaslo.
The proposed Zincton study area limits between New Denver and Kaslo.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Brent Harley Associates

The proposal calls for an all-season back country-oriented mountain destination and a pedestrian-access only, environmentally sustainable mountain village just north of Highway 31A, 8 km east of New Denver and 38 km west of Kaslo.

The resort envisions access to 4,500 ha of backcountry terrain through a small network of lifts and by self-propelled travel, with no traditional ski runs planned. Amenities would include the mountain village, located on private property above the community of Three Forks and a remote backcountry lodge capable of accommodating 12 to 24 guests at a time.

No ski runs in the traditional sense are planned, opting instead for nature-oriented trails and gliding networks.

The mountain village would be off limits to vehicle traffic with vehicle access limited to the periphery of the village. Cabins would make up the majority of accommodations for both guests and employees, with no large scale developments in the form of hotels or condominiums.

Summer uses would include low-density hiking and mountain bike trail networks relying on natural course layouts.

A series of old rail trails between Zincton and Retallack, Sandon, New Denver and Slocan Lake also offers riding and walking experiences suitable to all skill levels.

Zincton proponent David Hartley is founder and president of Valhalla Pure Outfitters. He has 40 years experience in the region and sees significant recreation potential for the area, according to the expression of interest.

Research indicates backcountry skiing to be a growing market and the proposal is seen as an opportunity to capitalize on a perceived market shift away from the traditional winter resort experience.

Comments on the proposal should be directed to MountainResortsBranch@gov.bc.ca.

Zincton gets its name from a former prodigious lead-zinc silver mine that operated in the area for decades. The remains of the mine and nearby mining camp were destroyed by fire in 1983.

Zincton is around five hours' drive from Kamloops and 4.5 hours from Kelowna.


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