Zip lines, alpine coaster, winter camping in Big White’s big plans for expansion | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Zip lines, alpine coaster, winter camping in Big White’s big plans for expansion

FILE PHOTO - Big White Ski Resort
Image Credit:
January 02, 2021 - 7:30 AM

Big White has big plans for the future, including a massive expansion of housing, ski lifts, ski terrain and other all-season offerings including ziplines, winter “glamping” opportunities and an alpine coaster.

Over the next 60 years, the ski resort eventually wants to develop up to 37 lifts, 329 ski trails, massively increase the hectares of ski terrain available and bring the maximum number of bed units up to 20,000, in addition to doubling the size of recreational offerings to turn the resort into an all-season destination over the next 60 years. It also anticipates a zip line, 18-hole golf course, an alpine coaster, an adventure park, water park, RV park, theatre, an indoor ice skating rink, winter camping options, a conference and health centre and other wellness facilities.

Currently, the resort has 15 lifts, 108 ski trails and 607 hectares of ski terrain, with 10,500-bed units, according to a report posted on the provincial website. However, Big White Ski Resort's website says there are 16 lifts, including the gondola and 119 runs.

Big White Ski Resort recently submitted a draft resort master plan update to the province which includes details for the resort’s expansion over the next 60 years. Public feedback on the document will be accepted until Feb. 26

“The overarching objective is to continue to establish distinctive facilities, attractions, and amenities that are unique to Big White,” according to the draft.

The proposed expansion of Big White Ski Resort.
The proposed expansion of Big White Ski Resort.
Image Credit: Big White Ski Resort Master Plan

The resort currently has the potential to develop 860 hectares of additional ski terrain and 390 hectares of gladed terrain (skiing on woods trails), meaning that Big White’s skiable terrain could reach 1,600 ha, according to the plan.

If developed, Big White Ski Resort could support more than 26,000 skiers a day at buildout, according to the report.

The proposed expansion areas are grouped into the East Peak, Gem Lake, Gem West and the Ridge/Happy Valley Extensions locations.

Although the exact layout remains to be determined, Big White also intends to incorporate a series of all-season zip lines into its base areas, according to the plan.

The first line would be built in association with the tube park. A larger system would be established using the Black Forest Express as the primary access.

All-season backcountry camping would be located to the south of the first 18-hole golf course and would be accessible by snowmobile, backcountry skiing, and a multi-purpose trail network.

In addition to the backcountry camping, a camping facility offering yurts and a ‘glamping’ experience, would be staged just below the bottom terminal of the Powder Chairlift, according to the report.

Mountain biking will be the resort's primary summer attraction and expansion of the trails include a cross-country mountain bike trail network.

The resort is also looking to increase its snowmaking operation which is currently limited to the terrain park.

The new plan proposes the potential for snowmaking at all the East Peak’s south-facing exposures, the lower elevations of the Gem Lake ski runs, and the ski runs returning to the Ridge Valley Base to ensure that the resort will open for early ski season, by the last week of November.

It would use roughly 125 million gallons of water per year, according to the resort’s plan.

The resort also aims to expand its trail network around the mountain, so guests can travel through the resort without having to rely on cars.

The trail system is envisioned as a combination of gravel and paved trails that connect residential areas, the Village Core, parking areas, recreation hub, and trail zones. It will act as the primary access trail linking all areas of the Resort.

To view the proposed master plan for yourself and to provide feedback visit the province’s website.

- This article was updated Jan. 2 at 2 p.m. to clarify lift numbers, runs and the camping proposal.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 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.

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