It’s the day Central Okanagan skiers and snowboarders have been waiting patiently.
And that wait is almost over, with Big White Ski Resort about to open on Friday morning, weather permitting.
Resort Vice President Michael J. Ballingall told Global News that the following elevators will be open at 8:45 am: Laura’s Gondola, High Speed Bullet Quad Chair, and Plaza Chair.
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“Limited skiing, limited number of runs, early season conditions,” Ballingall said.
“Staying in the races that we have prepared is the message that we are transmitting to all those people excited to come to the mountain.”
Ballingall said that of the mountain’s 118 slopes, skiers and snowboarders can expect only a handful of slopes to be open this weekend.
“Most season pass holders are very well informed that early season conditions are something only really enthusiastic people will be interested in,” Ballingall said. “Most people will wait until more elevators open.”
Still, he said “it’s a start. With the amount of new team members we have, the start of the season is a great workout. And we want to make sure we are ready for the holiday season. “
In particular, Ballingall said the complex may need a variety of employees. For more information on employment, visit Big White website.
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In the northern Okanagan, SilverStar Mountain Resort near Vernon has an opening date of Friday, December 3.
Chantelle Deacon, SilverStar media relations manager, said the complex has seen quite a bit of snow this fall.
“We are doing quite well,” Deacon told Global News. “We are on par with previous seasons and hope to open on time with a decent snow base.”
SilverStar currently has a 75cm base and the resort is expected to open at 100cm. The complex has 132 marked tracks, with 50 tracks normally available on opening day.
While SilverStar’s alpine opening is a week away, the resort’s cross-country ski trails open this Friday, November 26.
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In the southern Okanagan, Apex Mountain Resort near Penticton is scheduled to open on Saturday, December 11.
Community General Manager James Shalman says the complex has a lot of steep terrain so a lot of snow is needed before it opens.
“We really want to make sure that when we open, we provide a very safe skiing experience for people,” Shalman said, adding that Apex has the ability to snow from top to bottom.
Shalman also said freestyle moguls teams from around the world have already come to Apex to start training due to the resort’s snowmaking capabilities.
When Apex opens, Shalman hopes to have most, if not all, of the resort’s 80 tracks available. However, he said that will depend on the weather and the amount of snow between now and then.
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“I’m definitely looking forward to[opening day],” Shalman said. “There are always challenges – we and every other ski resort in British Columbia have the same problem, and staffing is a real problem.
“We are trying to get creative with it. but other than that, we’re going to go back to full-capacity freight elevators. “
Shalman said masks will be mandatory on all lift lines and on all elevators. Plus, after a year-long hiatus, the singles lines are on the mend.
“We anticipate that things will move quite well this year,” Shalman said.
“We had fantastic snowfall at the beginning of the season. The atmospheric river pushed us back a bit, but it consolidated the foundation to create a fantastic snowpack and things to come. “
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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