‘We had 5.4 million rides on our lifts’: Big White Ski Resort looks back on busy season
Boots were being locked in during these last couple days of the ski season on Friday, as it’s the final weekend before Big White Ski Resort closes for the off-season.
“We are excited that we made it all the way to the end. This is our third season during the pandemic; we had to close on March 16 in 2020,” said Michael Ballingall, Big White Ski Resort’s senior vice-president.
“Last year was a bit up and down, like a rollercoaster. This year didn’t start great but we had the support of the locals and that means everything to us. We had 5.4 million rides on our lifts.”
The past season was not without challenges as there were still hurdles to jump with the ongoing pandemic, according to the resort.
“Our biggest challenge was staffing. We ran Big White Ski Resort on just over 50 per cent of our normal staff base,” said Ballingall.
“What was a surprise for us was the accommodation and food and beverage sector was decimated, but outdoor operations, our groomers drivers, our ski patrol, our lift operators — they ran at about 90 per cent of their normal staff loads.”
Ballingall continued, saying, “We suffered from the supply chain problems as well. We suffered from the lack of air, in and out of the international markets.”
Global News talked to some season pass holders, asking some of their highlights and lowlights of the season.
“Loved skiing Gem and Powder chairs, it was really great over there this season. Got into some park this year, had some unfortunate falls and got a concussion early in the season and was out for a bit, but it didn’t change my mind. Came back out and had a great season,” said Kehan Kleineberg, a Peachland resident.
“It’s been awesome. I think for highlights, just skiing with my friends — we’re from UBC Okanagan and in my first year, so made some friends and came out here,” said Jaiden Webster, a Kelowna resident.
The resort said it’s looking forward to next season already, hoping the final COVID-19 restrictions for air travel are lifted so more avid skiers from across the globe can come and enjoy Okanagan’s champagne powder.
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