Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)

Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Health advisories against non-essential travel have prompted Big White Ski Resort to cancel more than $7.3 million in accommodation and lift ticket reservations since November.

That number, current as of Jan. 21, doesn’t take into account lost opportunities for other revenue departments on the mountain, such as lessons, food services, equipment rental, retail and events, nor the financial impact on the other businesses that operate on the mountain.

“As challenging as it has been, we know that we are doing the right thing to bend the curve. And this has been confirmed by many of our local season pass holders and those who wish to visit but cancelled on their own,” said Peter Plimmer, president and CEO of Big White Ski Resort.

Hundreds of people have reached out to the resort expressing disappointment with the decision to cancel reservations for those who don’t live nearby, which has been the case since early December. Plimmer said the subject is “not debatable” given provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s clear message to avoid non-essential travel, even if it means a substantial financial hit for the resort.

“It will always snow at Big White, and eventually, COVID-19 will be gone. But, while it’s here, our focus is day-to-day.”

On Jan. 21, 2020, the resort’s occupancy was at 87.5 per cent. On the same day this year, the resort saw just 14.7 per cent occupancy. Mid-week skier visits are down by 84 per cent, classes by 96 per cent, and other businesses are down more than 80 per cent.

Adding to these struggles, Big White has been the location of a COVID-19 cluster, with more than 200 cases identified. Health officials said the spread on the mountain has not been easy to control.

“It’s difficult for us to control because it’s mostly in younger people living and working on the hill. There are some other cases as well, but that’s probably the bulk of it,” said Interior Health’s chief medical health officer Albert de Villiers on Jan. 20.

“We’re trying to keep up with it. If everybody follows the rules, and everybody does what they’re supposed to be doing, we should be able to control it. But it’s not an easy one.”

READ MORE: 28 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

READ MORE: COVID-19 moving out of southern Interior and into the north: IH

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nootka Sound RCMP responded to a workplace fatality report south of Gold River on Monday morning. (Campbell River Mirror photo)
One dead in accident at Western Forest Product’s TFL 19 logging site in Gold River

The RCMP and Work Safe BC are investigating the incident

North Island Gazette file photo of Port Hardy council
Council discusses Highland Manor sale

Port Hardy council debates what approach to take to Highland Manor after sale.

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Civic Centre in Port Hardy needs funding to be fully operational during a power outage. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Civic Centre needs 10 grand to be fully operational during a power outage

Staff “will be creative in where they get the money to pay for this and they’ll let us know.”

Premier John Horgan met with the ‘Namgis First Nation in 2017 at their Big House on Cormorant Island to discuss issues regarding aquaculture. (North Island Gazette file photo)
‘Namgis First Nation partners with the Province of B.C.

The next step in the Gwa’ni Project will be community and stakeholder consultation in spring 2021.

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

B.C. has now vaccinated more people from COVID-19 than total confirmed cases

B.C. has reached a milestone, vaccinating roughly 1.6% of its population from the coronavirus

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect who smashed the window of an adult toy store and made off with more than $1,200 in merchandise. (File photo)
Vancouver Island sex shop out $1,200 in merchandise after suspect steals ‘colossal’ product

Suspect smashed window of Nanaimo store, cutting himself in the process

Riverside Calvary Church in Walnut Grove. (Langley Advance Times file)
B.C. is ‘stereotyping’ churches as riskier for COVID than other spaces, lawyer argues

Judge said that freedom of expression, religion are not at issue in the case

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell gets acquainted with Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird’s 10-month-old daughter Sophia, husband Steve and four-year-old Amy at the B.C. legislature before a ceremony to endorse the Tsawwassen Treaty, Oct. 15, 2007. (Sharon Tiffin/Black Press)
Indigenous consent comes first and last for B.C. industrial projects

Environment minister can still approve permits without consent

B.C.’s court of appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Kootenay man appeals 7-year conviction for New Year’s Eve kidnapping, beating

Brandon Coons, 27, was convicted on five charges, including assault with a weapon

Ladysmith’s famous Festival of Lights decorations are still up as of March 1, 2021. (Cole Schisler photo)
PHOTOS: It’s still looking a lot like Christmas in Ladysmith

Festival of Lights volunteers cannot remove the holiday roof top displays due to COVID-19

An investigation is underway after two VPD officers were recorded posing for pictures near a dead body at Third Beach on Feb. 24. (Screen grab/Zachary Ratcliff)
Vancouver officers placed on desk duty after filmed posing next to dead body

Pair put in ‘non-deployable, admin positions’ as the investigation into their conduct continues

(Black Press file photo)
Homicide team to look into death of 11-year-old Agassiz boy

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Most Read