Record Breaking Pace For Big White
He won't give exact projections, but Big White's Senior Vice President Michael J. Ballingall says this season should be record breaking. "We are on the same pace as the snow depth...up 121 percent or something like that." "We are having our most successful year in our history."
The addition of flights to the Okanagan and Canada is having a definite impact on the number this year. Ballingall points to increased numbers from Australia and New Zealand because a non-stop flight to Canada was added by Air Canada. "Big White, Silverstar, Sun Peaks, Revelstoke, they all did well off of that flight." Non-stop service from Toronto has helped, and the addition of more flights from Alberta.
While Ballingall says tourism numbers are also up from California, the Eastern US, Washington State and Hawaii, Vancouver has become a trouble spot. "That is 100 percent due to the reliability of the Coquihalla highway." "That is the lifeblood for tourism into the Interior and with snow comes all the problems with the highway: accidents, road closures, avalanches, snow clearing, it's snowing and mom doesn't want to drive." "All those different scenarios come into the picture so the more reliable we can make that highway the better it is for everyone that's in the winter tourism business."
While we wait for the end of season numbers to come in(2nd weekend in April is final weekend to ski), Big White already can say some records have fallen. Ballingall says the hill already broke attendance records for Christmas, Family Day, Australian visits in January, and looks to have a big American presence this weekend for President's Week and the upcoming Spring Break.