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

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

The Barriere Outdoor Club’s ski and snowshoe trails at the Barriere Forks Trails had plenty of snow last week, and thanks to the club’s groomer, Steve Rainer, the trails were reported to be in great shape (Mary MacLennan photo)
Outdoor ski and snowshoe trails ready at Barriere Forks

New signs and freshly groomed ski and snowshoe trails are ready and… Continue reading

(Metro Creative graphic)
Heart Stroke takes Heart Month fundraiser 100% online

Door-to-door Canvass goes virtual as pandemic accelerates digital innovations

Table 1: All Student Completion Rates 2012-2013 to 2019-2020
Completion rates for SD73 students continue to improve

By Diana Skolund School District 73 Completion rates for students in School… Continue reading

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Most Read