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

SIMPSON: The role of local government is changing

Mayor Bob Simpson outlines what mandate creep means for Quesnel

Researchers in B.C. say earlier than usual return of bats or dead bats can indicate trouble, such as signs of white-nose syndrome. (Cathy Koot photo)
Public help is essential for monitoring for bat disease

Anyone finding a dead bat is asked to report it to the BC Community Bat Program

In this Nov. 21, 2019 file photo, Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Cybertruck at Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne, Calif. The much-hyped unveil of Tesla’s electric pickup truck went off script Thursday night when supposedly unbreakable window glass shattered twice when hit with a large metal ball. The failed stunt, which ranks high on the list of embarrassing auto industry rollouts, came just after Musk bragged about the strength of “Tesla Armor Glass” on the wedge-shaped “Cybertruck.” (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File)
FOREST INK: Electric vehicles the future, not present of industry

Jim Hilton looks at where electric vehicles need to go

Cassidy Dankochik joined the Observer’s staff in Aug. of 2020 by way of Gimli, Altona, and Flin Flon, Manitoba. (Photo by Tracey Roberts)
EDITOR’S COLUMN: Optimism at council

Cassidy Dankochik enjoyed the news from the City of Quesnel’s most recent meeting

Sandi Griffiths is the region’s new district manager of transportation for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
New MOTI district manager takes the wheel in Williams Lake

Sandi Griffiths replaces Todd Hubner who retired recently

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read