B.C. Ski Industry: Great Expansions

 A new resort, expansions and proposed new ski hills: here’s what’s coming down the pipe in B.C.’s expanding ski industry.

The new guy Revelstoke Mountain Resort The idea of expanding the one-lift Powder Springs Ski Area into a world-class resort was at least 20 years old when Toronto investors Hunter Milborne and Robert Powadiuk received the green light from the province in 2004. Developer Don Simpson, principal of Simpson Housing LLP, a Denver-based, US$2-billion-a-year development company, signed on as managing partner in 2005 and pushed the project forward. The ski hill opened in December 2007 with two lifts operating and 25 homesites and two unbuilt condos sold out. By build-out in 2022, $1 billion will have been spent creating a four-season resort with a golf course, 125 ski runs, the longest vertical drop in North America and 16,000 bed units.





The Growers Ski and Ride Smithers Right now the ski hill right above Smithers could be thought of as the hill time forgot – the 100 cabins have no electricity and the three lifts include two T-bars. But plans, which should be approved by spring, call for another 100 cabin lots and at least one more lift to increase the vertical drop.

Crystal Mountain Ski and Golf Resort The owners of Crystal Mountain, members of the Swiss Tschanz family, are planning to turn the small community ski hill into a family-friendly, four-season resort that can take advantage of the Okanagan’s busy summer season as well as its cold winter. Now awaiting final zoning and a community-plan approval, the expansion will begin with an 18-hole golf course and real-estate developments, and then add 12 new ski lifts, mostly on beginner and intermediate terrain.

Mount Baldy Ski Area Mountain Recreation LLP bought Mount Baldy, another Okanagan-area family ski hill, in 2004 and is now beginning development of new lifts and summer facilities to turn it into a four-season destination. To deal with overlapping land claims, Mountain Recreation entered into a partnership with the business-friendly Osoyoos Indian Band for the development. Plans call for building 10 lifts, 128 runs and 7,700 bed units.

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Ken Fowler Enterprises Ltd., part-owner of Earls Restaurants Ltd., Joeys Restaurants and other service-oriented businesses, is still drawing up the master plan for its newest acquisition. Richard Howarth, VP of development for Fairmont, says new condo and real-estate developments will be under construction by spring, and plans for a proposed ski-hill expansion will be finalized.

The wannabes Jumbo Glacier Resort Despite serious opposition from environmentalists and a heli-ski company, the resort master plan for a high-alpine, glacier-focused ski village and four-season resort was approved by the province in July 2007. A master development agreement needs to be signed with the province and then zoning has to be approved for the site about 60 kilometres west of Invermere. Owner Glacier Resorts Ltd. plans to invest $900 million.

Garibaldi at Squamish The proposal for a ski hill on Brohm Ridge, to the west of Squamish, has languished for decades thanks to financial difficulties and legal challenges over ownership. The ambitious project, which includes 24 lifts, is now back on track and is working through the environmental-review process.

Coquihalla Resort B.C.’s newest resort propo-sal, from Alberta-based Westscapes Developments Inc., is for a four-season resort at the Coquihalla Highway pass. Plans call for a ski hill, a golf course and real-estate developments. Westscapes is preparing to apply for an environmental assessment.

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