Okanagan ski resort officials displeased with Family Day roll-out

From one peak of the Okanagan to the other, resort officials have raised concerns

If one thing was made abundantly clear this Family Day weekend, the provincial government’s decision to align B.C.’s holiday with the rest of the province is not well-loved by those running ski resorts.

From one peak of the Okanagan to the other, resort officials have raised concerns about the way it was going to roll out and they felt validated Tuesday once the powder had settled.

“I haven’t done my comparison from this BC Family Day to previous ones, but I know it was incredibly busy this weekend,” said James Shalman, general manager, of Apex Resort.

READ ALSO: FRESH POWDER SCHOOL

Apex, the resort closest to Penticton, did a 50 per cent ticket sale for the Monday of the holiday to allow more people to ski affordably, but Shalman isn’t sure they’d go that route again.

The traffic was already too intense.

Over at Silver Star, near Vernon, the sentiment was the same. They also went ahead with a 50 per cent discount on the holiday Monday in an effort to “support family day,” and Chantelle Deacon said the resort ran at capacity this weekend. The old Family Day weekend, however, was less stellar.

READ ALSO: BIG WHITE LOOKS TO TOP 2018

“Before we had two holiday weekends, B.C.’s holiday weekend and Alberta’s Family Day and President’s Day,” Deacon said. “Having everything in one weekend … it doesn’t make up for the loss (on the other weekend.)”

Michael J. Ballingall, senior vice-president of Big White Ski Resort, said it was damaging to more than just resorts.

More than half of Big White accomodation was booked by Americans and the rest by out-of-province visitors, not giving the residents of B.C. a chance to stay at the resort for their long-weekend.

“All they did was move B.C. to a day that is busier than New Year’s Eve or Christmas on the mountain,” said Ballingall.

READ ALSO: EYEING UP RESORT HOMES

“People are used to doing this on Family Day long-weekend, now it’s moved for the first time. On top of that, the biggest problem this year is people from B.C., who started (calling) in late November, December and January to book, we couldn’t accommodate them. There’s no room.”

Ballingall said before the weekend was over they knew the resort lost between $700,000 to $800,000 from the holiday being moved.

“The big deal is that it worked really well when the days were separated from a resort perspective,” said Ballingall. “People were able to travel within province and enjoy a non-stressful Family Day long-weekend.”

B.C. Premier John Horgan called the decision the right thing to do for businesses, small and large, and for families who may be spread out across the country.

“This gives families an opportunity to schedule and spend more time with loved ones from other provinces,” Horgan said.

Tourism Kelowna supported B.C. Family Day staying on the second Monday of February as it created economic benefits for local tourism businesses.

“The staggered holidays gave tourism businesses an additional opportunity to increase visitation and generate revenue,” said a representative of the organization.

“As a result of this change, Kelowna and local tourism businesses will now compete with other destinations for visitors during this weekend.

“We will factor this change into future destination marketing plans to increase overnight visitation to Kelowna and area.”

The push to have the dates changed was influenced by several fronts. The finance industry complained about Family Day occurring when the Toronto Stock Exchange was open, then working the following Monday when the market is closed. As well, federal employees in B.C. don’t get the day off.

The United B.C. Family Day petition initially launched in 2015 boasted 20,000 signatures as of last year, and was publicly supported by Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. The switch also had the support of the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaNewsKat
kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Slocan Valley to be ‘lit up’ with high-speed internet in 12 months

125 kilometres of fibre-optic cable to be laid from Nakusp to Playmore Junction

Police bust drug operation in Castlegar

Man charged, will go to court in August

Vigil re-affirms belief in peace, acceptance in wake of New Zealand massacre

Nearly 100 show up for solemn event at Mir Centre for Peace

RED resort announces new ski lift

Topping lift will add new ski area to resort, reduce bottleneck on Motherload chair

Update: Bodies recovered from Pend d’Oreille River crash

To help support the family, a fundraiser has been set up at Kootenay Savings in Fruitvale

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Most Read