Big White cancels out of town ski reservations as COVID-19 cluster grows

Dec 18 2020, 5:35 pm

Big White Ski Resort has cancelled reservations for guests who reside outside the Central Okanagan as a cluster of COVID-19 infections linked to the mountain grows.

Skiers and boarders who don’t live near the mountain that’s just outside of Kelowna, BC will have to wait until the public health recommendation against non-essential travel expires on January 8.

The mountain is encouraging only season pass holders and locals to visit the resort until January 9, in keeping with public health advice. The mountain has reached out to all guests whose addresses indicate they live out of town to offer a full refund for their reservation or an opportunity to re-book later.

“Though the decisions we’ve made have financial consequences and disappointed many families who were looking to enjoy the holidays at Big White Ski Resort, we have no doubt that it was the right decision,” Big White’s president and CEO Peter Plimmer said in a news release. “We care profoundly about our employees, our local community, and about doing the right thing.”

Interior Health has so far identified 76 cases of COVID-19 linked to the mountain. Many of them sprouted from illegal social gatherings, and crowded housing on the mountain has only hastened virus transmission.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has previously instructed British Columbians to ski at their local hills while these public health measures are in effect. For residents of Metro Vancouver, that means Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour are allowed.

Whistler appears to be honouring reservations from individuals outside the Sea to Sky region, including out of province visitors.

Daily Hive has reached out to the mountain for comment.