The history of Big White Ski Resort dates to 1963 when the hill opened with a day lodge and the longest T-bar in Canada. Nowadays, the only thing remaining from those early years is the excellent terrain.
Construction Boom in Big White
A construction boom in the last decade has dramatically added to the mid-mountain village that began taking shape in the 1970s. Some of those early chalets with their characteristic cedar siding construction remain in the Snow Pine area and the first hotel has been renovated and now hosts the Urban Retreat Hostel. This area looks decidedly different from the craftsman style of the late 1990s and early 2000s and the Asian flavour of the most recent development.
Improved Access to Ski Terrain
Over the decades lift capacity has steadily increased with double, triple, quad and six-pack chairs – each successive generation augmenting or replacing earlier facilities – alleviating congestion as traffic increased. The newest addition is the Snowghost Express, the bright yellow people-mover that connects the Village Centre with Happy Valley.
New terrain has also been added at regular intervals. When the Westridge area, serviced by the Gem Lake Express and favoured by local skiers, opened in 1996, it increased terrain by 60%. In 2004, the addition of the Cliff Chair opened powder bowls on the mountain summit. And the TELUS Park terrain park has added a whole new dimension for boarders.
Big White's Australian Connection
Desmond Schumann bought the property in 1986. The Schumann family, which owned a resort in Australia, has taken a totally hands-on approach and three generations are currently involved with the operation. It was their vision to create a family-friendly ski-in/ski-out resort and to continually expand the destination. And it is their Australian connection that has led to the strong Australian presence among the staff that gives Big White such a young, energetic and friendly feel.
In 2002, Schumann Resorts Inc. purchased Silver Star Mountain Resort in nearby Vernon, giving visitors the option of a completely different skiing or boarding experience as part of the Big White package.