February 12, 2016 12:17 pm

One area of the economy that’s booming? B.C. ski slopes

Whistler Blackcomb is enjoying a banner season thanks to lots of snow and a lower dollar.

Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images
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A combination of ample snow this season and a low currency is setting off a boom of sorts on British Columbia’s renowned ski slopes. Just ask the owners of Whistler Blackcomb.

Customers are flocking in record numbers to Whistler, with visits to the mountain made by those within driving distance up a sharp 33 per cent this season compared to last, the ski resort operator said this week.

Destination visits meanwhile – defined as customers who flew in from the U.S., Canada or elsewhere – are tracking 21 per cent higher.

“This marks the highest season-to-date visitation level in the company’s history,” industry experts at Scotiabank said.

A significantly better snowfall this season has helped. More than 500 centimetres of snow have fallen on Whistler, or more than 200 more than what the mountain saw last season or the one before that (293cm in 2015, and 186cm in 2014).

MORE: Low loonie no ‘game changer’ for U.S. tourists who see Canada as boring

But the dollar is clearly drawing in both regional visitors south of the border, as well as skiers further away, experts say.

On top of more U.S. or foreign customers, B.C.’s ski operators (as well as those elsewhere in Canada) are also benefitting from more Canadians headed for domestic locations this season, where prices haven’t been affected by the loonie’s tumble.

“The weaker Canadian dollar makes [Whistler] more compelling for destination visitors and should help drive higher skier visits,” analysts at RBC said.

MORE: Latest coverage — the plunging loonie

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