Okanagan ski hills describe overnight snowfall as ‘fluffy, perfect’

Skiing conditions at Big White Ski Resort on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. Andrew Jay / Big White Ski Resort

A dump of snow has brought joy to ski hills throughout the Okanagan.

The amount of overnight varied, with Big White Ski Resort reporting 16 cm, SilverStar Mountain Resort recording 12 cm and Apex Mountain Resort announcing 9 cm.

However, the resorts say in many areas of their mountains, the snowfall was double that.

“Not just last night, Within the past 24-36 hours, we’ve had between 20-25 cm,” said Apex Mountain Resort general manager James Shalman.

“I was just out with ski patrol and it is way better than we thought it would be.”

Conditions at Big White Ski Resort on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. Andrew Jay / Big White Ski Resort

Some areas, he said, have received more than 30 cm, which is allowing the resort to open its double-black diamond runs — trails that require a lot of snow for people to ski or snowboard down.

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“It’s light, fluffy, the perfect snow you dream about,” said Shalman.

At Big White, resort vice-president Michael J. Ballingall said some areas also received double the 16 cm of overnight snow they were reporting on Tuesday morning.

“On a flat plot, like we have at the bottom of the Cliff, it’s 16 cm (of new snow). But if you look into (a nearby gulley), that was waist-deep on the snowboard. That would be double, maybe 30-40 cm.”

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Ballingall said while the local ski season may have started slower than normal, “bet on Big White, bet on the Okanagan, bet on B.C. We always seem to come through.”

Andrew Jay / Big White Ski Resort

He noted that when Whistler-Blackcomb gets 40-50 cm of new snow a couple of nights in a row, “the world knows about that news. That’s a good thing for British Columbia.”

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Ian Jenkins of SilverStar Mountain Resort said they’ve received 68 cm of snow during the past week, “which has gotten us over the slow start.”

“Up at the top of the mountain, there’s a lot of snow; it’s just at the bottom of the lifts where we were struggling at the beginning. Now we’re getting snow down to the valley and it’s shaping up quite nicely.

“It’s a Tuesday and lots of smiling faces today in the lift lines. I think some of the people got the powder flu this morning.”

SilverStar Mountain Resort

  • Snowbase depth: 131 cm
  • 12-hour snowfall total: 12 cm
  • 24-hour snowfall total: 14 cm
  • Seven-day snowfall total: 68 cm

Big White Ski Resort

  • Snowbase depth: 130 cm
  • 12-hour snowfall total: 14 cm
  • 24-hour snowfall total: 16 cm
  • Seven-day snowfall total: 46 cm

Apex Mountain Resort

  • Snowbase depth: 80 cm
  • 12-hour snowfall total: 9 cm
  • 24-hour snowfall total: 19 cm
  • Seven-day snowfall total: 35 cm

Baldy Mountain Resort

  • Snowbase depth: 97 cm
  • 24-hour snowfall total: 17 cm
  • 48-hour snowfall total: 22 cm
  • Seven-day snowfall total: 20 cm
Click to play video: 'Global Okanagan Weather: January 8, 2024'
Global Okanagan Weather: January 8, 2024

Interestingly, while conditions at local hills weren’t superb before Monday’s snowfall, they weren’t bad either.

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However, compared to last winter’s early start and fantastic snowfalls, unfair comparisons are bound to happen.

“Conditions weren’t as good this season as last season, which is what everybody has in their recent memory for skiing and snowboarding,” said Shalman.

“In B.C., last year was absolutely epic. We’ve had a slower start, but conditions are still good, especially all throughout the Okanagan. We’ve all had good conditions, just not amazing conditions that we’re used to.

“But the recent snowfalls over the last week-and-a-half have really added to it and have brought us up to that level that people expect. And there are some more storm cycles that are in the near-distant future within the next week or so.”

Said Ballingall: “I know that people were skipping work this morning because the Gem Lake parking lot is half-full. And those are locals taking the day off to ski.”


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