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Increase in bookings for Big White Ski Resort with opening of Coquihalla highway

A long line of skiers and snowboarders wait to get on the bullet express chairlift on opening day at the Big White Ski Resort on Friday. Contributed

Bookings at the Big White Ski Resort have been increasing since the province announced the re-opening of the Coquihalla highway to the general public Wednesday.

Read more: ‘Welcome, just drive slow’: B.C.’s storm-ravaged Coquihalla Highway reopens to the public

The resort’s senior vice president says the closure and COVID-19 restrictions resulted in a downturn in peak holiday season business.

“Vancouver is our biggest market and when the highway and the floods happened, such a disaster to happen for the province and people just couldn’t get here. Nothing was moving”, explains Michael Ballingall.

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Ballingall says things are looking up for the resort with the phones ringing off the hook and Family day weekend around the corner.

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“Bookings are going very well. The future for Big White Ski Resort for Spring and for Summer and for all of the Okanagan is looking very positive if everyone still plays by the rules.”

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Ballingall says that customers are telling him the news of the highway opening is relieving a lot of anxiety when it comes to travel between Vancouver and the Okanagan.

Read more: Some B.C. ski resorts to require proof of vaccination

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“It just gives our customers an option to drive on two highways. We have had so many emails of people that are now able to come back and forth and that are just relieved. It just relieves a lot of stress.”

With the opening of the highway and things looking up for Spring Break, Ballingall says he is confident things will be back to normal soon.

“It’s hundreds of thousands of dollars of bookings from our biggest market. We just hope everything keeps going in the right direction.”

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