‘Busier than Christmas’: Family Day provides boost to Big White in Okanagan

Click to play video: 'Family Day crowds return to Big White'
Family Day crowds return to Big White
Today marks the 10th anniversary of Family Day here in B.C., and with many enjoying a day off, Big White Ski Resort saw some of its biggest crowds of the season. As Jayden Wasney reports, that's providing an economic boost for more than just the resort. – Feb 20, 2023

After more than 30 centimetres of snow fell at Big White Ski Resort on Sunday night, many powder enthusiasts spent their Family Day cruising down the slopes.

“It can’t get much better than this,” described skier Keegan Bossence.

“Almost a foot of ‘freshy’ on top today, so we’re loving this.”

For some, travelling to the Okanagan and spending this statutory holiday with loved ones at Big White has become a tradition.

“Oh man, it’s such a good vibe,” said snowboarder Matteo Torres.

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“I do this every Family Day weekend, I come here with my friends and family, and do a good three days here at Big White.”

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For the past two years, Family Day weekend has looked a little different up at Big White. COVID-19 restrictions and mass flooding across B.C. in 2021 put a damper on travel plans for those from out-of-town, meaning there were less tourists and smaller crowds overall, but this year, things are finally back to normal.

“This will be our busiest 10 days of the season,” explained Big White senior vice president, Michael J. Ballingall.

“It’s busier than Christmas and New Year’s, and it’s really a marketer’s dream. There’s a lot of happy, happy people here today.”

According to Ballingall, the busy weekend isn’t just providing a boost to the economy up at the resort, it’s also having a positive impact on the Central Okanagan as a whole.

“We’ve been full for about a month and a half here on the mountain, so we started to fill up a lot of the hotels and Airbnb down in the valley,” he said.

“There’s a lot of people here at the resort for the first time from Vancouver and Washington state, and it really puts a smile on our face because we haven’t seen a lot of those tourists here for two or three years.”

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The alpine snow base at Big White is currently sitting at 245 cm, with an addition three to six centimetres of snow expected to fall on Monday night.

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