British Columbia

Early snowfall prompts some B.C. ski hills to open sooner than expected

Some ski hills in B.C.'s Interior are starting their season earlier than expected after a warm fall.

Over 100 centimetres fell at Silver Star Mountain Resort this week

Big White Ski Resort is expected to open early this year on Nov. 17. The arrival of snow in recent weeks has led resorts across B.C. to contemplate an early start to the ski season. (

Ski hills in B.C.'s interior are starting their season earlier than expected this year after a sudden flurry of cool temperatures and snow. 

Over 100 centimetres of fresh powder fell on the slopes at Silver Star Mountain Resort and Big White Ski Resort this week — an unexpected surprise after a dry fall.

Michael J. Ballingall, senior vice president of Big White, says they always hope for snow to come early, but this is the first time since 2016 that it's happened. The resort will open for visitors on Nov. 17. 

"With all the new snow that we've had in the last five days, 114 centimetres, it's given us enough snow to open," he said.

Despite the excitement in the air with the arrival of snow, some ski resorts are uneasy about an early start after a year of abnormal weather patterns. 

Watching the weather

Chantelle Deacon, communications manager of Silver Star, spoke to CBC Vancouver from her office overlooking a landscape piled high in white.

"It honestly feels like the middle of winter, and this is a little bit abnormal for us. Usually, in the last few years at least, we haven't seen this much snow this early," she said. 

Silver Star is opening some trails on Nov. 12 but is waiting to decide when to open others. They worry that the abnormal weather patterns this year might shift away from winter conditions ideal for alpine skiing. 

"We went from green grass up here to over 100 centimetres of snow," Deacon said. "If Mother Nature keeps giving us this great weather and these cooler temperatures, then the likelihood of us opening [the alpine trails] early is very high." 

Ski resorts in B.C. are hoping for a strong winter season but are apprehensive after months of irregular weather patterns in the province. (Marc-Antoine Mageau/Radio-Canada)

Below-freezing temperatures are forecast to persist through the week. No snow is predicted over the next few days, according to Environment Canada.

Frigid outlook for some

Matt Mosteller, senior vice president of Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, told Radio West that Fernie Alpine Resort is still waiting for equipment to arrive by its planned opening day on Dec. 3. 

"We want to thank everybody for doing their snow dance," said Mosteller, "All the skiers and riders are really excited about getting out and sliding in that tradition of mountain time together."

Deacon at Silver Star says they have enough staff to open the season early but might restrict the number of working lifts if there's an early start to their alpine season.

"It will be a little bit challenging because we aren't expecting [all the Silver Star staff] to arrive … until a week or two before the opening date. So we're going to have to work a little harder to make sure people are trained up and ready to go."


Arrthy Thayaparan is an associate producer at CBC Vancouver. She's interested in health, environment, and community stories. You can contact her at

Files from Radio West


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