British Columbia

Whistler-Blackcomb surviving on artificial snow

Whistler-Blackcomb has half as much natural snowpack as it usually does this time of year, but it's staying open thanks to artificial snow.

250 snow guns are keeping the resort in business

Whistler making snow for Christmas

8 years ago
The B.C. ski resort is still hoping for more real snow to fall 2:26

Whistler-Blackcomb's 250 snow guns are running around the clock to prepare for the holiday break, but locals are still crossing their fingers for a major snow fall.

Despite the lack of natural snow, Whistler hasn't felt the economic impact the North Shore mountains are experiencing.

For all of the complaints about snow, business hasn't really suffered, said Louise Walker of Tourism Whistler.

"We are actually seeing a lot of advance bookings this year and we're seeing a return in our destination visitors," she said. "If we look at the pace of our bookings, we're actually double digits over last year."

Christmas season is an important time of year for ski resorts, but mountain manager Doug MacFarlane said locals are making the best of it.

"It's definitely not the worst. We've opened with less [snow] and managed to stay open through Christmas with less, but it's not the best," he said.

The base on Whistler mountain is roughly half of what it was this time last year. As of Thursday morning, the resort has 6,500 out of 8,000 acres of terrain open. Business owners, skiers and boarders alike are wishing for snow.

"I'm hoping we get a big Christmas present," said MacFarlane.

Snow a possibility

Cold temperatures tonight and tomorrow could give way to snowfall across Vancouver, just in time for Friday morning's commute, says CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe.

After northwesterly gusts of over 57 km/h this morning in Vancouver, temperatures are already dropping across the province. By tonight, Vancouver will get down to -3 C, with colder temperatures toward the Fraser Valley.

Skies are mainly blue today, with just a few isolated pockets of ice pellets, but an approaching warm front tomorrow night will make for an overcast Thursday afternoon.

As the moisture moves in Thursday night, it may start off as a couple cm of snow for Vancouver, before changing over to rain Friday. Some areas could see 2 cm to 5 cm, meaning winter driving conditions Friday morning.

Temperatures will begin to warm up Friday afternoon, back to seasonal, but with a moist westerly flow keeping the showers in all weekend.

Cold temperatures tonight and tomorrow could give way to snowfall across Vancouver just in time for Friday's commute, says CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe. (CBC)


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