By Carolyn Grant
Kimberley Daily Bulletin
Reaction to Tuesday’s Jumbo announcement has been mixed — entities such as the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce applaud it, while groups like the environmental organization Wildsight deplore it — but what about the ski industry itself?
David Lynn, president and CEO of the Canada West Ski Areas Association, says it’s really a mixed feeling in the industry.
“I think everyone can empathize with the developer and how long the process has dragged on,” Lynn said. “Making a decision one way or the other was the right thing to do. On principle, the industry supports a free market. But our concern is with excess capacity.
“In terms of destination resorts, resorts that attract tourists themselves, which have accommodation on mountain, there are 13 in the province of British Columbia. There is significant excess capacity and I think some people at these resorts would question increasing that capacity.”
Lynn says Canada West encourages free enterprise and encourages people who dream of creating new resorts, especially if they are new and unique products like year round glacier skiing.
“But from a capacity point of view, there is certainly no shortage.”
Lynn says time will tell if the more is better philosophy holds true — if a Jumbo resort could attract skiers new to the province, this area in particular.
“It depends how unique the new offering is,” he said. “Glacier based, year round skiing is unique, but there is a huge amount of capital required to build out. It will depend on the extent it happens. I guess it’s the build it and they will come thing, but it remains to be proven.
“We have so much to offer now, from Whistler to Red Mountain to Silver Star to Sun Peaks to Revelstoke and Kicking Horse, which were both just built out in the last 10 years, Panorama, Kimberley, Fernie — there are so many existing amazing ski experiences. It’s more difficult to argue that one more resort makes the province a significantly better ski destination.”
The CWSAA’s mission is to support the interests of its members, and the Western Canadian ski industry in general. For more information on the association, see www.cwsaa.org