Big White's water is some of the best in the world!

Posted On: July 24, 2018 |
Rhonda Lake Summer

If you’re shopping for groceries before coming up to Big White Ski Resort, here’s a hot tip: don’t buy any bottled water.

You might think that it’s a good idea to stock up on clean water before you get here. But what many people don’t realise is that Big White’s tap water is some of the cleanest and freshest available in the world – just as good as what you’d find in any supermarket.

Our water comes directly from Rhonda Lake, the lake that’s tucked right in to the base of the Cliff.  It’s 6,600 feet above sea level and holds about 75 million gallons of fresh, clean mountain water.

Water from Rhonda Lake is sent all the way down the mountain to arrive at the Water Treatment plant, a big red building which sits on the run “Highway 33”.  Once at the plant, the water goes through a filtration system which immediately removes any suspended solids.

At the end of the process, the product is comparable to bottled water. In fact, recent tests done on Big White’s water found that it was cleaner than the distilled water that can be purchased in local supermarkets.

Last summer, the resort invested in treatment for Lake Paul, a lake located at the base of the Powder Chair. This development will finish tying the lake into the water system, creating another 60 million gallons of useable fresh water for the residents of Big White Ski Resort. This addition will ensure that the water supply grows along with the resort population.

Lake Paul Summer
Lake Paul at the base of the Powder Chair. 

Maurice Valcourt is the Vice President of Utilities at Big White Ski Resort. 35 years ago, he started working as a millwright mechanic on the lift system at the resort. After studying water treatment at school, he was hired to manage the water on the hill.

Maurice knows everything there is to know about water – and he knows that Big White’s water is some of the best in the world.

“It’s very low on mineral content, it doesn’t have any carcinogenics in it, it doesn’t have organics in it,” he explains. “Compared to other communities, we don’t deal with fluctuating turbidity in our water from developing areas, we don’t have any logging or mining or any range livestock, so it’s protected from natural contaminants. It’s also protected from natural contamination in the winter by solid ice and snow pack.”  

It also helps that Big White water has a rapid distribution time. If you’re here at Christmas time, when the Village is full of people, it takes about seven hours for water to get from the lake to your drinking glass. If you’re here during the rest of the season, it’s an average of about 14 hours’ time flow. This means that there’s very little stagnant water ever sitting in the system – it’s fresh and clean, all the time.

Even in the summer, when barely anyone is up on the mountain, Maurice runs an extensive weekly flushing program which ensures that all the mains are kept clean and that any sediment is flushed out.

The bottom line is this: Big White has some of the cleanest, freshest water in the world, and it’s set to get even cleaner. Grab that glass of water and drink up!

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