Big White’s newest lift, the Powder 2.0 Quad Chair, now open
“Exams can wait,” says Marcos Aviña, a Kelowna-based student and one of 12 people to win a ride up on one of the first chairs, and subsequently, get first tracks. He and three friends nabbed the second chair up and took Corkscrew, a blue run, back down to the base of the chair. “It was so nice; untouched. A beautiful day. We have so much energy!”
Big White hosted an official opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:00 am on Friday at the base of the new chair. The first 50 guests in line received Limited Edition Big White souvenir pins.
“Riding with four people on the chair is so much more fun than three,” says Michael J. Ballingall, Senior Vice President of Big White Ski Resort Ltd. “Everything we do at Big White is about creating an atmosphere for a customer’s friends and family to have a good time when they’re on the mountain.”
With 137 chairs, moving 5.2 feet per second, the four-passenger fixed grip Leitner Poma lift will increase upload capacity to 2,400 passengers per hour – that’s 600 more than its predecessor. This means more skiers and snowboarders can get to more runs, more quickly – including our newest black diamond run, The General, which is not yet open. The name for the new lift-line run was inspired by Big White’s own Director and Vice President of Outdoor Operations, Jeremy Hopkinson. Read more about The General’s origin story, here.
Hopkinson, who has worked at Big White for 44 years, says the alignment of the old Powder Chair was always good, it just needed a slight tweak. “It had an unfortunate unload spot. Skiers had to climb a hill to get to the west side of the mountain,” he explains. Another awkward part was that the lift line didn’t have ski-under clearance, meaning it could never be a legitimate run. “The lift line, at the time the old chair was put in, was almost the best fall line off the Powder Chair.”
Now, with ski-under clearance, skiers and boarders can officially enjoy the lift-line run, a similar run to Flagpole – steep and narrow, with beautiful glades on either side.
Celebrations will continue on Saturday from 8:45 am to 10:30 am at the bottom of the lift with FREE hot chocolate, giveaways, music and more souvenir pins. The resort also opened the Alpine T-bar Friday morning, as well as 19 more runs – bringing the total run count to 72 out of 119.
The old Powder Chair, which would have turned 40 in 2019, has found a new home at another ski resort in B.C.