Big White and Silver Star sever ties

The Okanagan's two biggest ski mountains will no longer function as one.

Big White and Silver Star have "severed their ties," said Michael J. Ballingall, senior vice president of Big White.

"They're acting as independent companies right now."

Ballingall was tight lipped on what  prompted the split, saying it was for "personal family reasons."

"There's nothing untoward here," he said. "The presidents remain the same —they're brother and sister—and everybody is going to go about their business … the two teams will still work closely."

Internally, the change will mean smoother operations, in terms of diminished paperwork.

Kelowna residents should only notice that  dual mountain passes are off the table.

In the months to come, however, the change may take another form. Ballingall said he  expects to see each distinct product to start delving deeper into its own personality.

Silver Star will be hiring a marketing and sales a team  to work in and out of the valley to meet that aim, while Big White continues on in the way it has in the past.

Ultimately, however, there may be more the same than different in days to come.

"We share the airport, and there are synergies that take place," said Ballingall, noting that a number of Interior resorts market their products together.

The man credited with bringing  Big White and Silver Star together died last April.

Desmond Robert Schumann bought Big White in 1985 and in 2001 bought Silver Star Mountain Resort near Vernon where the association had its head office.

They had been less than successful before Schumann's intervention, and his vision has been said to have turned things around.

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