President and CEO of Big White Ski Resort Ltd., Peter Plimmer, officially opens the resort’s newest lift, the Powder 2.0 Quad Chair. photo: contributed

Big White opens new chair lift

The Powder 2.0 Quad Chair is now open

Big White Ski Resort’s new, $4 million Powder 2.0 Quad Chair started spinning Friday morning – bringing hundreds of skiers and boarders to 13 fresh runs within the first hour of operation.

“Exams can wait,” said Marcos Aviña, a Kelowna-based student and one of 12 people to win a ride up on one of the first chairs.

He and three friends nabbed the second chair up and took Corkscrew, a blue run, back down to the base of the chair.

Big White hosted an official opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. 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,” said Michael J. Ballingal, 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.”

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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.

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.

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“It had an unfortunate unload spot. Skiers had to climb a hill to get to the west side of the mountain,” Hopkinson said. 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,” Hopkinson said.

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.

The old Powder Chair, which would have turned 40 in 2019, has found a new home at another ski resort in B.C.

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