A Jumbo Problem

image

A proposed mega-resort targeted for Jumbo Glacier in the Purcell Mountains just east of where I live has been a war zone for over twenty years. October 6th, 2014 marks a deadline that will spell victory for one of two factions: Environmentalists, First Nations, wildlife managers and self-propelled recreationists; or government-backed developers and their ambitious plans for a four-season European-style ski resort in the middle of British Columbia wilderness.

This would be, if the entire plan comes to fruition, by far the largest ski resort in North America. Presently lacking financial backing because of the giant scope and quite preposterous logistics, the proponents (Jumbo Glacier Resort, Inc.) must break ground this summer or forfeit environmental permits that are too costly to repeat. A ghost jurisdiction established at the proposed village site has gone as far as seating a mayor who currently presides over zero residents, yet this municipality receives $200k annually from provincial taxpayers. The majority of these citizens are against the resort. Nearly 6,000 beds would be built in what is now one of the most remote and scenic valleys in southern British Columbia.

Backcountry skiers in the East Kootenays especially are uniting against this initiative because Jumbo is their one and only relatively easily accessed powder stash. Meanwhile, a pervasive sentiment among mainstream skiers is “I’m against it, but I’d probably ski there.”

Most call it a huge error in judgement and foresight and a waste of taxpayers’ money. A select but persuasive few however, see it as a massive opportunity.

I went in there a couple of weeks ago to test the slopes for an upcoming article in the Mountain Life Annual coming out in July. Here are a few images from that trip where we scored mid-winter conditions in the final days of April:

image

image
Special thanks to Chad Sayers, Bren MacKenzie, Brett Eyben, Dave Quinn, Pat Morrow, Grant Costello, Leslie Anthony, Andrew Findlay

image

image

 

Posted on 05/28 at 09:15 PM | Comments