It’s still 20 days until Big White Resort opens for the season, however, some are getting a little too eager.
Trespassers have been sneaking onto the resort to enjoy the powder, something the resort is hailing as ‘extremely dangerous’.
Although they couldn’t give details, resort Senior Vice President, Michael Ballingall confirmed Nov. 5 an individual or individuals sneaked onto the resort last weekend.
“It’s incredibly dangerous,” he said, adding that ‘everybody gets excited’, but that ‘mother nature is in charge’ when there isn’t enough snow on the ground.
This isn’t the first time this year the resort has dealt with trespassers.
“There have been some broken snowboards already this year, there’s been a few minor accidents,” said Ballingall. “We understand the excitement, but we also have seen the injuries.”
In the past, serious injuries have resulted from people sneaking onto the resort before the season begins. There have been some trespassers needing a technical rescue by the fire department and first aid attendants.
“We had a significant back injury last year, the young man is still recovering,” said Ballingall.
Furthermore, as there’s no easy access to some areas on the resort when it’s not up and running, according to Ballingall, which puts everyone at risk.
“First-aiders have to trudge through the environment to get to someone to render first aid. It puts everybody’s life in jeopardy,” he said, adding, “We do everything we can to keep people off the mountain, but people break the rules, they go out there and they get hurt.”
The resort was graced with early season snowfall in October. However, Ballingall explained that snowcat drivers, when grooming the mountain, aren’t expecting to see snowboarders or skiers when they come over a hill.
Besides the possibility of a life-threatening injury, sneaking onto the resort could be season-ending. Anyone caught trespassing will have their season’s pass revoked.
Ballingall stressed he understands the excitement of seeing the first snowfall, adding he was a kid once too. He said this excitement is evident in neighbourhoods as children build snowmen and toboggan down local hills. However he said on the mountain, it’s a different story.
“Up in the mountains, mother nature is in control there. Until we deem the slope safe to be on, it’s not safe to be on. And we can only attest to history, and history shows that people get hurt.”
Looking forward, with rain currently falling on the mountain, Ballingall said he’s praying for snow.
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