Ski season is still two weeks away but Big White Ski Resort is getting some booming business early this year.
Once again, Hallmark movie productions will be using the Okanagan backdrop for a new movie set to air in 2020. Hallmark was at the popular resort last fall where they filmed A Winter Princess which will air in two months.
The early and big business will be a good way for Big White to ease into the anticipated season when slopes open Nov. 28.
“This is obviously great pre-season business to have,” said Trevor Hanna, vice president of hospitality at Big White.
“It’s helping orient our staff in a way that we couldn’t do without real customers before the resort officially opens. We get the opportunity to host guests, and practice before we open to the world, and economically, it’s been a boom.”
Hallmark has been shooting commercials and feature films at Big White for the past two seasons. It’s new film, Alice in Winterland, will premiere during Hallmark’s 2020 Winterfest line-up.
The Okanagan Film Commission said that fall and winter filming in the Okanagan are great for business as they help make up for the slow summer season which is often negatively impacted by forest fires.
Film commissioner Jon Summerland said that business has bounced back this year with the Okanagan being booked for two full features and three commercials, as well as Hallmark’s productions, all before the new year.
“When a show is looking for something specific like snow in November, there are only a few places that they can go in B.C. and Big White is a no-brainer,” said Summerland.
He said that while the Okanagan region is stunning, that’s not the only reason film crews are drawn there.
“Yes, we are beautiful. Yes, our lighting is amazing. Yes we have four seasons and we can match various international locations (like) Northern California, Mexico or Italy. But, what makes the area such an attractive place to film is our people. We are helpful. We are open to filming. We are skilled.”
Hanna said that the pre-season business has also helped local restaurants see an influx of guests as the rest of the on-mountain services prepare for what’s sure to be a busy season at Big White.
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