Big White receives grant for return of on-mountain bus service

Big White shuttle bus back

While Big White Ski Resort continues to wait for snow, they got some good news Tuesday morning.

"It seems I've only been sending out bad news regarding the snow/opening the resort over the last few weeks... this morning I can tell you the good news regarding our free on-mountain shuttle bus," said resort senior vice president Michael J. Ballingall.

The board of the Tourism Big White Society learned early Tuesday that its $65,000 provincial grant application for a community shuttle has been approved by the Economic Trust of the Southern Interior and B.C. government.

"There were a lot of people involved in this application who worked tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of our community to ensure that this vital link for our residents, staff, families, friends and resort guests was in place for this ski and snowboard season," says Ballingall.

The shuttle will run seven days a week, starting Dec. 16, between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. until the end of the ski season.

Big White used to provide a shuttle service before the COVID-19 pandemic but it was shut down and sold off. Ballingall says the shuttle was sorely missed by mountain residents and they lobbied hard to bring it back.

"The regional district district gave us some money last year, and then we passed the hat around to all the restaurants and the accommodators and we got enough money to run it during holidays and weekends. So this year we applied and this morning, they told us we got it," Ballingall says.

The service will continue to be provided by Sagebrush Tours.

"I would like to personally thank the members of the board of the Tourism Big White Society who lent their voice to this application, members of the accommodation and restaurant community who are financially contributing to the budget to operate this free service," Ballingall continued.

"Finally a great big thank you to the government of British Columbia employees who assisted with and advised on the application process."

As for opening day, Ballingall says the lack of snow means things are "not looking good."

The ski hill was originally supposed to open on Nov. 23, but it has since been delayed multiple times to Dec. 7 due to lack of snow.

"We need that snow that's scheduled for tomorrow. And if we get it, we'll go Thursday, but we won't make a decision on it until probably late Wednesday afternoon."

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