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Kelowna  

Ski hills pan holiday move

Reaction comes swift and heavy from the ski industry to Friday's announcement that B.C. is moving its Family Day long weekend to fall in line with the rest of the country.

Michael J. Ballingall, vice-president of Big White Ski Resort east of Kelowna, said he's disappointed.

"There are only so many seats on planes and beds at local resorts and hotels," he said.

"We've spent a lot of money to invite Americans to come to B.C. on their long weekend. Now, that will be the same weekend when our hotels and resorts are already full ... This will just displace 11,000 visitors who will have nowhere to stay."

Currently, B.C.'s Family Day is a week ahead of other provinces' long weekends and the Presidents' Day holiday in the United States.

"The logic was British Columbians had their pick of long weekends, and the tourism industry had the benefit of two fully booked weekends," said Ballingall.

Apex Mountain general manager James Shalman echoed Ballingall's sentiments completely.

“We were already fully-booked with the two weekends. There's only so much inventory, so now what we are doing is turning people away," Shalman said "We don't want that, and would like to spread things out."

As to Premier John Horgan's assertion the change will make it easier for families to visit from out of province, Ballingall disagrees.

"Really, they've just made it harder," he said. "The flights are already full, and people don't like to drive as much in the winter.

"I don't agree with this, and neither does the ski industry."



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