Mother Nature continues to be uncooperative at local ski resorts.
Wednesday morning, Big White once again pushed back its opening day after significant rain fell on the hill overnight. Big White Vice President Michael J. Ballingall said the forecast had called for the precipitation to fall as snow, but it came as rain instead.
“If it was two degrees colder, we'd be having unbelievable skiing right now. Like, it would have been in the feet,” Ballingall said. “It rained quite high up the mountain. But it's been snowing on the Cliff, it's been snowing up on the top.”
The resort was initially scheduled to open on Nov. 23, but that date has been repeatedly pushed back due to lack of snow. With the overnight rain, the mountain lost about four centimetres of base, which now sits at 50 cm. Ballingall says they're targeting a 70 cm base for the lifts to start to spinning.
Rather than set a new opening date, Big White is now on 24-hour standby, which means they'll open with 24 hours notice as soon as the snow arrives.
“We're not messing with Mother Nature anymore, she's unpredictable,” Ballingall said. “There hasn't been one forecast that's been accurate yet.”
Ballingall says the latest opening day he's seen in his lengthy career at Big White was Dec. 8, 2008. And while this year looks like it'll be even later than that, Ballingall notes that while 2008 had a late start, the total snowfall that year was one of the best they'd ever seen.
“It'll come, it always does,” he said. “It is what it is, there's nothing we can do about it but it will snow again.”
Wednesday morning, some snow is falling at the resort, but puddles remain in the village.
Temperatures are expected to continue dropping over the next few days, and Ballingall says that will hopefully allow them to reopen the skating rink.
The Big Reds wine festival will be running at the resort this weekend as well.