West Kelowna  

Vandals strike Crystal Mtn.

While Crystal Mountain may appear down and out, operators claim it will be back in operation following this coming winter. 

Vandals have recently hit the Westside ski hill, smashing windows and painting graffiti at the lodge.

The building appears to be abandoned, and swastikas are spray painted on an open door. It's not known whether squatters have been camping in the building, but almost every window on the front facade of the lodge is smashed.

Despite its appearance, Zrinko Amerl, general manager of the resort, says they will be boarding up the windows and readying the resort for a 2017 opening.

“Right now we are in final negotiations with an investment group in Europe and the plan is to open it up in 2017 and then expand from there,” Amerl said. “Eventually build a golf course up there and housing units.”

Crystal Mountain Resort has been closed ever since a chairlift on the mountain crashed in March 2014, injuring four people.

In March 2016, three lawsuits were filed against the resort, stemming from the crash.

They were filed by two ski patrollers and a ski hill guest, who all claim significant personal injuries as a result of the incident.

All three plaintiffs sued for unspecified compensation and alleged Crystal Mountain was negligent in ensuring their safety. The resort denied those claims.

Amerl, who was hired as a general manager of the resort in November 2015, says he does not know if those suits were settled.

“That is all behind us now. It's not relevant to anything that we do anymore,” he said. “To be honest with you, I don't know what was done ... I don't know.”

A B.C. Safety Authority report said a cable from the chairlift came loose, sending three chairs careening into a tower before crashing to the ground.

It issued seven recommendations, including development of a Passenger Ropeway Mechanic Certification Program in B.C.

It lifted Crystal Mountain’s operating permit, and the mountain has remained closed since.

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