Fairmont and Wapiti ski areas secure futures
Fairmont Hot Springs and Elkford’s Wapiti Ski Area now have more secure futures, thanks to renewed operating agreements with the province.
The operating agreements for Fairmont Hot Springs Ski Area and Wapiti Ski Area last for 30 years each, and help support the long-term viability of these areas for the continued benefit of winter recreation and tourism in B.C.’s Kootenay communities.
The ministry’s Mountain Resorts Branch facilitated master plan updates and review processes for the two ski areas, and the new operating agreements were reached in spring 2015.
The branch works with partners to provide timely decisions for community ski areas and mountain resorts, and co-ordinates environmental assessments for new resort proposals and major resort expansions. It also sets and administers policy for all-seasons resort development and works to contribute significantly to support recreation, tourism and jobs, a Dec. 17 Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations press release noted.
Small ski areas are excellent venues for community sport, education and events throughout the province every year, and host thousands of children and families annually through school and club programs in which local residents learn and participate in downhill and cross-country skiing, and snowboarding.
Also, all levels of amateur winter sport competitions are held at community ski areas, where athletes and coaches acquire skills and train for events like the BC Winter Games and Canada Winter Games. In 2008, the BC Winter Games were hosted by the nearby East Kootenay communities of Kimberley and Cranbrook.
B.C.’s 46 ski areas generate approximately $548 million in total revenues for the provincial economy, and ski-area visitors spend an estimated $878 million.
Direct employment at B.C.’s ski areas includes 7,169 full- and part-time workers, another 1,978 jobs in supplier industries and 442 jobs resulting from spending by ski-area workers.
Lead image: Fairmont Hot Springs Ski Area. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW photos