Big White Ski Resort, or simply Big White, is a ski resort located southeast of Kelowna, in the British Columbia interior. It is the second largest resort in British Columbia after Whistler-Blackcomb, making it one of the larger resorts in North America. Big White is the sister resort of Silver Star Mountain Resort.
The mountain summit is at with a vertical drop of , serviced by 16 lifts. The mountain receives 750 cm of annual snowfall. It has of patrolled area of a total of skiable. With 38 acres of night skiing, Big White has western Canada's largest resort night skiing area. It has a central village which comprises accommodation, eateries, bars and shops. The village is above sea level.
Big White opened in 1963 with two T-bars.
The Ridge Chair (double) opened in the early 70's. The Powder Chair (triple), The Easter Chair (triple), and the Village Chair (triple) opened thereafter. In the mid 80's the Easter Chair was moved to replace the bunny hill t-bar and was renamed the Village chair; the Village Chair became the Summit Chair. The Ridge Rocket Express (quad) replaced the double chair in 1989 and the Bullet Express replaced the Summit and Village chairs in 1991. The Alpine T-Bar was moved to its present location and extended around this time as well. The Falcon Chair, which was in fact the old Ridge Chair, opened up the west side of the hill in the mid-1990s. The Gem Lake Express (quad), which doubled the skiable era, opened around 2000. The Snow Ghost Express (six person), which is adjacent to the Ridge Rocket, ended annoyingly long lineups when in opened in 2006.
Replacement of the Powder Chair and the Alpine T-Bar are likely to come soon.
Big White currently has one 8-passenger high speed gondola, one 6-passenger high speed chair (new for the 06/07 season), four 4-passenger high speed chairs, one 4-passenger "beginner chair", one 3-passenger chair, three 2-passenger chairs (including the telus park chairlift), one T-bar, one children’s and one adult's magic carpet. There are also two tubing lifts. These lifts are capable of transporting 28,000 people per hour uphill.
There is one high-speed detachable 6-seater chair (Snow Ghost Express), three high-speed detachable quad chairs (Ridge Rocket, Bullet, and Black Forest), two two-person chairs (Cliff and Telus Park), and a single T-bar, the Alpine T-bar.
The Ridge Rocket chair has a small lodge at its base, and the base of the Bullet chair is very near the main village. The new 6-seater lift (the Snow Ghost Express) was built for the 2006-2007 season parallel to Ridge Rocket Express to reduce lift lines.
Gem Lake is located on the western side of Big White and is served by a the Gem Lake high-speed detachable quad chair. The Falcon and Powder Chairs, two and three person lifts respectively, are nearby,. The Gem Lake lift is often more windy than the east side lifts, but offers the largest single-lift vertical drop at the hill at 710 m. It has a small lodge and parking lot at its base; the base of the Gem Lake Express is quite distant from the Village area. Traditionally tourists tend to ski more on the east side while locals from Kelowna and other nearby towns will ski Gem Lake more than tourists. Gem Lake is built with more experienced (black diamond) runs and is not recommended for beginner skiiers/riders.
A new activity in 2006-2007 season is the Sno-Limo, a sort of a cross between a dog sled and a lazy-boy chair on skis.
The resort also hosts a number of family aimed events (Big White was awarded North America's best family resort in 2003 by The Good Skiing and Boarding Guide 2003) such as carnival nights and Tim Hortons's Cruise the Blues.
A shopping bus is available and takes riders to Orchard Park shopping mall in Kelowna for the day.
On Jan 6, 2008, Leigh Barnier, an Australian skier, was killed by an avalanche while skiing on an open, in bounds run. Barnier was an employee at the time; however, he was not on shift.
Winner of numerous Ski Canada awards including:
Okanagan Life Magazine
The Good Skiing and Boarding Guide 2003