On Tuesday the B.C. Government approved the Jumbo Glacier Alpine Ski Resort development proposal after more than two decades of controversy over the project. The proposed year round glacier based ski resort would be located in the Purcell Mountains on the Jumbo and surrounding glaciers in the East Kootenays, B.C. Development plans for the resort on over 5,900 hectares of land include:

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Controversial Jumbo Glacier Ski Resort Approved by B.C. after 20 yrs of Debate | East Kootenays

Jumbo Glacier Resort

Aerial view Jumbo Glacier Resort location (image: Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Plan)

On Tuesday the B.C. Government approved the Jumbo Glacier Alpine Ski Resort development proposal after more than two decades of controversy over the project.

The proposed year round glacier based ski resort would be located in the Purcell Mountains on the Jumbo and surrounding glaciers in the East Kootenays. Development plans for the resort on over 5,900 hectares of pristine land include:

  • A network of 23 chairlifts crisscrossing 4 glaciers
  • A 3,000 meter high gondola
  • Over 6,000 bed units including 1,300 private residences and
  • A ski village complete with shopping, dining & recreation
Area relief map (image: Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Plan)

Area relief map (image: Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Plan)

The master plan for the resort boasts potential for vertical drops of up to 1,650 m and 1,800 m (5,415 ft. and 5,900 ft.) from the Jumbo and Commander Glaciers. That would be the longest lift access vertical in North America.

During the summer months the resort would continue to provide 520 m (1,700 ft.) of skiable terrain on the Glacier Dome and Mt. Monica area and 760 m (2,500 ft.) on the Jumbo and Commander Glaciers. On the Farnham Glacier the summer vertical would be on the order of 500 m (1,640 ft.)

arrow on Jumbo Glacier Resort

Arial photo Jumbo Glacier Resort Location (image: Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Plan)

Plans for the project have been evolving for over 20 years. The proponent group recognized a shortfall of year round international destination ski resorts in North America and in 1989 initiated a study to evaluate the possibility of an international caliber ski resort. In 1993 B.C. Premier Mike Harcourt and Minister Glen Clark signed an interim agreement that began the serious study of Jumbo Glacier as a potential location for the resort. During the ensuing decades, controversy and conflict have surrounded the project in the East Kootenays.

The Sinixt and Ktunaxa First Nations along with many other Kootenay residents have strongly opposed the project on environmental and cultural grounds. Several Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and organizations including the Sierra Club and the David Suzuki Foundation have also opposed the development.

The project developers have undergone extensive study and planning in accordance with the B.C. Environmental Assessment Act. For a complete report on the project proposal check out the Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Plan here.

Commander Glacier (image: Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Plan)

Commander Glacier (image: Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Plan)

Opposition groups site numerous concerns about the potential impact to wildlife and other ecological factors. High on the list is the preservation of the Purcell Grizzly population.

Opposition groups also question the necessity of the development, noting that there are already 13 existing ski resorts within a 3 hour drive of the proposed project. Heli-skiing and ski touring groups also already operate in the Jumbo Glacier area. The development will be comparable in size to that of Silver Star in Vernon, B.C. About 1/10th that of Whistler Blackcomb.

Farnham Glacier in Winter

Farnham Glacier, used by Canadian National Ski Teams for Summer training (image: Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Plan)

One disagreement of interest includes the opposing views on how climate change may impact the resort. Proponents of the project argue that Climate Change will affect the B.C. microclimate and ski industry with rising temperatures and snow elevations inhibiting snowmaking and ski operations at many existing resorts, making higher elevation resorts such as the Jumbo Glacier Resort essential to maintaining a healthy ski and tourism industry in the region.

The $1-billion project is estimated to draw tourist dollars and create 750 permanent jobs in the Jumbo Glacier area.

Project dissenters on the other hand argue that the glaciers are retreating and will be gone within 40 years, making the concept of a year round ski resort a short sited vision for the area. Opponents of the resort also make the claim that the project does not yet have financing, but the developers are still talking about having the resort up and running by 2014.

Sawmill Site from Glacier Dome Jumbo Ski Resort

(Image: Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Plan)

For additional information on the Jumbo Glacier Resort check out these links:

 

17 comments
  • Funky

    With over 6 resorts within an hour and a half drive…. is there a need to ruin this place? Plus I’d like to see stats on the 750 permanent jobs.

  • tai

    why don’t we do something about climate change instead of building ski areas on glaciers? if we don’t do anything and build a ski resort there, like they said, the ski resort will have no snow in another 40 yrs.

    • really?

      Why does everyone pretend to hate this? Would you have been opposed to putting ski lifts up a mountain 70 years ago?

      • Chip

        This approval is fucking horseshit and a slap in the face to the vast majority of locals and the Ktunaxa who oppose it, all those fighting to protect the grizzly habitat/migratory route here and local resorts who are already struggling to attract sufficient numbers of visitors to expand to full potential/masterplan aims, KHMR being one – http://www.e-know.ca/view/opposition-will-become-galvanized/.. Fuck you BC Liberals..

      • Chip

        That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard anyone say in a long time – well done. People thought smoking was good for you 70 years ago.. Wake the fuck up moron..

  • DC

    “In 1993 B.C. Premier Mike Harcourt and Minister Glen Clark signed an interim agreement that began the serious study of Jumbo Glacier”

    Canadian bureaucracy eh?

  • Patty

    Whistler is already a year round destination. Is that not enough? don’t bring the gapers to the kootenays

  • beerwolf

    govt approval doesnt mean shit if the first nations arent on board, just ask Al Raine how Cayoosh resort is doing.

  • Josh

    How could any skier/snowboarder be against this? This is a year round resort offering more vertical terrain than Squaw in the SUMMER, highest vertical in North America in the winter. This is terrain that 99% of people could only dream of getting to the top of using their own strength.. especially in the winter, and now it’s only a gondola ride away! Insane amount of skiable acres over 4 glaciers with a village 1/13th the size of Whistler, talk about small lift lines and endless pow lines. As far as the environmental impacts are concerned, this seems pretty good to me:

    “The project has been approved under the Environmental Assessment Act of the Province of B.C. It has undergone the most comprehensive environmental assessment process for a project of its kind in the history of the Province. Comprehensive environmental management plans have been developed and included as part of the approved Master Plan. Today’s technology, skills, experience and vision make it possible to plan a resort with minimal impact on the environment. The EA Office concluded that the project is “in the broad public interest.”

    Is no one else as stoked as I am to ride here!?

    • Chip

      How could a skier/snowboarder be against this?.. Er, for one, amongst a few other reasons, because snowboarding isn’t the only thing I care about.. duh..

  • cale

    Environmental people are dumb what the fuck dose a planet that’s over 100 million years old care about getting a bit polluted throughout a tiny blip which is humanity put the fucking ski hill there and in another billion years when everything is dead it will be turned to dust.

    Dont think that your not just as selfish for wanting the earth to be a miniscule amount less congested just so people can live a few hundred years longer over somone who just wants to have fun.

    It’s all relative people.

    • Chip

      Environmentalists (that’s the name we call them) are the ones that are dumb??.. I finding it hard to knock your long-term thinking given the short-term thinking shown by this decision but you just beat ‘really’ to first place for the dumbest thing I’ve heard recently.. 1000 points

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