Ski area in southeastern British Columbia, about 75 kilometres to the South and East of Kelowna.

  • Vertical drop: 2,500 feet / 777 metres
  • Skiable terrain: 2,200 acres
  • Annual snowfall: 300 inches/10 metres
  • Lifts: 1 high-speed gondola (a pretty damn short one, though), 5 high-speed quads, 1 triple chairlift, 1 or 2 double chairlifts, 1 t-bar, a few surface lifts for beginners
  • Big White is a fairly good-sized ski hill - the second largest in British Columbia, in fact (after Whistler/Blackcomb). Unfortunately, much of this impressive size goes toward making the mountain very sprawled-out and broad. It takes about three lift rides and much time spent skiing boring cat-track runs (by far the worst of these being the aptly-named "Ogo Slow") to traverse Big White's seven or eight kilometre breadth.

    Other than that, the area had some decent terrain - there were some nice glades throughout (the mountain on the whole was pretty open), and a series steep, wide double-diamonds that dropped into a small valley. Of course, all of these had a fairly heavy cost in traversing. I guess I'm glad I wasn't snowboarding.

    The area does have a reputation for getting its share dry, fluffy interior-style powder; thanks in part to a sizeable lake nearby that helps produce snow clouds (the resort's advertising department refers to this somewhat played-up phenomenon as "lake effect snow"). While there was not a great deal of snowpack when I was at Big White (the whole northwest was terrible as far as snow conditions that winter), it did snow a fair amount in windy, blizzard-like flurries (flurries that have earnt it a nickname "Big Whiteout"). However, once the snow was on the ground it was indeed nice and fluffy, and would have made for some great face shots had there been a few more inches.

    All in all, Big White was a pretty decent ski area, but I wouldn't say it was especially phenomenal; and I don't have especially burning will to return for the time being. But if you live in the southern British Columbia, I'd check the mountain out. It's well worth skiing.

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