The village of Valemount is going forward on a project to build its own ski hill.
“We’re very, very much in it for the long haul. We’re not getting too, let’s say, FOMO about things,” said Joseph Nusse, president of Valemount Ski Society, using the acronym for “fear of missing out.”
“This is what we’re going to build, and this is our life’s work, and it will happen as it can happen.”
The community’s decision to move forward comes in the face of a prolonged wait for progress on the Valemount Glacier Destination (VGD) project. Originally approved six years ago by the British Columbia government as a $175 million resort, that project has been bogged down with rising construction costs, overall inflationary pressures, and the encumbrance of supply chain obstacles that rose up during the pandemic.
The Valemount Ski Society has been involved in its public consultations from the very beginning, as has the Simpcw First Nation, Nusse said.
Valemount’s proposed resort would be located west of the village in the Premier Range of the Cariboo Mountains. The ski hill development, located on the site of the proposed VGD project, will feature a 300-metre handle tow rope. This design is for a smaller project than the VGD but leaves much room for future expansion.
Nusse said that the first step is to build a bridge across a creek. The four ski runs have already been logged and the intention is for it to be operational by the start of the 2023/24 ski season.
“Valemount has just been seen as the logical expansion point from Jasper since Jasper can’t really expand. Valemount’s the next available spot that has mountains that are equally as impressive and even better snow in terms of skiing; it just hasn’t been developed,” he said.
In an email to the Fitzhugh, Tom Oberti, the vice president of the Pheidias group (the lead planning consultants on the VGD project), said that progress is being made but couldn’t offer much more for a comment.
“We are optimistic and are receiving strong international interest in the project. We look forward to being able to provide more information to the public in the coming months,” he wrote.
He did add that the Pheidias group supports the Valemount community ski hill initiative and appreciates their support of VGD in return.
“They’ve made impressive progress in a short period of time, which is a real testament to their ‘can-do’ spirit and their desire to provide public lift access to some of Valemount’s incredible ski terrain,” he wrote.
Nusse similarly expressed his faith that it’s only a matter of time before VGD comes to fruition.
“At some point, there will be an investment party where the formulas align that will go with it. There is not a rush in terms of cost of construction, or market availability, or anything like that. It’s entirely a technocratic and bureaucratic endeavour,” he said.
By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Apr 04, 2023
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