The following article was contributed by Walt Judas, VP of Marketing Communications and Member Services at Tourism Vancouver.
I learned to snowboard at Big White 16 years ago. I vaguely recall spending a morning with an excellent instructor before venturing out on my own to test my newfound skills. I was motivated to learn snowboarding so that I could teach my three young children to board, something they had been begging me to do.
Being from Vancouver we had easy access to both Cypress and Grouse Mountain to spend all our spare time on the slopes. Grouse’s Y2 Play Pass became a must-have for our family for several years, allowing us to become proficient at snowboarding and enjoying hours of quality time together.
Fast-forward to today where two of my kids now live in Kelowna and consider Big White their home base for boarding. Not one to miss an opportunity for spring skiing and a quick visit, we hit the slopes at Big White this past weekend where a fresh dump of snow was a welcome sight to people visiting from all over B.C., Alberta, Washington State and elsewhere who likely heeded the call of Michael J’s radio commercials espousing the wonderful champagne powder of the Thompson Okanagan.
Admittedly, my old body can’t handle snowboarding very well any more so I’ve reverted back to skiing but have yet to invest in new gear. Fortunately, Big White is wonderfully set-up for rentals in the heart of the village, virtually next to a couple of chairs (Ridge Rocket & Bullet Express) that whisk you to one of dozens of exceptional runs.
A friend of mine recommended I see Lindsay Bennett who runs a first-rate ski shop called Dizzy’s. Lindsay kindly got me set up with Big White’s rental shop where the likes of Steven, Chilli, Sam, Tristan and Simon looked after me with the expertise and efficiency I was hoping for.
Before long I was blazing a trail on the fresh snow, madly trying to catch my kids whose snowboarding prowess makes me a proud teacher (with a little help from the instructors at Grouse). Although it was snowing with low clouds and a stiff wind near the top, I couldn’t help but marvel how awesome Big White is with seemingly endless terrain, fast chairlifts, great conditions and terrific staff.
As part of the Tourism Vancouver team, I’m a huge proponent of our local mountains such as Grouse and Cypress and very much enjoy any time I get to take some turns on our North Shore terrain. However, hearing Michael J. Ballingall’s voice on the radio first thing this morning, I couldn’t help but dream of the next time I have an opportunity for some family time with my Kelowna kids at Big White.