Last-day rush to buy ski passes fuels Big White webpage, local ski culture appears on the rise – Okanagan

Big White’s online ticketing platform was kaput twice on Sunday night.

It was in the final hours to purchase a season pass with discounted rates, and the resort’s senior vice president Michael Ballingall said the rush in traffic had destroyed the site.

“There were over 200 people per minute trying to buy their pass and it’s just not designed for that,” he said.

People are used to Amazon and other online stores, he said, but “it’s not that” and the high volume of last minute traffic was bound to be an issue.

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“We’ve been doing this since June and the last day was our busiest day,” he said.

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Big White apologized for those who were frustrated and extended the early bird rate.

“We were going to extend it for 24 hours but I thought it will crash again, so let’s go (until Friday),” he said. “We have time on our side and next year we will have brand new software. “

Big White is expected to sell the same number of season passes as last year, but won’t necessarily break records, given the potential continued loss of foreign visitors. This intense last-minute interest, however, will likely reflect another year with a strong local presence on the mountain.

“It’s always been like that,” he says. “We’ve been popular with the locals from the start.

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It is a clientele that they want to satisfy, hence the extension of early bird rates and other rapid adaptations as needed.

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“I’ve been doing this since 1986, and when the beer was too expensive, we lowered the price. When the cordon bleu chicken got too small, we went back to a larger size. Because it is a family business, decisions are made quickly.

Ballingall said mistakes are made, but being the only family mountain still standing in Canada is a point of pride and they make decisions based on market needs accordingly.

“We know that generations of families use this complex. We see three generations in an elevator having fun together, getting the big restaurant table and having a big outing, ”he said.

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For now, however, Ballingall is now focusing on other things, like driving up and down the mountain.

There won’t be an express bus leaving from the city, so he hopes to see carpooling resume this year. Last year, due to the pandemic and lack of vaccines, many people were only climbing the mountain solo. They may be able to expand their bubbles more this year.

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In addition, the rink is open again and this will take away some of the parking space from last year. Hits are also back this year.

While many things are starting to return to normal, the pandemic remains a concern that has made the staffing process more complicated and competitive.

There is also a list of precautions to take when going up the mountain. Skiing, snowboarding and other outdoor activities will not require proof of vaccination, but wearing a mask is still recommended when a physical distance of at least two meters cannot be maintained in an outdoor setting.

Table service restaurants require proof of vaccination for anyone over 12 years of age. Retail services and public washrooms in day lodges also do not require proof of vaccination. Private restaurants in the resort can check proof of vaccination at the gate entrance or at the table.

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Despite all the precautions, skiing remains an escape.

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“The only thing we’ve heard is people saying it’s ‘the only thing we can do that’s normal’,” Ballingall said.

“Once you get to the top of the lift, all you have to do is ski and snowboard. “

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This is probably why the participation rates at the freestyle club, ski club and snowboard club have increased.

“It’s a wonderful story in the way… because of COVID, and you couldn’t go anywhere, a lot of people went back,” Ballingall said.

For those who want to climb the mountain, the Big White Ski Club is hosting the 50th Ski Board and Sport Swap to be held on Friday October 22 and Saturday October 23 at New Life Church at 2041 Harvey Avenue (behind MEC).

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Last year, the swap was canceled due to COVID-19, but it’s back this year, offering pre-owned gear for kids and adults, combined with a large assortment of new clothing, gear and accessories from several retailers.

“It’s an incredible, unique shopping opportunity to fully equip yourself at a lower cost for the winter season. It’s also a great way to clean your garage or storage shed and sell your lightly used gear and clothing, ”Board member Dave Willoughby said in a press release. “We also have a great consignment system that allows sellers to register online before arriving on Friday to consign their goods.”

Funds raised from this annual two-day event, run by volunteers, are used to help support the Big White Ski Club, a non-profit organization that has provided ski training for over 60 years. world-class alpine.

Volunteering for the event also gives people the first choice of great equipment. Volunteers are invited to the Buy Night which was held on Friday, October 22 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., giving access to equipment and offers before it opens to the public.

For more information on the exchange or how to log online, or volunteer, visit

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