Mount Baldy, Oliver, British Columbia
In the spring of 2004, BHA was retained to create a Resort Expansion Master Plan for Mount Baldy which resulted in a Master Development Agreement put in place June, 2006. The master plan proposed an atypical next step in the resort’s evolution that aimed to grow the resort’s size and market share by offering a unique skiing and resort experience. The plan focused on attracting the next-generation of ski resort clientele, those drawn to the beauty of nature to be experienced on the ski slopes and in the backcountry. Opportunities to maintain a small-resort feeling while remaining profitable were explored through the re-conceptualizing of the area as a modern ‘boutique’ resort. The village design focuses on high density multi-use buildings preserving the surrounding area to be enjoyed in its natural state while offering the luxuries of a modern ski resort. At buildout, Mount Baldy will have 13 chair lifts as well as non-traditional lifts reaching 4,400 acres of inbounds skiable terrain, 150 runs and an additional 5,500 acres of backcountry access.
A unique aspect of the proposed Mt. Baldy offering is the inclusion and incorporation of Sherpa based return travel from backcountry areas. A Sherpa is a large utility-oriented dual track snowmobile capable of towing large payloads. Using sherpas to access a controlled backcountry areas provides a unique and accessible adventure experience that no other ski resort offers presently.
A critical component to the approval of the Master Development Agreement for Mount Baldy was reaching an agreement with the local First Nation, the Osoyoos Indian Band. Acknowledging this early on was integral to the project’s success and the master plan endeavoured to be the culmination of a process that demonstrated an unprecedented working relationship with First Nations in the area. Through discussions with the Osoyoos Indian Band scenarios where economic opportunities could be shared, heritage celebrated and culturally sensitive areas respected were discussed and refined to inform the core values of the master plan.