Whitewater Ski Resort, Nelson, BC

“One of the biggest things to happen to Whitewater since it was originally built” – the Glory Ridge Chair (Phase 1 of the BHA Master Plan)

Whitewater’s Vision Statement:
Whitewater will promote the culture and passion of a unique mountain experience.

Approved Master Plan Amendment

In the fall of 2008, Brent Harley and Associates Inc. were retained to assist in the creation of Whitewater’s Master Plan Amendment. Subsequently, new topographic mapping of the Whitewater area was acquired, existing facilities were inventoried and an in-depth terrain analysis completed. This acted as the basis for a fresh look at the potential of the resort. The planning process was initiated with the establishment of a new Vision, Goals and Objectives Statement for Whitewater. Using this as the foundation, a series of concepts were explored, leading to a preferred concept and ultimately to the proposed expansion of the lift and trail system and the development of a boutique mountain resort village.

Site Analysis

With the new map base, the existing Controlled Recreation Area (CRA) was re-analysed in an effort to revisit the existing Master Plan. These analyses confirmed the basic findings of the earlier planning exercise.

The site analysis is used to gain an indepth understanding of the terrain and includes an analysis of the aspect, elevation and slope. The Aspect Analysis involves colour coding the topographic features of the study area to illustrate the orientation and geographical exposure with respect to the eight points of the compass. The Elevation Analysis slices the topographic features of the study area into 50 metre increments, effectively illustrating the height and “flow” of the land. The Slope Analysis divides the topography of the study area into a range of skiable gradients as they relate to the primary skier/snowboarder skill classes.

Ski Area and Phasing

Ski Area – Currently there are 49 ski trails on 117 hectares of terrain at Whitewater. At buildout the number of ski trails will grow to 144 on a total of 413 hectares. In addition to the developed terrain, the lift and trail configuration will provide access to approximately 700 more hectares of skiable terrain all within the CRA.

Technically, based on the proposed developed trails, the resort can grow from the existing 1,106 to 5,000 skiers per day at buildout. It should be noted that, while this capacity far surpasses the ability of the base area lands to stage, the proposed ski facilities development will cater to the desired very low density powder skiing product.

Phasing – The gradual development of Whitewater is envisioned to occur over four or more phases. Each phase is self contained effectively being able to function as a finished resort product with both the mountain and the base area development complementing each other. Subsequent development will be driven by demand from the skier marketplace.

Village & Base Area

The base area lands are very tight.  Relatively steep slopes edge the valley, with the braided Apex Creek running through the middle of it.  Taking into account the potential development benches and respecting a riparian setback of 30 metres from the high water mark of Apex Creek, there is little developable land for Whitewater to use for the desired Village Core and accommodation.

The proposed base area facilities include a Village Core, a mix of resort residential units, the on-mountain Silver Lodge and a maintenance area.  The layout is dependent upon an efficient realignment of the access road and parking lots.