The B.C. government on August 17 approved Valemount Glacier Destinations Ltd.’s master plan to build a ski resort up Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau, near Valemount.
The project has not faced the same opposition that other ski resort projects in B.C. have suffered.
In fact, the project’s developer and consultants had expected the master plan to be approved in January so that there would be enough time for the resort to open on Canada Day 2017.
"The intricacies of the government bureaucracy are what they are in B.C.," said Pheidias Group principal Tomasso Oberti, who is a consultant on the project.
"What we had in mind at the time [when we predicted January approval] was a goalpost that we hoped would inspire the mountain resorts branch [of the B.C. government] to be more expedient in the approval, but that obviously slipped."
The developers' new timeline is to complete the first part of the project's first phase by December 2017, but those involved with the project are excited nonetheless.
“This project would not be possible without the initiative and steadfast support of the people of Valemount and the Simpcw [First Nation],” said Oberto Oberti, who is the project’s architect and the originator of the vision.
“It has been carefully designed to integrate with the existing community.”
At build-out, which would be about 10 years away, the resort is expected to provide sustainable public access to large glaciers that are more than 9,850 feet in elevation. That’s the highest such access to glaciers in North America.
At the end of the first phase, which will be past December 2017, access is expected to be to an elevation of 8,530 feet and a vertical drop of about 5,775 feet.
At build-out, or around 2027, the runs are expected to have a vertical drop of approximately 6,726 feet, which would be the largest in North America and third largest in the world, Tommaso Oberti told BIV.
"It's not the highest mountain in North America. Mountains in Colorado are higher. It will be the biggest vertical drop in North America," he said. "The glacier access will also be the highest in North America."
The project is expected to become a major sightseeing and year-round skiing destination. Its location is close to Jasper and developers plan to target Edmonton residents as one source of visitors.