Mount Baldy, B.C., Has New Band of Owners

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SAM Magazine--Oliver, B.C., Aug. 9, 2004--Mount Baldy ski area is on a fast track for modernization, thanks to new owners and the pro-resort efforts of the B.C. government and the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB).

The B.C. government is encouraging new investment in the resort industry and was "instrumental, if not indispensable" in supporting new owner Winter Recreation ULC's acquisition, said WR VP Brent Baker. It has granted an interim agreement that allows WR to move forward on its Master Plan. Once that is approved, Land and Water BC will help WR finalize its Master Development Agreement, the final step in provincial approvals.

The OIB has teamed with Winter Recreation as a five percent partner in the resort. The Band has previously invested millions in tourist-related businesses, from golf courses to wineries in the Okanagan valley. The OIB also has a seat on the ski areaís board of directors.

In an historic letter of agreement between the two, the resort recognizes the traditional values and "sanctity of the land," while the OIB supports an orderly completion of the master plan. A committee of Band members and resort representratives will define the accommodation process.

Over the next five years, Winter Recreation plans to more than double the skiable acreage, to 1,100, and extend the vertical from 1,460 feet to more than 2,000. This would also open up two previously unaccessed backcountry bowls. The resort plans to upgrade base facilities with a new day lodge, hotel, and core village that will reflect the traditional architectural and cultural themes of the South Okanagan. \