Major Mountain Resort Proposed Near Chilliwack, BC

British Columbia’s number of planned ski resorts grew by one today with the unveiling of Bridal Veil Mountain Resort. Unlike the remote Valemount Glacier, Zincton, Saddle Mountain and Jumbo Glacier proposals, this four season resort would serve the fast-growing Fraser Valley and surrounding region. Located along the Trans-Canada Highway, the site sits just 1.5 hours outside Vancouver and 2.5 hours north of Seattle.

The vision includes two 3,300′ vertical gondolas providing access to alpine villages and numerous skiing pods. “Upon arriving at the resort, the preliminary concept for Bridal Veil Mountain Resort will see guests travelling by gondola from the floor of the Fraser Valley to a vehicle-free mountain recreation area, where they could ski or snowboard, backcountry tour, hike, sightsee, mountain bike, and participate in year-round ecological and Indigenous cultural programs,” notes the project website. “These activities will effectively be separated and hidden from the valley, offering guests a remote mountain recreation experience with unparalleled views of the Fraser Valley and Cascade Mountain Range.” Downhill skiing would take place from approximately 1,000 meters above sea level (3,280 feet) to as high as 1,729 meters (5,673 feet) atop Mt. Archibald.

The study area typically receives plentiful snowfall, sitting just 18 miles as the crow flies from world record snowfall holder Mt. Baker Ski Area. Through multiple phases of buildout, the project could eventually encompass 11,500 acres. A preliminary economic impact analysis suggests that, as currently envisioned, BVMR could create more than 1,800 full-time equivalent jobs and generate more than one million visits each year. Based on that visitation, Bridal Veil would generate approximately CA$252 million in regional visitor spending and CA$35 million in tax revenue each year.

The project is being spearheaded by BC residents Norm Gaukel and Robert Wilson with assistance from mountain planner Brent Harley and market research firm RRC Associates. The proponents recently filed an Expression of Interest with the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development. If the EOI is approved, the next phase would be the submission of a more detailed proposal, followed by the submission of a comprehensive Resort Master Plan. Any development remains years away but the concept deserves attention, especially considering nearby population growth and the shortage of destination skiing in neighboring Washington State.

24 thoughts on “Major Mountain Resort Proposed Near Chilliwack, BC

  1. fred skilinskbork April 13, 2021 / 2:50 pm

    what have been the last few “true” new ski resorts built in Canada? (ones with a chairlift?)

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    • Mike B April 13, 2021 / 3:47 pm

      Nakiska in the 80s and Revelstoke in the 2000s

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    • LucasDR April 13, 2021 / 3:49 pm

      Revelstoke and Kicking Horse. It’s true that small community hills existed before, but they were tiny in comparison and generally didn’t serve destination tourists.

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    • Peter Landsman April 13, 2021 / 3:51 pm

      Le Massif is a big one that’s quite new. First lifts in 1992.

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      • Thomas Jett April 13, 2021 / 4:20 pm

        I didn’t know that Le Massif was so new.

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        • jaytrem April 13, 2021 / 4:23 pm

          They ran it Moose style before that, busses for lifts.

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    • Mr Incredible April 13, 2021 / 3:52 pm

      Revelstoke overlaid (but completely replaced) an existing, small, one chair operation in 2007. Kicking Horse is effectively an expansion of what was an existing ski area. Ditto with Sun Peaks. One could argue that Blackcomb, though built from scratch, was an expansion of the adjacent Whistler, which has been around since the 1960s. So for new, standalone, built-from-scratch ski areas in BC since the 1970s, the answer is nada. Nakiska, over the border in Alberta, was built from scratch in the 1980s but had the weight of Olympic game funding and political support behind it. I foresee the chilliwack mountain proposal getting whacked along with all the other ski resort dreams in BC.

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  2. Jason Holt April 13, 2021 / 3:15 pm

    The FAQ sheet states “Notably, Bridal Veil Mountain Resort has the opportunity to be the first four-season mountain resort in Canada to be jointly developed, owned and operated in partnership with local First Nations Communities.”

    In my opinion that could be a game-changer in getting the resort built. I think that it will take native tribes help to get another ski resort built in Washington

    Liked by 1 person

    • Myles Svec April 13, 2021 / 3:43 pm

      Hopefully tribes could develop the half of mt. Ashland they own. It would be the only volcano skiing in Washington.

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      • Peter Landsman April 13, 2021 / 3:44 pm

        I think you mean Mt. Adams. Mt. Ashland is in southern Oregon and not a volcano. There’s tons of great volcano skiing in Washington, just not lift-served.

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        • Myles Svec April 13, 2021 / 4:27 pm

          Your correct I meant mt Adams. One of the tribes wanted to put a ski resort on it sometime in the 80s but it never happened.

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    • LucasDR April 17, 2021 / 10:48 am

      Apparently they were jumping the gun in announcing a potential partnership with the First Nations – it doesn’t even look like there has been any engagement. The fact that they announced before engaging will not help build any bridges either – neither will the competing gondola project next door which already has First Nations backing.

      See article: https://www.theprogress.com/news/cheam-first-nation-shocked-over-all-season-mountain-resort-proposal-near-chilliwack/

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  3. Gavin April 13, 2021 / 3:48 pm

    Looks like they wouldn’t be in direct competition with Whistler Blackcomb, as they would be able to focus on visitors south of the Fraser. Another option for the rapidly growing Fraser Valley looks great.

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  4. Enumclaw kid April 13, 2021 / 4:54 pm

    On the one hand, that sounds cool. And the political climate in BC is better for this sort of thing. OTOH, 3200 feet is low elevation. I’ve skied in the rain at Mt Baker plenty of times; the two bases there are at 3800 and 4400. And vs. Whistler, having the summit at 5600 vs. 7000 means it’s harder to get up out of bad weather. Driving to Sun Peaks or Mission Ridge also gets you out of the bad weather.

    Also it’s entirely below treeline, unlike Whistler. Looking at Google Maps satellite 3D view, if you gladed the trees on the north side of Mt Mercer you might get some good tree steeps like at Baker, or Right Angle at Crystal, or the hits lower on the 7th Heaven side of Blackcomb.

    This seems most directly to be competition for Garibaldi, the proposed Sasquatch expansion and the Mission expansion in the works than Whistler.

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    • Erik April 13, 2021 / 7:16 pm

      Yeah, I agree… the elevation seems low. It’s more like Snoqualmie or Cypress than it is like Whistler or Crystal. Mt Baker Ski Area is in a geographic sweet spot; 18 miles is pretty far away given Cascade microclimates. I don’t know anything about the specific proposal area, but it certainly has the look of a place that gets a decent amount of rainy days in winter (even if it does get 300-350″ of snow).

      That’d be totally fine for day ski area; you can just avoid the worst days. But are people going to gamble their destination visits on such a low-elevation place? It’ll be interesting to see.

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  5. Enumclaw kid April 13, 2021 / 5:15 pm

    Also, that area would get enough snow, as Sasquatch does, but Mt Baker Ski Area benefits from a very small focused microclimate created by the prevailing weather patterns running into the volcano itself. I suspect the builders of the original ski area in the 1930s recognized this, but 20th century weather records and models bear out that Mt Baker Ski Area sits in by far the wettest and snowiest few square miles in the entire Washington Cascades, save for two comparably wet areas in the Glacier Peak Wilderness and the south side of Mt Rainier (as we all know the prior snow record holder). 18 miles north is well out of that microclimate, per the weather records.

    That said, the Fraser Valley is well known for drawing cold air from the east, which would I assume benefit this site.

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  6. David April 14, 2021 / 10:36 am

    More capacity in the growing Vancouver-Seattle corridor makes a lot of sense. Will be immediately financially viable as opposed to more remote projects in interior BC.

    I’m not familiar with the terrain but I’m surprised they aren’t planning to put the resort just a few miles further east. There is a chain of ~7k ft high peaks (Cheam Peak, Lady Peak, Knight Peak) with what looks like consistently steep terrain. Not that these would be anything easier than double blacks but could provide a section of the mountain with consistent early/late season snow, like what Whistler and Crystal have in their areas above 6k feet.

    Any new resort in the PNW really needs to have climate change on their mind, even what elevation works today may not be enough in 50 years.

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    • Enumclaw kid April 14, 2021 / 6:01 pm

      “chain of ~7k ft high peaks (Cheam Peak, Lady Peak, Knight Peak) with what looks like consistently steep terrain. ”

      Oof, I looked at those on Google Earth 3D, and while some of the lines look like fun, that’s some SE Alaska ski movie terrain. Makes the Spanky’s Ladder zone at Blackcomb look like Solar Coaster.

      I agree w/r/t climate change, elevation and snowfall. I think Whistler is well positioned with their high-elevation terrain.

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      • Gavin April 15, 2021 / 5:33 pm

        Whistler has plenty of high elevation terrain, but everything below 4000ft, and especially the super low base elevation, will eventually be lost to climate change. Same for the North Shore Mountains, although their snowmaking operations are pretty good.

        I think this plan just really wants to take advantage of being right off the highway, making it more accessible, but if they suffer from low elevation, it’s on them.

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      • Myles Svec April 19, 2021 / 4:45 pm

        It would be possible to put resorts on those steep peaks. Look at some of the ski areas in Austria or Switzerland for example.

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  7. skibumbarnes April 15, 2021 / 8:31 pm

    I have never been to any part of British Columbia, but I looked on Google Maps and it was an hour away from Vancouver when Whistler is an hour and a half. Would people make the extra half hour drive to Whistler or would they opt for this resort? I think it would make for a good resort but they should do more research on the project, with public surveys about what the resort could offer, if people would be willing to make the extra half hour drive to WB, or if people would be attracted to the resort if it had certain features about the resort that set it apart from other rival resorts. Again, would make for a great resort I just think it needs two or three more years research.

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    • skitheeast April 15, 2021 / 8:45 pm

      Whistler gets extremely crowded. There are people who drive much longer distances to mountains that are not as good (like Sun Peaks and Manning Park). The Greater Puget Sound to Vancouver region has a shortage of ski resorts and plenty of suitable mountains. Whether it is this proposal or another, eventually something will be built.

      Like

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