Family Day busier in 2016

Skier visits up 12 per cent from last year

File Photo
File Photo

The B.C. Family Day weekend saw increased visitors coming to Sun Peaks. According to the tourism association and the resort company, accommodations were nearly full and skier visits also increased.

Skier visits were up a combined 19 per cent on Friday, Saturday and Monday compared to the holiday weekend last year. Visits were up 12 per cent throughout the entire weekend, with stagnant numbers on Sunday, which were likely a result of the Super Bowl, according to Aidan Kelly, sales and marketing director for Sun Peaks Resort LLP.

“We’re really happy to have this long weekend for B.C. families on the calendar and hope to see it stick around in its current format for years to come,” Kelly said.

“Restaurants, hotels and businesses throughout the village seemed to be pretty busy and happy.”

Accommodators in Sun Peaks were nearly at capacity. Final totals were not available at print time, but initial indications put resort occupancy over 95 per cent.

“If you looked at where we are this year compared to where we were in 2012, which was the year before the B.C. family weekend started, the weekend occupancies would have been under 70 per cent and you’re looking at this year and it’s over 95 per cent,” said Christopher Nicolson, president of Tourism Sun Peaks.

Walking through the village and in lift lines there was a noticeable increase in the number of people throughout the resort during the weekend.

“It was crazy busy. It was probably the most busy we’ve been since we first opened (in December),” said Bailey Hunt, staff representative at The Candy Vault. “It was person, after person, after person all day. It was a lot of kids and families, it was really cool.”

The mountain resort industry throughout B.C. is working to establish a tradition of skiing and snowboarding on the newest holiday weekend. Twenty-six resorts throughout the province, including Sun Peaks, offered a 50 per cent discount on lift tickets on B.C. Family Day.

“That’s an example of how the resort industry has embraced it,” Nicolson said. “When I was riding lifts (Monday) there were lots of locals that were up here and taking advantage of that.”

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  1. It’s good to hear that skier visits were up for the long weekend. I think we can with confidence say that there has been increased visits and revenue for Sunpeaks Corp this winter but hard facts are hard to come by from a company like Sunpeaks Corp. But lets take a look at Whistler Blackhcomb which is public and does a good job of disclosing information. Let’s delve into their financials and pull out some facts.

    “Total visits for the 2015-16 season to February 8, 2016 were 1.14 million, an increase of 21%.”

    ” As at February 8, 2016, the Company’s 2015-16 season pass and frequency card sales were $46.2 million, an increase of 4%.”

    “Estimated forward hotel bookings over the remainder of the ski season in Whistler’s accommodation sector as at February 8, 2016 were pacing approximately 11% ahead of bookings at the same time in the prior year.”

    Looks like they are like Sunpeaks having a good year. But wait – get this – based on having a good year look at what they are doing.

    “The Company also announced plans to invest approximately $8.0 million in the following growth projects, in addition to the Company’s regular maintenance capital program:”

    Seems like a good business plan. Reinvest and improve your business in good years. No one could ever accuse Whistler Blackcomb management of being dumb.
    Is Sunpeaks going to be announcing any expansion plans besides the snow cats that have to purchase just to stay even? I don’t know but I won’t hold my breathe. Of course the happy talk only crowd who cringe at any criticism of Sunpeaks and will be shouting – “what do you know?” – don’t you know Sunpeaks has a 25 year plan? Well as one gentlemen on the chairlift who told me they always fall back on this statement adding in “they sure will have a lot to do on the 25th year!”. “Father knows best type management is what we have” is how this gentlemen explained it and he is not alone. Meanwhile Big White this December just opened up a brand new 2 mil day lodge. Go take a look – it looks impressive and converts to a 2000 sq ft pillar-less meeting and function area.

    I think the problem lays in our absent ownership but a more detailed analysis will have to wait for another day as foglifter has to run. TBC !!!

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