Lifting expectations

A map showing the placement of the new chairlift.

“Underwhelming” was perhaps my favourite response posted in regards to SPR’s announcement of a new lift. Or maybe it was “the lift to nowhere,” or “new candidate for least used lift”?

Jokes aside, I was a bit disappointed with the overly negative response by many regarding Sun Peaks Resort LLP’s (SPR) announcement of a new fixed grip lift servicing the East Village.

I get it. We were expecting something else, and when it didn’t come through it’s natural to be disappointed. With 15 years since a new lift, there is a pent up expectation in regards to development and SPR’s decision definitely missed the mark for some.  

But if you haven’t picked up on it yet, SPR is playing the long game. And while it wasn’t the news many people were hoping for, it’s still good news at the end of the day.

It shows SPR and its owner Nippon Cable are still on track to make major investments and working toward the master plan laid out decades ago. Not many other ski areas in Western Canada have benefited as we have from steady ownership and dedication to a plan.

Yes, a new Crystal is definitely needed. And it would be amazing to be able to lap the steeper terrain on West Mo on a pow day. But with the way things are going, I don’t think we will have to wait too much longer for some of these other plans to come to fruition.  

The elusive 400,000 skier mark was hit for the first time ever this year, which had been a goal for the resort since before the 2008 downslide, signifying more investment on the horizon.

While the decision has been criticized for prioritizing real estate development and sales over skier experience,  it’s a stepping stone to help alleviate one of the major issues we have right now which is a shortage of beds, not a shortage of terrain.

Anyone who relies on this resort community for economic well being, whether they are a land developer or a lift operator, will benefit from this investment as it will help grow the community and the local economy overall.

An aerial shot showing the mountain that will be home to the new lift. Photo SPIN.

And the terrain isn’t terrible, however it’s currently underutilized.  I’ve had some great runs over there on the way to the base of Morrisey and it will be fun to explore the area more. Future plans show the lift being replaced by a detachable quad, servicing higher runs yet to be cut.

At the end of the day, it’s a private business decision. Like any company, they have to balance customer (pass holder) satisfaction with their long-term goals.

We have to have patience and a bit of faith that those making the decisions are not making them lightly and have the long-term health of the resort and the community as their priority.

I’ll be there to ride the new lift when it opens in December with a smile on my face and I hope to see you there too.

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