Monday, 25 Oct 2021

Coronavirus: Big White Ski Resort VP has message for adventurers: ‘Stay off the mountain’

Michael J. Ballingall, senior vice president of Big White Ski Resort, has one message, and he wants to make it loud and clear.

“Please stay away from the mountain — stay off the mountain,” said Ballingall.

“The mountain is dangerous there are creeks and the river is starting to run so there are a lot of things that happen out there that mother nature is in control of.”

This plea came after a 19-year-old man seriously injured his back while trespassing on the hill and using the terrain park with his friends.

Big White fire Chief Chris Cormack said his team had to help the man, who seriously injured his back at the park.

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All the more difficult a rescue due to the fact that ski patrol is not in service and the fire hall does not have A.T.V.s or sleds to expedite rescues, so they had to walk in on foot to help the man, who is now being treated at Kelowna General Hospital.

Since March 16, the mountain has been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

But Ballingall says the mountain is still busy.

“We have had an onslaught of people coming up the mountain on a daily basis so our staff has plowed in all the parking lots,” said Ballingall.

“In the last week, we have had a lot of kids coming up the mountain with their snowboards and their skis.”

The national injury prevention program, AdventureSmart, released a statement also asking people to stay away from risky terrain.

“Stay close to home we want people to choose low-risk activities and we can explore B.C. later,” said Sandra Riches, executive director BC AdventureSmart.

“Stick to your neighbourhood. We are asked to stay in these areas for reasons of safety.”

Search and Rescue calls in B.C. are down 50 per cent from this time last year and for the safety of outdoor enthusiasts, volunteer search teams and front line workers, this trend must continue.


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