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Whitewater Ski Resort drumming up support for paving project

Whitewater Ski Resort is hoping to see a smoother ride for visitors on their way up to the ski hill.

The road deteriorates in the spring as the weather changes which can be a safety concern and have economic impacts. Revenues and visits do decrease when the road gets rough, but there’s also ambulances and the possibility of public transit to consider

“Working with BC Transit to try and coordinate some transit service from Nelson out to Salmo, but potentially up Whitewater road. Without it being paved it likely wouldn’t be a reality,” said Whitewater’s general manager Kirk Jensen.

It’s a Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure road with only three of 10 kilometers currently paved. It would be a multi-million dollar project, but the economic benefits to the region are a driver, according to Jensen.

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Whitewater employs over 150 people during the winter months and has seen a 75 per cent increase in skier visits over the last 10 years, up to 140,000 in 2019.  The road up to ski hill is the first and last impression for guests, Jensen also noted.

This spring was an especially bad year for the road. The temperature warmed up quickly, causing big fluctuations, and the road was in bad shape from mid-March until the season ended on April 7.

Whitewater has been reaching out to a number of provincial ministries and local governments to help gain awareness and support for the idea. The Regional District of Central Kootenay board of directors will consider whether to write a letter of support this Thursday.

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