Massive BC Jumbo Resort Gets Green Light, but Signs Point to Red

By Michael Frank

Last week British Columbia’s provincial government approved a proposed $900 million ski resort in the Purcell Range.
It would eventually include more than 20 lifts and be the only
four-season ski area in North America, since the lifts would bisect a
glacier and serve a huge area of terrain — at 15,000 acres it would be
double the size of Whistler-Blackcomb.

But if you think it’s a lot of work getting up to Whistler in winter,
Jumbo would be akin to getting to the dark side of the moon. Really.
There’s no major airport and the nearest town, Invermere, is a four-hour
drive from Calgary, the closest large city with an international
airport. Driving from Seattle or Vancouver would take eight to ten
hours. Oh, and there’s no road to the resort site and that alone is
estimated to cost as much as $200 million Canadian.

How Jumbo was approved is messy to say the least, but the resort is
supposed to be part of a larger initiative to make B.C. into North
America’s number one travel destination for skiing. Attempting that
ignores Colorado’s obvious geographic strength, which cannot be overcome
by just building another B.C. resort, especially not one in the middle
of nowhere, even if winters continue to kick the jet stream north of the
U.S.-Canadian border as it largely did this past winter. Will investors
really jump aboard with the French consortium behind Jumbo based on
that logic? The estimated $900 million is going to be hard to come by
under any circumstances, let alone these.

Jumbo’s business plan depends on averaging 2,700 skiers per day.
Whistler averages ten times that. Do the math on the proposed 5,500 beds
for tourists (and lots of hoped-for real estate investment to float the
cost of building those) and the tab hits well over $100,000 per
pillow…and that’s a conservative guess.

Read the full article here.