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UPDATE: Valemount’s target opening date is December 2018, not 2017 as a previous version stated.

The announcement of a new resort is news, but when it promises to offer the biggest vertical drop in North America, that’s mega-news.

This mega-news comes out of Valemount, British Columbia, which has declared that the first of three stages of Valemount Glacier Destination Resort will open for riding by Christmas 2018—not in some distant future, but December 2018.

When complete, the resort will have a 6,857-foot vertical drop, putting even mighty Whistler (which sports a 5,020 drop) and Revelstoke (5,620) in the shade.

The new “ski and sightseeing resort” will access glacier skiing near Banff and Jasper national parks, both among the planet’s most beautiful landscapes.

North America’s Biggest Vert & First Year-Round Resort Opens Winter 2017-18

PHOTO CREDIT: Valemount Glacier Destinations Ltd.

What’s more, Valemount has the trifecta going for it—It’s northern, inland and high, making it less vulnerable to the perils of snow-starved winters. In addition, its vertical drop means it will have bragging rights to some of the world’s longest ski runs. Skiers and snowboarders can even reach Valemount by train. (Via Rail stops at the town’s railroad station.)

Most importantly, Valemount Glacier Destination Resort’s master plan has been composed with the input of and approved by local municipalities, First Nation tribes, and by the province of British Columbia. Oberti Resort Design, the company designing VGD, previously encountered an enormous amount of public opposition for its initial project—the controversial Jumbo Resort development. This time around, the company is emphasizing its commitment to the surrounding environment. “VGD embodies the best of B.C. – environmentally sustainable design coupled with some of the best vistas and mountain experiences in the world.”

North America’s Biggest Vert & First Year-Round Resort Opens Winter 2017-18

PHOTO CREDIT: Valemount Glacier Destinations Ltd.

So, if all goes according to that plan, what’s in store, and when will bullwheels be ready to roll?

Lifts could be running as early as December 2018, although the entire build out, including hotels and amenities, is expected to take 15-20 years.

The first phase will be a gondola and chairlift linking the resort village to Twilight Glacier and 4,500 feet of vertical.

Later stages will further access the Premier Range and will include the expansion of the village to more than 2,000 beds, restaurants and shops, chalets and hotels. An airport is also in the plans, as is year-round skiing.

North America’s Biggest Vert & First Year-Round Resort Opens Winter 2017-18

PHOTO CREDIT: Valemount Glacier Destinations Ltd.

According to the master plan, “The high elevations and large glaciers provide a large summer skiing area suitable for both public skiing and race training. At build out, the skiable terrain in winter will feature one of the longest vertical drops in the world at over 2,000 meters, substantially larger than anything else in North America.”

The plan concludes, “Year-round skiing area and sightseeing … will be unparalleled in North America. It will offer the only substantial summer skiing on the continent, the only high-elevation alpine glacier viewpoint in North America … and renown snow conditions.”

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Sub-Categories North America / Ski & Snowboard / The Industry / Travel
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  • Chris Flum

    Sounds perfect. All you need is a few runs a day.

  • Carlson Peters

    Hmmmm

  • Tom Watson

    What’s doin’ in 2018? I may be dead after that! 2020, who cares?

  • athousandmonkeys

    So far, I haven’t seen even a single occurrence of the words ‘snowboard’ and/or ‘snowboarding’ in any of their promotional material.

    • Gord Anderson

      They propose a year round resort including many outdoor pursuits including snowboarding, touring, heli and snowcat skiing/boarding et al

      • athousandmonkeys

        Can you show me in their own publicity material, specifically where it says that, in those words?

        This is their website: http://valemountglaciers.com

        Feel free to post a list of links where they include the words ‘snowboard’ and/or ‘snowboarding’.

        I’ll wait.

  • jh12sports

    Read Jules Older piece with great interest, but not sure such a project is motivated. Many more constructive applications for the ski industry, than gigantic projects that may not have a shelf life for future generations.

  • David Alger

    Considering this project was approved less than a month ago, I am very skeptical that anyone will be lift skiing this coming winter. I have worked in the area around here and the short summer construction season will make it very difficult to get this underway by the fall.

  • Rod M. Kerr

    The proof is in the pudding. When I see the bulldozers I will believe it.

  • Gord Anderson, Valemount, BC

    Make sure that your readers clearly understand that the proposed opening target date is Christmas 2018.

    • liftopia

      Thanks for catching that, Gord.

  • Chris LaValley

    You would see the equipment this summer if it wasn’t on the opposite side of the mountain. Things are happening as we all argue about whether or not it will actually happen. Skeptics will always be skeptics.