A small Canada ski resort two hours from Vancouver could be in for a $1.5 billion overhaul conducted over half a century if its recently unveiled master plan comes to fruition. Hemlock Resort in British Columbia's Fraser Valley currently has a modest four lifts, 35 trails and 360 skiable acres. The ambitious plan spearheaded by owner Ralph Berezan, who bought the resort for $3 million in 2006, would completely remake the ski area into a year-round recreational destination with a slew of new activities and amenities and as much skiable terrain as Revelstoke.
Notable winter additions
• 19 new lifts
• 248 additional trails
• 2,700 more skiable acres
• Winter zip lining and treetop adventures
• A multi-use trail network throughout the resort for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, walking, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, winter mountain biking and more.
• Village winter attractions, such as a water park, spas, convention centers, shopping and dining
Notable summer additions
• An 18-hole golf course
• New waterfront amenities on Harrison Lake, such as a marina and beaches
• A lift-serviced downhill mountain bike park
• Zip lines and tree walk interpretive tours
• Single-track for technical mountain biking
• A paved valley trail for walkers, joggers, and bikers
• Gravel trails
The plans for a trail network and zip lines would likely serve both seasons, leaving the summer-specific infrastructure mainly focused on the golf course and waterfront projects. There's also a good chunk of the master plan dedicated to sketching out the development of multiple, mixed-use and residential villages on different areas of the mountain, including 20,000 lodging beds. Berezan has called the real estate segment key to the project.
Like most ski resorts trying to improve their summer offerings, part of the push to make Hemlock Resort into a year-round destination goes back to the fickle nature of snowfall. Hemlock has more serious worries than most: the resort wasn't able to open for the 2014-15 season because of the lack of snow.
Berezan has partnered with the local first nation group, Sts'ailes Nation, to put together the master plan, but this is still a big project to fund, even over 50 years. This isn't actually the first billion-dollar project Berezan has proposed in the area. In 2008, in the pits of the real estate crash, he proposed a $1.6 billion project in the center of nearby city Surrey. That project, too, had lofty goals but the property found itself in other hands only three years later.
Hemlock Resort has a much longer timeline, but its first phase is still a major leap: replacing two chairlifts, adding three new lifts, jumping to 77 trails and adding 3,400 beds across all lodging types. Not to mention there are still some more review hurdles to clear. Stay tuned for updates.
· $1.5-billion facelift coming to Hemlock ski resort [CKNW]
· Hemlock Resort [Official site]
· Hemlock Master Plan [Berezan Development]
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