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The End of the Road For Jumbo Glacier Resort?: $1 Billion Project Faces Another Hurdle

Developers behind the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort in southeastern British Columbia have encountered another obstacle in a twenty-year-old drama and this time it's because two buildings aren't in compliance with avalanche safety guidelines. The controversial plans call for a massive new resort with 14,640 skiable acres (Whistler/Blackcomb is 8,171 skiable acres), 23 chairlifts spanning four different glaciers, 5,627 vertical feet of skiing, and 2,300 vertical feet of summer skiing on Jumbo Glacier. Now, the British Columbian Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has found that a day lodge and a service building at the site of the proposed ski area are in an avalanche zone. Forced to stop construction on both structures, environmental groups are calling this a major win in the fight against a resort that (according to our Curbed Ski poll) almost no one wants.

In an April 24 letter sent to Glacier Resorts co-owner Oberto Oberti, the EAO described the results of a 45-page report that showed that past avalanches came far too close to the current day lodge and service building construction sites (see the red dot in the photo below). The province has asked Jumbo Glacier to suspend construction and amend its plans within a "reasonable timeline," or risk removing the two structures completely.

And while environmentalists are touting the avalanche-path violation as a major blow to a project that has seen decades of delays, developer Oberti believes it's a minor setback. He told Pique Magazine that this was only a "minor hiccup" that would require an amendment. Oberti said they don't want to move the buildings and will ask for an amendment that allegedly reflects "present-day standards" in avalanche mapping. Meanwhile, Jumbo's proponents are also awaiting a report from environment minister Mary Polak on whether the project will be able to keep it's environmental certificate. In October, just days before a provincial environmental certificate was set to expire that would essentially end all hopes for the ski area, Glacier Resort built the preliminary foundation for the ski lodge. But in order for the environmental certificate to be renewed, "substantive" construction must have begun before the October deadline. Critics argue that a $50,000 foundation doesn't count as "substantive" construction on a billion dollar project.

The saga continues…

· Jumbo Glacier Resort's future in doubt after avalanche report [CBC]
· Jumbo opponents say avalanche report should spell 'end of the road' for project [Pique]
· The Results Are In: No One Wants Jumbo Glacier Resort [Curbed Ski]
· Proposed $1 Billion Jumbo Glacier Resort Still May Not Happen [Curbed Ski]
· British Columbia's Proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort [Curbed Ski]
· Color Us Jealous: Early Season Powder at Whistler Blackcomb [Curbed Ski]
· Which Ski Resort Has The Most Skiing in North America? [Curbed Ski]
· Could Whistler Area Get New Backcountry Ski Area? [Curbed Ski]