Story of Baldy
in BC, Canada
in BC, Canada
STORIES ARE FOR SHARING
Founded in 1968, our humble beginnings lie in a community of passionate winter enthusiasts who saw the potential for amazing outdoor experiences. These enthusiasts overcame many challenges and put their hearts into the development of Baldy.
The Beginnings of Baldy Mountain Resort
Prior to the development of Baldy Mountain Resort, Borderline Ski Club operated a family ski area on Hedlund’s Ranch near Bridesville. The season was short at that elevation, and skiers were looking for more challenging terrain. The club had their eyes on Baldy Mountain, and a few members ventured on snowmobiles to check out the area.
In 1967 a group formed a limited company, put together some financing, and began the process of moving from the ranch to Baldy. Borderline Ski Club voted on September 24th, 1968 to transfer their assets and liabilities to Mt. Baldy Recreations Ltd.
Following this, the last four miles of the access road were constructed, the lodge built, runs cleared, and the T-bar moved.
Baldy Mountain Resort opened for the 1968-69 season, with the McKinney T-bar and beginners rope tow operating. There were snowcat rides to the top on Sunday afternoons – $1.00 per ride.
In the early days, grooming was done by soft-packing with a culvert towed by a Nodwell snowcat. When the snowcat broke down, all the local kids were recruited to ski pack one run.
In the mid-eighties, the original owners were aging, and some prospective purchasers failed to complete the sale. After a missed season with an unsuccessful deal before the courts, Borderline Ski Club then leased the operation from the original owners. The club ran a bare-bones operation with new skiers unloading at Tower 3 on the Baldy lift. The McKinney Tee re-opened after the club had been operating for a few years.
The T-bar was purchased from Westcastle, near Pincher Creek. The crew travelled to Alberta to dismantle it, constructed new wooden towers and had the “Baldy Tee” ready to open on Boxing Day 1970.
Today, the T-Bar hasn’t run for several years, but the current team at Baldy is working hard to open it back up for night skiing in the future.
The Eagle Chair
The Mount Baldy Community purchased Mt. Washington’s (Vancouver Island) Blue Chair, and installed it in time for the 1999-2000 season.
The Sugarlump lift was installed for the 2007-2008 season. As well, the installation of a Magic Carpet was a vast improvement in teaching terrain. Sugarlump is a fixed-grip quad chairlift with a total uphill capacity of 750 persons per hour.
Baldy Overcomes its Challenges
Financial difficulties put Baldy back to lean operations for a few seasons, and the hill did not open for the 2013-2014 season. A prospective purchaser operated the Sugarlump Chair and Magic Carpet for an abbreviated season starting in January 2015. Baldy Mt was closed for the 2015-2016 season, and a new ownership group bought Baldy out of receivership in July of 2016.
Baldy Mountain Resort, aka ‘Baldy’ opened again for skiing on December 1st, 2016.
It was official. Baldy had new ownership, pre-season maintenance was completed, and the resort looked forward to opening in early Dec 2016. Many projects were undertaken in the short window of 150 days. Baldy managed to get it all done and then patiently waited for the snow.
The Baldy resurrection was a success! With twenty-five feet of natural snow last season, dreams came true and Baldy re-opened to the public.
The new Baldy
The recent purchase of Baldy Mountain Resort by an investment group in 2016, whose plan is to revitalize the resort with fiscal stability and long-term planning is just what the mountain needed.
Baldy Mountain Resort is located on the south side of Mount Baldy on the border of the South Okanagan & West Kootenays, just north of the Canada-US border. It has a base elevation of 5,700 feet / 1,726 meters making it the third highest ski area in BC. The back side of Mount Baldy can be seen from Oliver and is just a short 35-minute drive from this town. Local access is via all-weather public roads from Oliver and Highway 3 from Osoyoos.
The resort is renowned for its light, dry powder. Among all that fresh pow, Baldy provides terrain-based learning and has activities for everyone: skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Baldy offers many programs for kids and adults alike.
The top of the Eagle chair provides unobstructed panoramic views of the valley below. The mountain has a day lodge with a café and bar, and both have been recently renovated and are happy to serve you during your visit to Baldy Mountain Resort.
A note to Marge Macleod and the community in general
Marge MacLeod, a Baldy local, had a significant role in developing the mountain’s community atmosphere. At 91 years of age, she no longer skis but is affectionately regarded as the “Matriarch” of the Baldy Family. While the original development group fostered a supportive, family-friendly atmosphere, Baldy has continued to be an exceptional community with the same atmosphere. Even during the times the hill was closed, the community stayed connected and carried on with community events, including the Christmas Eve caroling through the village.