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Story of Baldy MT
in BC Canada

STORIES ARE FOR SHARING

Baldy Mountain Resort was founded in 1968. The beginnings of Baldy Mt, lie in a community of passionate winter enthusiasts who saw the potential for amazing outdoor experiences. These visionaries overcame many challenges and put their hearts into the development of a new Baldy; which included a daylodge, t-bar, and strata for real estate development.

The Beginnings of Baldy Mountain Resort

Prior to the development of Baldy Mt, 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 Mt, and a few members ventured to Baldy 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 was 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 of Baldy on Sunday afternoons – $1.00 for the ride.

 

In the early days, grooming was done by soft-packing with a culvert towed by a Nodwell snowcat. Once 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.  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.

Many locals learned to ski at Baldy Mt. The following is a guest blog from Nick Holmes-Smith, owner of Mustang Powder Cat Ski ~

The lifts

Baldy Tee/McKinney T

A used T-bar was purchased from Westcastle, near Pincher Creek. Terry Smith and his crew traveled to Alberta to dismantle it, constructed new wooden towers and had the “Baldy Tee” ready to open Boxing Day 1970. The Baldy Tee could be a challenge to ride. If you had short legs or a Tee with a short rope, you could become airborne in a couple of spots on the way . Skiers got their exercise going up the mountain, as well as skiing down. Both T-bars were upgraded later, with hydraulic tees, making the ride a little easier.

The Eagle Chair

The Mount Baldy Community purchased the ski area from the original ownership group, and put up the money to purchase Mt. Washington’s Blue Chair, and install it in time for the 1999-2000 season. Moving the lift meant that it was no longer “grandfathered,” and the community had to put up additional funds to upgrade it to current standards.

Sugarlump

With the Strata owning the ski area, there were the predictable challenges and disagreements, and after a few years, the members voted unanimously to sell, and a group from Idaho purchased the ski area. The new group installed the Sugarlump lift in time for the 2007-2008 season. Installation of a Magic Carpet was a vast improvement in teaching terrain. The Idaho group worked on some real estate development and utility upgrades as well. 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 whose plan is to revitalize the resort with fiscal stability and long-term strategic planning is just what the mountain needed. Locals and travelers alike can rejoice in knowing the resort is going to be open for business from here on out.

 

The new management team of the resort is working hard to develop a plan that will infuse longevity into the resort.  They are leaving no details to chance and working through all aspects of what it will take to revitalize Baldy Mt and assure its future success.

 

The potential the resort holds for prominence is significant. Location is everything.

 

Baldy Mountain Resort is located on the south side of Mount Baldy in South Okanagan, just north of the Canada-US border. It has a base elevation of 5,700 feet / 1,726 meters above sea level, which is 2,000 ft. / 609 m below the mountain peak. The back side of Baldy Mt 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 powder Among all that fresh pow, Baldy provides terrain-based learning and has activities for everyone: skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and tobogganing. Mt Baldy is a family-friendly ski resort and 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 cafe and a 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.

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