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driving to Revelstoke from Calgary would also have to pass the ski areas in
Banff National Park and Kicking Horse at Golden before getting to Mount
assumes that people will get to these mountain resorts by automobile. In fact,
most are drawing destination visitors from Europe and Australia who fly into
Calgary or Cranbrook. Revelstoke also has an airport, although in its present
configuration it is not large enough to handle commercial jets.
destination visitors aren’t the bread and butter for these resorts or any
others in B.C. Regional visits are, as Whistler has found out in recent years,
key to economic sustainability.
development starts with real estate sales. Resorts of the Canadian Rockies was
put together by Charlie Locke in the late 1990s to get into the resort
consolidation game. Locke, who is now out of the picture, brought Kimberley,
Fernie, Lake Louise and Nakiska together under the RCR banner and started
developing mountain resorts at Kimberley and Fernie.
North Star Mountain, like Rossland’s Red Mountain, started off as a family ski
hill operated by the local ski club and strongly supported by the mining
company, Cominco — which was the reason the towns existed in the first place.
As Kimberley’s Sullivan Mine began to reach the end of its life new fortunes
were being made in mountain resort real estate.
at Kimberley, condominiums cover the lower slope of North Star Mountain,
interspersed only by a couple of lifts and one of the three golf courses in
town. Sitting above the town of Kimberley in the Purcells and looking across at
the Rocky Mountains, the area is alive with outdoor recreation opportunities.
that is perhaps Kimberley Alpine Resort’s downfall: why buy a condo up on the
mountain when the rivers, lakes and many trails and additional golf courses are
down in the valley? And the rental revenue from those condos may not be what
was expected. Last winter Kimberley removed the covenant requiring condos to go
into a rental pool because owners said it was impeding sales.
the valley, past Invermere and along Toby Creek Road, Panorama is more compact
and isolated than the resort at Kimberley. The Panorama village has everything
you’d expect at an Intrawest resort: a nice mix of various types of
accommodation, a good golf course and everything well landscaped. Like
Kimberley, you would have to leave the Panorama village area for groceries and
most non-skiing activities, but there is a sense of a community at Panorama. It
may be because the valley is cozier or because there are more single-family
houses at Panorama and the owners flock to them on weekends.