Shredding the slopes and meeting new friends amid Big White’s snow ghosts

Photographer
Dax Justin

Shredding the slopes and meeting new friends amid Big White’s snow ghosts

DAX JUSTIN

I’d heard that Big White Ski Resort was known for having the 'Best Snow in North America", well at least according to the readers of Conde Nast Traveler. That’s a pretty big statement, so I set out to see for myself what makes this place a powder heaven.

Snow ghosts like I’ve never seen before

I didn’t even know what a “snow ghost” was until about half-way up the chairlift at Big White Mountain Resort. You know how you see some trees dusted in snow and it looks spectacular? At Big White I saw for the first time trees completely draped in snow. Fields of them. I couldn’t help but take lots of pictures to document these beautiful yet somewhat haunting creations. To me, snow ghosts are the signature of Big White.

Incredible deals are waiting for you at Big White Ski Resort. Plan your trip today.

Photographer
Dax Justin

The bad-ass ‘Bluebirds of Big White’

West Jet Ski Free CTA

I expected that when I met up with Kelowna local Jeff Willard to snowboard for the day, it would be a nice and casual afternoon. Instead, on the first run he sprayed me with powder as he flew above my head! The rest of his renegade crew, consisting of six boarders, showed up and wowed me with their spectacular jumps. They made my day and my first time photographing and doing video of snowboarders. I’ve coined them the “Bluebirds of Big White.” These people really know how to shred it up on the slopes. But what made it even more spectacular was perfect bluebird conditions all day with snow that exceeded all expectations.

Photographer
Dax Justin

Challenge your body and mind on the ice climbing tower

After a day on the hill, I still had enough energy to check out another cool feature of Big White - the ice tower. Within the Adventure Park at Big White is a 60-foot tower constructed of four telephone poles with three-foot thick ice, that gleams in the sunshine.

This was my first-time ice climbing, so I needed to be shown the ropes. Half way up I got the photo I was looking for - and I was totally ready to come down. Being that high up on ice is a strange feeling, and using the tools, not to mention trusting them, was intense. “Ready to come down!” I yelled. I was out of my comfort zone and this is when the amazing Amber and Neil, who work as guides in the adventure park, told me, “GET UP THERE! YOU CAN DO IT MAN!” Their encouragement kept me going, giving me confidence. From that point on, my climbing tools somehow gripped the ice and I felt I could really do this. I dug in hard and pulled myself up and moments later I was near the top. Hell yeah! I saw the cowbell and I rang it furiously. I overcame my fears and dug in to conquer my body and mind. I'll never forget this experience.

Photographer
Dax Justin

Meet Kevin

Kevin O’Neil was the first person I met when I landed in Kelowna to visit Big White Ski Resort. Kevin and I had a chance to spend an hour together on the drive from the airport to the hill. I learned that Kevin has called this region home his entire life. The roots of his family were planted in this area decades ago by his great-grandfather who walked from Wisconsin in the United States midwest to Seattle on the West Coast! In Seattle, he hooked up with a cattle drive going north to Canada - so he jumped on, followed it and never looked back! He came to the Okanagan Valley through to Kamloops and loved the area so much he never left.

 

Photographer
Dax Justin

When you visit Big White, make sure to say hello to Kevin. He's part of the fleet of shuttle drivers. Thank you for sharing your story and letting me take your portrait, Kevin.

Ready to have some fun skiing among snow ghosts and meeting new people who live for the snow?

If you go

For more information on Big White and Kelowna snow conditions visit their website

Like this story? Share it with your friends on Facebook.

Destination
Community
Region
Province