Valemount Glacier Destinations’ master plan approved; resort could offer biggest vertical drop in North America

Valemount Glacier Destinations’ master plan approved; resort could offer biggest vertical drop in North America

A master plan has been approved for Valemount Glacier Destinations, a ski resort slated to offer 6,726 feet of lift-accessed vertical drop, which would be most in all of North America and the third most in the world.


The site of Valemount Glacier Destinations, proposed to be the first of its kind in North America. Photo courtesy of Valemount Glacier Desitinations Ltd.

Located in the eastern section of British Columbia, five-plus hours north of popular resorts like Lake Louise and Kicking Horse, Valemount is currently not much more than a municipality of about 1,000 people. Surrounding it are massive, snow-covered peaks, extending into nearby Jasper National Park to the east and Wells Gray Provincial Park to the west.

Valemount, British Columbia

According to the resort’s master plan, “A modern lift system designed for both sightseers and skiers will bring visitors to the summits of Mount Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Twilight Glacier, Glacier Ridge and Mount Arthur Meighen” on 2,219 acres of skiable terrain. Furthermore, “There will be a resort village, containing up to 2,295 bed units (including non-market employee housing), on the upper bench west of the Village of Valemount, at the base of Mount Trudeau.”

The project has been in the works over the past four years, and with the green light from governmental officials and the surrounding community—even the Simpcw First Nation—development is projected to begin during the spring of 2017 for a December 2017 opening day. The master plan conveys that supporters are particularly keen on the idea of economic development.

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A rendering of the proposed village. Image courtesy of Valemount Glacier Destinations Ltd.

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A rendering of the proposed day lodge. (See a video of the building site, below). Image courtesy of Valemount Glacier Destinations Ltd.

Site for the Daylodge for the #valemountglacierdestinations resort. Hope to get started this time next year.

A video posted by David Ratzlaff (@hrpacific) on

Up until this point, Valemount has not been a widely skied region, though the popular Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) heli-skiing operation does have a lodge there. At this time, it’s unclear as to how the new resort would affect CMH’s future.

Of course, it just wouldn’t be big-time resort news if there wasn’t a plot twist. It turns out that Valemount Glacier Destinations is headed by none other than Oberto Oberti, the man behind the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort that earned international criticism after Patagonia debuted a film about its possible negative environmental impacts. It appears that, this time around, Oberti is finding far more success.

Oberti and other resort planners discuss what’s proposed at Valemount.

The extended trailer for Jumbo Wild, created by Patagonia and Sweetgrass Productions.

According to a press release from Valemount Glacier Destinations Ltd., “The next steps are the completion of a Master Development Agreement with the province as well as imminent completion of the rezoning and Official Community Plan amendment process with the regional district.”

In other words, there are still unknowns at play. So, for now, only one thing is for sure: There’s still a long uphill battle ahead before anyone gets to ski most vertical feet in North America.

To read the full master plan, click here.

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