Spuzzum First Nation has revealed plans for an ambitious all-season mountain resort near the Coquihalla summit.
According to a report, this project, poised to rival established resorts like Sun Peaks, Big White, and Silver Star, marks a new chapter in the region’s tourism and outdoor hospitality sector.
The South Anderson mountain resort, as envisioned, will encompass a wide range of facilities including a ski resort, golf courses, and more. This initiative is not just a leap in tourism infrastructure but also a stride in integrating Indigenous heritage into mainstream recreational spaces.
Three years into its planning and feasibility study, the project was recently presented to the District of Hope’s council. Chief James Hobart of the Spuzzum First Nation, in a letter to the province last year, underscored the resort’s significance. He described it as “the first Indigenous-driven comprehensive all-season mountain resort in B.C.,” highlighting its potential impact on the local First Nations and communities in the Fraser Canyon.
The resort’s strategic location, perched on a ridge above the Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway, is accessible from Highway 1. This positioning is not just geographically advantageous but also symbolically significant, representing a bridge between traditional territories and modern tourism.
The Spuzzum First Nation’s vision for the South Anderson mountain resort is to create a contemporary, world-class destination. The focus is on a variety of outdoor activities, catering to different seasons — skiing and snowboarding in winter, and hiking and mountain biking during summer. Additionally, the resort plans to offer golfing and Indigenous cultural events, enriching the visitor experience.
This project is expected to draw visitors not only from the local Lower Mainland and Fraser Canyon regions but also from international destinations like the Seattle area. The resort’s location, coupled with the region’s favorable snowfall and winter conditions, positions it as a future hotspot in mountain resort development.
Projected visitor numbers are promising, with an expected rise in winter skier visits from 150,000 in the first year to 400,000 by the tenth year. Summer visitations are anticipated to be on par with these figures, indicating a year-round tourism boost.
The resort’s expansive plan covers 7,415 hectares and includes the construction of 11 lifts in three phases. This scale is designed to accommodate a daily capacity of 9,000 skiers. The development also includes plans for over 12,000 beds, an RV park, and staff accommodations, addressing a broad spectrum of visitor needs.
For campground and outdoor hospitality operators, this development presents new opportunities for collaboration and service expansion. The resort’s comprehensive approach to outdoor recreation aligns with the growing demand for diverse and immersive outdoor experiences.
The project’s proximity to a previously proposed but unsuccessful Coquihalla mountain resort highlights the evolving landscape of the outdoor recreation industry in British Columbia. The Spuzzum First Nation’s initiative, submitted last spring, stands as a testament to the resilience and innovation in this sector.