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Metro Vancouver skiers flock to B.C. Interior amid dismal snow conditions at home

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Skiers and snowboarders from British Columbia's Lower Mainland flocked to the province's Interior over the long weekend due to dismal snow conditions at Metro Vancouver's local ski hills.

Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna was at full capacity due to the influx of skiers from B.C.'s South Coast.

"This weekend has been one of our busiest weekends of the last couple years," Trevor Hanna, vice-president of hospitality at Big White, told CTV News on Monday.

"It's definitely busier than it was last Family Day and the reason why, we think, obviously, is the fact there's no snow in the Lower Mainland, unfortunately."

The Okanagan resort's terrain was fully open to skiers over the weekend while Metro Vancouver mountains have struggled to hang onto what little snow they have amid warm temperatures and heavy rains at times.

"It's driven everyone into the Interior, and the Interior mountains have been very successful with the conditions so far," Hanna said. "We're full this weekend. Our accommodation is full, a lot of our private accommodation is full."

"We probably have in excess of 15,000 people sleeping on the mountain at any given time," he added. "We have some of the best conditions in the province, if not Western Canada, going on right now."

North Vancouver resident Jade Christie was one of several Lower Mainland residents who told CTV News they didn't mind making the five-hour drive into the Interior in search of snow.

"There are no conditions in Vancouver – there's no snow. So a lot of people are coming into the Okanagan to get some turns in," Christie said.

"Yesterday was beautiful. And I think there's actually snow in the forecast tonight so we're going to get some night-skiing in and try to get some fresh tracks."

Given the favourable conditions, staff at Big White have already decided to stretch their ski season into mid-April.

"We're now approaching an almost 200-centimetre base so we've actually extended our season to April 14," Hanna said.

"We expect conditions to get even better than they are now. Typically we'll have some of our largest precipitation days near the end of February and into March so what you see now is only going to get better."

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