Proposal in works to triple Tabor ski hill's size

·3 min read

Tabor Mountain Ski Resort is seeking the provincial government's go-ahead to triple the size of its footprint in the name of converting the site into a year-round destination for skiers, snowboarders and mountain bikers.

The proposal comes in the form of a draft master plan, submitted in March to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operation's mountain resorts branch. The proposal must also go through a rezoning process at the Fraser-Fort George Regional District.

The expansion would provide enough room to increase the number of ski runs to 31 from the current 20 and the number of mountain bike runs to 40 from 15 while also including the introduction of cross-country mountain bike trails.

It also would include room for an RV park, tent camping and an archery range.

A new lodge to replace the one destroyed in a February 2018 fire is also in the plan.

The expansion would "make use of a large amount of area that has been held in reserve for Tabor for a number of years," resort manager Conrad Jaye says in the plan.

"With more rounded winter and summer activities Tabor will be able to address and respond to unpredictable climate changes in stride, providing for much needed operational flexibility in order to stay in business and continue to be available for the public," he says.

The resort, 20 kilometres east of Prince George, has not been operating since 2018, in part due to a lack of snow.

The RV park would be located on a strip fronting the south side of Highway 16 and to the east of the ski runs and tent camping would be on land along the highway's north side.

If the proposal is approved and goes ahead as planned, the expansion is expected to draw 700 more skier visits on weekends and 50-200 visits by mountain bikers per day. RV pad rentals would range from 60 to 100 per day and tent camping would fill five to 100 pads, depending on the time of year and whether events are being held.

Norm Clark of the Hickory Wing Ski Touring Club, which uses and maintains trails on the non-motorized side of the Tabor Mountain Recreation Area, said he is not happy with the proposed location of the RV park because it would eliminate a portion of the trail system.

"The best solution for us is they don't put the campground there and they put it across the highway, where they're already saying they're going to put a smaller campground for tents," Clark said.

As for the rest of the expansion, Clark said it's hard to tell from the map provided in the submission how it would affect the trails.

"It's probably a couple areas where it's not used too, too much except for maybe the trail going up to Ilse's Inn," Clark said in reference to a shelter about two kilometres south of the resort's existing boundary.

Clark said he found out about the plan through the Ministry of Forest's recreation sites and trails branch and that the resort has not yet been in contact with him.

In the proposal, Jaye said trails would have to be reworked to dissuade motorized and non-alpine users from accessing the maintained runs. Conversely, he said the trail system would also act as a draw for those using the RV park and campgournd.

"It is our expectation to work with TMRS (Tabor Mountain Recreation Society) to promote the trail system and our RV park and campground together, increasing access and users of the system," Clark said.

While the original resort was grandfathered when the regional district's current zoning came into effect for the area, Jaye said a rezoning application will have to be submitted to deal with the changes. The process includes a public hearing.

Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen