British Columbia's Wiegele Envisions New Ski Area

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Blue River, BC, Canada Jan. 5--If you've caught any of the ski films lately, then you know all about Mike Wiegele. The outfit The British Columbia Assets and Lands and Lands Corporation has agreed to allow Saddle Mountain Resort Ltd. (a.k.a. Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing) to develop a master plan proposing a new ski resort at Saddle Mountain, BC. The Master Plan, developed by Brent Harley and Associates Inc., has been submitted to the Province of British Columbia for inter-agency and public review.

The main vision of the Saddle Mountain Resort Ltd. is to create a lift operated powder skiing resort with a variety of residential and recreational facilities. The proposed development would include two base areas, the upper located on the west facing, mid-mountain bench overlooking the North Thompson River and the town of Blue River, and the lower at the bottom of the north side of Saddle Mountain.

Adjacent to the base areas, will be 140 hotel rooms, 70 lodge suites, 90 ski-in-ski-out single family homes, 32 ski-in-ski-out estate single family homes, 19 heli-estate single family homes, and 97 condo-hotel units.

The ski area itself will offer 825 acres of terrain accessed by three major lifts and two beginner tow-lifts. The terrain will be split into three different sections including open bowl skiing, widely spaced glade skiing, and tightly spaced glade skiing.

"The design of the whole project is to create an exclusive, low density resort," said Mike Wiegele's Chief Financial Officer, Peter Greenway. "We'd like to be able to introduce beginner skiers to powder skiing through a good training process. Some of the terrain we will offer at Saddle Mountain will create that opportunity."

Much like an exclusive golf coarse, Saddle Mountain expects to service only 200-300 skiers a day who make advanced reservations. Guests will have the opportunity to ski close to 4,300 vertical feet of fresh powder on virtually empty slopes. Saddle Mountain will give heli-skiers the option to ski lift-accessed runs whenever the helicopters are grounded because of inclement weather.

Until the master plan gets approval from the Province of British Columbia, it is unconfirmed when it will be completed and what the cost will actually be. Sources speculate the project will cost upwards of $68 million ($100 million Canadian).