Coronavirus: Big White issues public plea to stay away after man suffers back injury

It’s almost been a month since Big White Ski Resort closed due to coronavirus concerns, yet an alleged outdoor scofflaw needed rescuing on Friday.

According to Big White, a young man was involved in an accident and is currently in Kelowna General Hospital with a serious back injury.

The resort said the accident happened at its terrain park, which features amenities for bordercross but also has jumps, rails and a half-pipe.

“We, as the mountain operator, have done everything humanly possible to ask people to stay away, posted signage, used media strategies, including social, email and word-of-mouth, and still the general public are not listening,” the resort said in a press release.

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Big White said friends of the man called 911, with Big White’s fire department responding.

The resort said first aid included a backboard and neckbrace, with rescue members physically walking him out to the road and B.C. Ambulance then transporting him to hospital.

“If we truly respect our community and those on the front line that are doing so much to fight on our behalf COVID-19, we once again ask you why?” said Big White said in a press release.

“We ask you to stay away from Big White Ski Resort. The mountain is closed, the creeks have started to run, the snow is shifting, and it is simply dangerous to be out on a mountain that is not patrolled, groomed, fenced, or managed at this time.

“Please do not venture out on Big White Mountain,” the statement continued. “You are just putting yourself in danger, and first responders, plus those on the front lines in a position that is not necessary if they are required to provide you with care.”

Big White senior vice-president Michael J. Ballingball said the incident is “extremely frustrating and, quite frankly, unacceptable.”

“So many of us are trying to do the right thing by staying home to bend the curve, but there are a few that break the rules and now tax the health care system,” he added.

Big White closed on March 16.

“The message from the mountain is simple,” said the resort. “We’re closed, please stay away until it is safe to open again.”

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