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Zincton prepares to take centre stage as it seeks approval for backcountry ski hill status

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
October 21st, 2021

The region’s potential new backcountry skiing destination will reveal all in a virtual open house Thursday night.

Zincton will host the open house (register online at with formal proposal presentations from the province and Team Zincton starting at 5 p.m.

According to the website people can ask questions about the tenure application and get the answers they have been seeking.

Zincton gets it done

The proposal is unique, just the Goat Pass and Slocan valley region is that is contained in it.

Zincton is an inclusive lift-assisted ski area with backcountry skiing, with what will be the lowest density ski area in the world if it comes to pass.

The Zincton village is located on private land, not on the tenured land that is part of the proposal.

Zincton village will occupy about 70 acres of the private parcel of land, with the lift company only running lifts, safety, roads and reservations.

Several amenities are expected to crop up in the village, with some commercial buildings with residences above. People employed by the mountain could live in on-hill residences.

The gondola up to the village will be no charge for residents and all visitors year-round, with on-hill staff residence accommodation helping reduce housing pressure on nearby communities, Harley explained.

The formal additions

Around five per cent of the wildlife corridor is within the proposed tenure.

“To support this effort, we will establish a summer season 10,000-acre wildlife corridor protection zone,” Harley said through the published formal proposal on the Zincton website.

That means working with existing operators to move away from existing heli-ski and snowcat tenures to human-powered backcountry tenure.

As well, Zincton is expected to phase out pre-existing alpine mountain bike trails, supporting the establishment of low elevation rail trails and wagon roads for biking.

Zincton will also operate electric vehicle buses between Kaslo, Zincton and New Denver, and partner with Silversmith Power and Light in Sandon, supporting a federally “certified green” local electricity producer.

“Zincton will be ‘climate neutral’ starting opening day and every day after,” said Harley in the executive summary in the formal proposal report on the project.

Included in the formal proposal is a science-based analysis and conclusions in the environmental overview.

It was also proposed that the independent, not-for-profit Zincton Institute be established to study the effects of restoring, remediating and regenerating the local ecology.

“Zincton Institute also envisions fostering inclusive music, art and literature from the point of view of an immersive, mountain community experience,” said Harley.

It will also work with the One per cent for the Planet environmental organization and partner to study, plan and execute the remediation and restoration of the contaminated Retallack Mining District.


Giving back to the land

One of the hallmarks of the proposal is the remediation, not development, of the backcountry.

The land in the tenure is public land and cannot be subdivided or sold with very little development on it: a backcountry lodge midway along London Ridge, some glading, and up to seven very small backcountry emergency huts.

Even so, only 20 percent of the land in the tenure will be used for the lift-serviced terrain, with the remainder left alone as backcountry skiing.

Harley said in the proposal that over 200 mining claims reside in the tenure, including the old Retallack Mining District, which existed from 1890 to 1960, before remediation laws existed.

Once it is given the approval to proceed, Zincton has pledged to commit one per cent of its ski revenue to fund a 60-year, $13-million remediation of the contaminated Retallack Mining District.

Categories: General

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