By: Laura Fylyshtan

Those of us who thought Kelowna was getting an early spring were painfully proven wrong with this most recent downpour of snow. While some of us grudgingly went out to shovel, the majority thought one thing: Big White. The question is, how much does it cost?

Ski resorts like Big White are a huge winter season attraction. And it’s easy to see why. Stunning views, a whole host of activities, and beautiful accommodations with a hot tub as the cherry on top, make for a great getaway.

However, this Okanagan adventure comes at a cost that goes beyond the price of a ski lift. Noriko Ozawa, an economics professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, says, “when we measure cost we have to consider the value of the other activity you have to give up. For example, we have a limited amount of time. With 24 hours in a day there is never enough time to do everything you want to do therefore, you have to choose one of many alternatives. What you give up by choosing to go skiing has to be part of the cost. Therefore, economists use the concept of opportunity cost which consists of explicit and implicit costs, in order to measure the true cost.”

Explicit cost, include things like the price of a ski pass, whereas implicit costs could be things like the money you could have earned working or the enjoyment of having a relaxing day at home.

The first cost you might consider when you decide to hit the slopes is the price of a lift ticket. A one-day ticket at Big White ranges from $54 to $95. If you’re not an avid skier, you might also need to rent some gear, that’s another $10 to $45. Add on top of this the food you’ll likely buy, the costs of gas to there and back and the cost really begin to add up!

Then there are the less direct costs. Before you can really enjoy a day out on the mountain you need to invest in some outerwear. I’m talking hats, mitts, snow pants, jackets, base layers, and mid-layers.

Now if still think the benefit of skiing outweighs the costs, fantastic, hit the slopes and hit them often. While the upfront cost of purchasing the gear and a seasons pass may seem daunting, the cost spread out over multiple visits seems far more affordable.

Unfortunately, opportunity costs are not so divisible. Each day you take off work means forgone wages. Each weekend you spend skiing means not getting groceries done, or if you’re a student, not getting any studying done.

The higher the value you give to the activity you are giving up, the higher the opportunity costs. It may be that going skiing is worth the opportunity cost of not having a Harry Potter marathon but not worth the cost of missing a baking day with your kids.

So, the next time you think about making the trip up to Big White, consider, what is the true cost?