Whistler celebrates 40th anniversary and Blackcomb’s 25th anniversary this year!
Whistler Blackcomb has announced plans for the 05/06 winter season. Building on the 1,100 acres of new terrain and major capital investment from last season, this year’s plans include advancements in snowmaking and summer grooming, an evolution of the resort experience for families and beginners, and breaking ground on theWhistler Sliding Centre for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
“For the 05/06 season we are focusing on delivering exceptional value toour guests through significant capital investments,” says Stuart Rempel,Senior VP of Marketing and Sales at Whistler Blackcomb. “As a resort, westrive to constantly increase the value of our guest experience throughlearning and feedback gathered each year. In this, our anniversary year,we are extremely optimistic about the future and expect theseinnovations will help tell our story to guests across the globe.”Whistler Blackcomb spends approximately $13-15 million each summer oninvestment and maintenance for the upcoming winter season.
Focus on Families
A strong focus to further improve the experience for families andbeginners will be introduced this year, ranging from innovative packageoffers to changes in terrain layout.
* A new Tube Park will be introduced at Base II on BlackcombMountain offering an exhilarating snow sliding experience throughout theday and into the night for family fun for all ages. Serviced by aconveyor lift, with six to seven different sliding chutes, further plansfor the Park will be revealed shortly.
*The Whistler Mountain Family Zone will increase in size thisyear and is being moved to Ego Bowl, separated by gates from the runabove. This move will separate the Family Zone from the entrance to theWhistler Mountain Habitat Terrain Park, creating better flow for each ofthe user groups – advanced skiers and riders heading into the TerrainPark, and families with children and/or beginners heading into theFamily Zone. The Family Zone includes favourites such as Ego Bowl,Enchanted Forest, Bean Sprout, Cougar Run and Lower Emerald Lift Lineproviding variety for all skill levels within the family.
*Ski outs on Blackcomb are being improved to create wider runswith more gradual slopes to help ease end of day traffic as guests headdown to Whistler Village.
*Discover Whistler Days will be introduced to offer children andadults 50% off Ski and Snowboard School multi-day group lessonsthroughout the winter during 11 weeks of the season.
*Holiday packages booked by October 31 will include free adultSki and Snowboard School group lessons for the first day on the mountain- delivering expert coaching and a guided tour of Whistler Blackcomb’s8,171 acres of terrain.
“One thing that was reinforced through last year’s inaugural Beginner’sWeek was the great value the Ski and Snowboard School delivers to ourguests,” says Rempel. “Many of our guests signed up to take advantage ofthe guiding and coaching our pros offered. Beginner’s Week saw over3,000 never-evers sign up for ski and snowboard lessons at significantdiscounts. These learnings have resulted in the creation of DiscoverWhistler Days and the free first day lessons with package holidays. Welook forward to seeing how these offers will impact our guests, as wellas draw new ones to the sport.”
Increasing Snow Reliability Early and Late Season
Investments this year in snowmaking infrastructure and summer groomingwill pay off in increased efficiency and productivity of snowmaking, andimproved conditions on the lower mountain and early season runs.
*Extensive summer grooming across both mountains is designed toenable ski runs to open early season with less snow coverage, andimprove snow coverage and skier/rider flow throughout the winter – greatnews for guests planning trips at US Thanksgiving, and regional guestswho can take advantage of early season hotel rates and lift ticketprices.
*Works taking place to improve the ski out from the BlackcombGlacier.
*Advancements in snowmaking technology as well as increasedcapacity on Whistler Mountain will be in place by November, includingthe addition of automatic guns to improve snowmaking efficiency.Whistler Mountain will see ongoing investment in snowmaking over thenext four years as the site of the alpine skiing events during the 2010Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
“Our crews learned a lot about the mountains and what it really takes tokeep them going, through the challenging weather we experienced lastwinter,” says Bob Dufour, VP Operations at Whistler Blackcomb. “Thisyear’s planned improvements are partially due to those learnings andwill help us to deliver more consistent terrain and snow conditions fromopening day in mid-November to closing day next June.”
Road to 2010
With four and a half years to go until Whistler and Vancouver host the2010 Winter Games, preparations are well underway at Whistler Blackcomb,a venue for the event.
*The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic andParalympic Winter Games (VANOC) broke ground in June on the WhistlerSliding Centre located on the lower flank of Blackcomb Mountain. TheWhistler Sliding Centre will house the Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeletonevents and will have a proposed venue capacity of 11,650. The legacy ofthe Games will live on following 2010 as the Whistler Sliding Centrewill be available for training and public use. Scheduled for completionin 2008, the Whistler Sliding Centre will host ‘test’ internationalcompetitions pre-2010.
*The men’s and women’s downhill will be designed this year andimprovements at Whistler Mountain (Creekside) will begin in summer 2006.
*Whistler Resort will celebrate alongside Torino as Italy hoststhe 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games February 10-26 and March10-19. Following the Games, the Olympic flag will be handed over to theVancouver Organizing Committee and brought back to Canada as thecountdown really begins.
“No false starts here,” says Arthur DeJong, Mountain Planner forWhistler Blackcomb. “Venue construction has begun on schedule with fullmomentum, giving us full confidence in reaching our targeted completiondates in time for 2010.”
The 1,100 acres of new terrain that opened up at Whistler Blackcombduring the 04/05 season will continue to benefit the resort in 05/06.Peak to Creek offers 400 acres spanning down 5,020 vertical feet – thelongest intermediate run in North America. Flute Bowl was the crownjewel of last season delivering an in-bounds out-of-bounds experience onthe cusp of the spectacular Whistler backcountry. “Even with improvedaccess, ski patrol and avalanche control, Flute was still miles apartfrom the lift-accessed ski runs in terms of the number of skiers andriders out there,” recalls Rempel. “It was soulful and peaceful everyday – a great alternative to the ease of lift-accessed runs.”
With an average annual snowfall of 30 feet or 9.14 metres and thelongest season in North America, Whistler Blackcomb will officially openfor the 05/06 season on November 24.
Whistler Blackcomb presents the World Premiere of Matchstick Production’s “Hit List”: September 15
Opening Day: November 24
25th Anniversary of Blackcomb Mountain: December 6
FIS Snowboard World Cup: December 8-11
Tube Park Official Opening Day: December 16
Discover Whistler Days: Opening – December 18, January 16 – February 12,
February 27 – March 12
Beginner’s Weeks: January 16-31
40th Anniversary of Whistler Mountain: February 4
2006 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Torino: February 10-26 and March10-19
Women’s Week: March 5-11
11th annual TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival: April 14-23
For further information log on to www.WhitstlerBlackcomb.com or call1-800-766-0449 or locally at 604.932.3434.
Whistler Blackcomb is an Intrawest resort. Intrawest Corporationis a world leader in destination resorts andadventure travel. The company has interests in 10 resorts at NorthAmerica’s most popular mountain destinations, including WhistlerBlackcomb, a host venue for the 2010 Winter Olympic and ParalympicGames. .932.3434.
Whistler Blackcomb is an Intrawest resort. Intrawest Corporationis a world leader in destination resorts andadventure travel. The company has interests in 10 resorts at NorthAmerica’s most popular mountain destinations, including WhistlerBlackcomb, a host venue for the 2010 Winter Olympic and ParalympicGames.