B$Z: Whistler Blackcomb's Passion for Snow
PASSION FOR SNOW FUELS WHISTLER BLACKCOMB’S EXCITEMENT FOR 2010.2011
Highlights this season Include: Terrain Parks Revitalization, Environmental Initiatives, and increased focus on Social Media
With early season snow already appearing on the mountain, skiers and snowboarders around the world are anxiously awaiting the 2010.2011 season, particularly after last winter’s record breaking snowfall. As the second snowiest season on record, with a total snowfall accumulation of 1,492cm or 49 feet, the 2009.2010 winter brought Whistler Blackcomb’s average annual snowfall to 1,024cm or 33.6 feet. Meteorologists are also predicting a La Niña winter which means colder than normal temperatures and consistent heavy precipitation across Western Canada
“A great long-term forecast and the continued afterglow of the 2010 Winter Games are setting the stage for a great winter ahead,” says Dave Brownlie, Whistler Blackcomb’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “Our focus this year includes exciting new environmental initiatives, continued food and beverage enhancements, improvements to our terrain parks and an aggressive social media strategy centered around our Love Snow contest.”
Highlights for the 2010.2011 Winter Season
With the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games a resounding success, Whistler Blackcomb invites the world to experience the legacies and magic of the Games.
• The Official Alpine Skiing Venue, which includes the Dave Murray Downhill and the Women’s Course on Whistler Mountain which the Olympians and Paralympians competed on, are open to the public for skiing and snowboarding.
• Snowmaking capabilities at Whistler Blackcomb have more than doubled due to a four-year partnership and a $17.5 million investment by VANOC. Guests will enjoy improved early-season snow coverage as well as longer lasting ski outs as the season winds down.
• A new addition is the Roundhouse Lodge Olympic Legacy Display, showcasing the achievements of local athletes and Games-time highlights. The display includes athlete stories, photos, Didier Defago’s gold medal winning Rossignol skis and a wood carved replica of the medals podium for guest’s Olympic photo opportunities.
• The Sea to Sky Highway, greatly improved during the lead up to the Games, is now a faster, safer and more scenic route from Vancouver to Whistler.
Terrain Parks and Grooming
Whistler Blackcomb’s Nintendo Terrain Parks crew is bringing park riding to the forefront by adding an Olympic-sized Superpipe to the mix. Crews are widening and straightening the Superpipe’s fall-line for better riding and to accommodate the 22-foot Global Pipe Cutter.
Whistler Blackcomb is also partnering with Arena Snowparks for rail fleet production and the 15-foot mini pipe returns to Blackcomb Mountain due to popular demand. Crews are also improving the Nintendo Terrain Park on Whistler Mountain.
Park preparations began in early September with four new snow tower guns set up on Blackcomb Mountain. The snowguns will increase snowmaking productivity 75 per cent in the park, allowing features to open to the public even earlier in the season.
The Whistler Blackcomb Parks event calendar has been modified to showcase all aspects of park riding, including pipe, snowcross and rails throughout the season.
Whistler Blackcomb is replacing four grooming cats with the new Piston Bully 600 snow cats, two of which are equipped with winches for grooming steeper and more technical terrain. Whistler Blackcomb grooms 1,200 to 1,400 acres of terrain each night, more than any other resort in North America.
Food and Beverage
New this year are Euro Snack kiosks located on both mountains, serving Liege Waffles and European hot dogs served in crusty baguettes. In addition, the newly re-opened Raven's Nest Restaurant will feature fresh Artisan sandwiches and a great selection of soups and salads. Other new menu items to look forward to at Whistler Blackcomb’s existing restaurants include:
• Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine at Rendezvous Lodge
• New Artisan sandwiches, salads, soups and stews at the Rendezvous and Roundhouse Lodges
• A Latin American inspired menu at Merlin’s Bar at the base of Blackcomb
• Hot carved-to-order sandwiches at the Horstman Hut
• New paninis and made-to-order salads at Pika’s
In the continued quest for quality, Whistler Blackcomb’s Food and Beverage teams are committed to sourcing the finest in local and regional ingredients, while delivering healthy options and exciting new flavours to our valued guests.
Whistler Blackcomb is stocking this year’s rental fleet with over 3,000 new sets of high performance skis and snowboards, 2,500 boots and 500 sets of beginner skis.
A state-of-the art Montana robotic tuning machine is being added to the Blackcomb Daylodge, which has the capacity to handle 40 skis and boards per hour, ensuring Whistler Blackcomb’s rental fleet is always in top condition and guests’ personal gear is tuned to perfection.
In retail, Whistler Blackcomb will be putting an emphasis on children’s gear and outerwear at all retail locations and is opening a number of stores and demo centre locations:
• A new North Face store has been opened in Deer Lodge with an expanded product line that includes outdoor equipment, footwear, tents, sleeping bags and backpacks.
• A new Columbia Store is opening in Whistler Village with an accompanying children’s store in the Blackcomb Daylodge.
• A new 400-square-foot Spyder concept section has been launched in the Can-Ski Village location.
• Two new demo centres; The Burton Demo Test Ride Centre will be set up in the existing Burton store while, a new demo and repair centre will open next to the Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb Mountain.
Snow School Discover Whistler Days for the 2010.2011 winter season are a great way to save, offering up to 30 per cent off select ski and snowboard lessons. The 2010.2011 Discover Whistler Days are scheduled Opening Day to December 17, January 17 to February 18 and March 26 to April 10, 2011.
Due to popular demand, Whistler Kids Snow School will offer snowboard lessons for children as young as four years old. The program includes a mini terrain park at the Children’s Learning Centre and new snowboards specially designed for little shredders. New free-ride camps, sponsored by Showcase Snowboard Surf and Skate Shop will also be available this winter.
The Whistler Valley Snowboard Club is launching a competitors package for youth and adult members interested in competing and traveling. Members start the season with dry-land training involving circuit and trampoline. During the winter, high school athletes have the ability to schedule training during the week in cooperation with the Whistler Secondary School and are enrolled in the Sports School program.
For advanced and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, Whistler Blackcomb Snow School is adding half-day Summit Sessions (group lessons) and Supergroup (semi-private) lessons in the mornings, in the alpine on both Blackcomb and Whistler. These half-day lessons were previously only available in the afternoon.
New environmental initiatives include three energy conservation projects that will represent over 1.3 million kilowatt hours (kWh) in electrical savings, or the equivalent amount of power it takes to run 74 homes in British Columbia for one year. Whistler Blackcomb already saves more than 4.5 million kWh per year through its existing programs.
The energy conservation projects include: a behavioral program in partnership with the province’s energy supplier, BC Hydro, to reduce energy use in all on-mountain buildings; Continuous Optimization program at the Roundhouse Lodge to save an estimated seven per cent in energy; and an efficient lighting project in Whistler Blackcomb’s staff housing.
Launched in December 2009, the Fitzsimmons Creek Renewable Energy Project continues to be an incredible asset. This micro hydro project, located under the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola on Whistler Blackcomb, was built in partnership with Innergex Inc and Ledcor Power Inc. and produces the equivalent of Whistler Blackcomb's annual energy demand.
Snow is the theme for this year’s Whistler Blackcomb contest. Running through to February 28, 2011 the Love Snow contest celebrates Whistler Blackcomb’s greatest passion: snow. Guests are invited to show Whistler Blackcomb why they love show by submitting a short paragraph with the option to add a photo. Contest entry is on Facebook, whistlerblackcomb.com/lovesnow, or through traditional paper ballots at participating Whistler Blackcomb locations and ski and snowboard shows including Toronto, Vancouver and Seattle. On the line is a trip for two to Whistler Blackcomb for winter 2011.2012, including the following prizing:
• Round-trip airfare for two to Vancouver, BC from any major airport in North America
• Five nights accommodation at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler
• A Whistler Heli-Skiing day adventure for two
• A Crystal Hut Fondue evening for two on Blackcomb Mountain with Canadian Snowmobile Adventures
• Lift tickets for two for four days
More info on Love Snow is available on Facebook.com/whistlerblackcomb.
Whistler Blackcomb kicked off the 2010.2011 season with the launch of a new social media-focused page called The Movement. The page aggregates ski and snowboard industry news, information about Whistler, photos and videos and connects guests to Whistler Blackcomb’s main social media channels. View The Movement by visiting whistlerblackcomb.com/movement Tune into Whistler Blackcomb’s social networks: Facebook.com/whistlerblackcomb, Twitter @whistlerblckcmb