WHISTLER BLACKCOMB WELCOMES THE WORLD TO EXPERIENCE ITS MOST EXCITING SEASON YET

Great savings on accommodation and seasons passes, widespread Olympic spirit and landmark Fitzsimmons Creek Renewable Energy Project highlight the 2009-2010 season

WHISTLER, BC – Olympic spirit is hitting Whistler Blackcomb as the ski resort embarks on its most exciting season yet, which includes the launch of a landmark renewable energy project and continued enhancement of the guest experience. After nearly five decades of Olympic build-up, the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are finally coming to town and Whistler Blackcomb is hosting the men’s and women’s Olympic and Paralympic Alpine Skiing events.

If there’s any time to visit the resort, it’s the 2009.2010 season, when accommodation packages offer great savings, the mountains are expected to be quieter than usual and the Olympic energy is electric.

To mark this momentous season, whistlerblackcomb.com is offering a best price guarantee on its Early Booking Deal. Guests can save up to 39 per cent by booking their vacation by November 15, 2009 and also receive the peace of mind that they are getting the best deal of the year. If guests find a better deal later in the season, Whistler Blackcomb will take care of the difference. Lift and lodging packages start at just $88 CAD per person per night. Visit http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/bookearly for more information.

“This is going to be a monumental winter season for Whistler Blackcomb. Excitement is mounting for the 2010 Winter Games and we are thrilled to showcase our world-class mountains and PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola to the world,” says Stuart Rempel, Senior VP of Marketing and Sales, Whistler Blackcomb. “With our early bird season pass only $1,099 - the lowest price in a decade - and great savings on accommodation packages, there is no better time to visit. It will be a once in a lifetime experience to be at Whistler Blackcomb during such an inspiring time.”

As Whistler Blackcomb prepares to welcome the world this winter, operations crews are putting in extra efforts to ensure that snowmaking infrastructure, lifts, and trails are in top shape for the upcoming season. Meanwhile, the company’s various divisions are demonstrating innovation and leadership as they put the finishing touches on guest programs and products, including a few new and interesting initiatives.

Fitzsimmons Creek Renewable Energy Project

This winter marks the launch of a renewable energy project that will offset the total annual energy consumption at Whistler Blackcomb. The Fitzsimmons Creek Renewable Energy Project will produce 33 gigawatt hours per year - the equivalent amount of energy required to power the ski resort’s winter and summer operations including 38 lifts, 17 restaurants, 270 snowguns and countless other buildings and services.

The Fitzsimmons Creek area is an ideal location for a successful Run-of-River project. The creek has an abundance of water, the necessary vertical drop, it is not a major fish-bearing stream, and the creek water is not used recreationally within the project area.

This summer, crews installed and buried 3.5km of pipeline, which will carry the water from the intake at Fitzsimmons Creek all the way to the powerhouse, near the Whistler Sliding Centre. This month, project crews are doing concrete work on the intake structure, backfilling, grading and seeding for re-growth over the buried pipeline, and erecting the powerhouse. The 450m-long transmission line will also be installed and buried this month. Commissioning and commercial operation date is expected to occur later this fall with the anticipation that the Run-of-River project will be producing power by Christmas.

“The Fitzsimmons Project represents a very meaningful step for us in doing what we can to address climate change inside our own operating footprint,” says Arthur DeJong, Mountain Planning and Environmental Resource Manager, Whistler Blackcomb. “I look forward to the day this winter when we begin to generate power out of the Fitzsimmons Project. It has been a long and challenging road, and we’ve made great gains, but this project is still only one of many steps that we need to make to become truly sustainable.”

Snowmaking

Snowmaking maintenance crews are preparing Whistler Blackcomb’s extensive snowmaking infrastructure for the upcoming season. The network of 270 snowguns converts an astounding amount of water to snow. Imagine an American football field packed with snow that stands 650 feet high. On average, Whistler Blackcomb uses between 130 and 180 million gallons of water per season to produce snow. With the 2010 Games around the corner, the team expects to have the Olympic Downhill Courses race ready by January 1, 2010.

"Whistler Blackcomb has doubled its snowmaking crew, adding additional snowmaking staff who have been hired to work specifically on the Olympic downhill courses. Doubling our manpower will help us keep the slopes in top shape for the public, while preparing the race courses for our New Year’s Day target,” says NaTai Perdue, of the Whistler Blackcomb Snowmaking Maintenance department.

Lift Maintenance

The lift maintenance crew has been working with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games (VANOC) to install a temporary high speed quad chairlift in Creekside. The lift carries approximately 2,800 people per hour and will be used to transport spectators and media to the Alpine Skiing venue during the Winter Games.

Meanwhile, the lift maintenance crew - which recently celebrated two employee trades industry awards - has been conducting routine preventative maintenance on Whistler Blackcomb lifts throughout the summer and into the fall. “Crews put in approximately 50,000 hours of preventative maintenance annually, and much of this work takes place throughout the summer and fall when fewer lifts are running. This ensures we’re ready for opening day on November 26,” says Wayne Wiltse, Whistler Blackcomb’s lift maintenance manager.

Food and Beverage

Whistler Blackcomb’s food and beverage team continues to focus on fresh, regional ingredients as it evolves its menus to reflect guest desire for nutritious, fresh, and high quality products. Locally grown potatoes, trans fat free muffins, 100 per cent Angus Beef Burgers, Ocean Wise fish products, and Organic Seattle's Best Coffee, plus the introduction of Odwalla and Fuse Juices, are all part of the initiative to encourage healthy eating for active lifestyles.

The two full service alpine restaurants, Steeps Grill and Christine’s Restaurant are carving out their own niches with unique mountaintop full service dining experiences. Christine's continues to evolve its menu by serving up gourmet comfort food in response to great guest feedback on the concept last season. Steeps offers a menu that reflects the fine food available in British Columbia and regional wines in flights, by the glass or bottle, as well as the Winemakers' Après series, which is entering its second season. The five après events, hosted by winemakers from BC's award winning wineries, are paired with a delicious five-course meal.

Whistler Blackcomb’s restaurants are also leading the way in sustainable work practices as they work to decrease hydro consumption, and better last year’s recycling and composting efforts that saw waste output decrease by over 46 per cent. Food and beverage also plans to expand its highly successful reusable cup program to Horstman Hut, Crystal Chair and Chic Pea restaurants. By supplying reusable plastic Coca-Cola cold drink cups and Seattle’s Best coffee mugs to the Rendezvous, Roundhouse and Glacier Creek lodge the department reduced its single-use cups by 833,100 cups from 2008 to 2009.

Retail/Rental

Staff are stocking this year’s brand new rental fleet, including 1,700 brand new skis and boards from top brands, such as Salomon, Burton, Rossignol, K2, and Atomic. In addition, there are 1,000 new pairs of boots and 750 sets of brand new kids’ equipment.

Meanwhile, guests can take a memento of the 2010 Games home with them after visiting Whistler Blackcomb’s Olympic store. The 4,500-square-foot Olympic Store, located at 4253 Village Stroll in the Deer Lodge, carries Olympic and Paralympic merchandise from clothing to collectibles to the ever-popular mascots.

Ski and Snowboard School

This year, Whistler Kids and Ride Tribe programs are introducing the FLAIK GPS tracking system. The real-time tracking unit is comprised of a GPS tag worn by skiers and riders that provides extra safety and allows guests to track their day on the mountains. Data includes what runs guests were on and how much vertical they achieved and can help them decide what areas of the mountain they want to visit in the future.

Ski School is launching a brand new teaching DVD, designed as a visual tool to help guests improve their skiing technique. The DVD focuses on turns, ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert, and also includes bonus material on drills and exercises that skiers can practice independently to help bring their skiing to the next level. Guests who take a lesson will receive a discount on the DVD.

And, if guests need even more reasons to visit Whistler Blackcomb this season, here are a few more:

1. The mountains are open - The mountains are fully open outside the Games period and then 90 per cent open to the public during the competition period. Three of the four base areas, accessing both mountains will be open during Games time, and the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola will transport skiers, riders and sightseers between both mountains in just 11 minutes.

2. Create your own fresh tracks - Traditionally, host mountain resorts see fewer skier visits than usual during the Olympic period, which is perfect for those who want to shred.

3. Once in a Lifetime Experience - This is a once in a lifetime experience to capture the Olympic buzz in Whistler. When else will you be able to rub shoulders with world class athletes and cheer on your home team in their quest for Olympic gold?

4. Gain Bragging Rights - Ski or ride the famous Olympic and Paralympic Downhill courses before or after the Games and brag to your friends. Olympians will be racing down those very courses in February and March at more than 120km per hour.

5. No ticket needed to experience the Winter Games - You don’t need an Olympic ticket to be at the heart of the Games. Whistler Live! features free entertainment via a network of outdoor performance sites and programming throughout Whistler Village. Creating an unforgettable Canadian cultural experience for spectators of all ages, Whistler Live! sites include: Whistler Medals Plaza, Town Plaza, Village Common, Village Square, Mountain Square, and Skiers’ Plaza.

For package information, snow and weather reports, and details about visiting Whistler Blackcomb during the Games, please visit whistlerblackcomb.com or call 1-800-766-0449.

Consistently ranked as North America's top ski and snowboard resort, Whistler Blackcomb gets ready to welcome the world in 2010 as a host venue for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. With uninterrupted skiing, riding and sightseeing available throughout the winter, season two of the highly acclaimed PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, and the best deals of the season guaranteed before November 15, Whistler Blackcomb continues to raise the level of mountain excitement for its guests. Located a scenic two-hour drive north of Vancouver, Canada up the spectacular, newly-finished Sea to Sky Highway, this resort is home to Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, which boast one vertical mile of incredible skiing and riding. With over 16 alpine bowls, three glaciers, 200 trails, and 8,171 acres of skiable terrain, the choices of where and what to ski/ride at Whistler Blackcomb from beginner to advanced terrain are staggering. Joined at the base by a vibrant pedestrian village filled with award-winning après bars, restaurants, patios, cafes, shops, galleries and spas, and surrounded by breathtaking scenery, this four-season resort is spectacular. For more information, visit http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com.

About Intrawest ULC

Intrawest is a world leader in experiential destination resorts. The company has interests in ten resorts at North America’s most popular mountain destinations including Whistler Blackcomb, a host venue for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Intrawest network also includes Canadian Mountain Holidays, the largest heli-skiing operation in the world, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Florida and Club Intrawest—a private resort club with locations throughout North America. In addition, Intrawest develops real estate at its resorts and at other locations across North America and in Europe. Intrawest is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more information, visit http://www.intrawest.com


Press Releases