Sightseeing and hiking reopens to public following Blackcomb Mountain fire

WHISTLER, BC, August 2, 2009 – The Ministry of Forests & Range and the Whistler Fire Department have declared Blackcomb Mountain safe to re-open to guests for operations today. The Crystal Ridge fire, located on Blackcomb Mountain, is now 85% contained. It is in an isolated area on the north flank of the mountain that does not interfere with the summer operating area on Blackcomb. Ministry fire crews, with additional support provided by Whistler Blackcomb and the Resort Municipality of Whistler, have deployed significant resources to contain the fire, and feel that 100% containment will be achieved by the end of day Sunday.

With no critical infrastructure at risk on Blackcomb and no evacuation alerts issued for the area, all parties are confident in allowing limited operations to resume on Blackcomb Mountain. However, we remind everyone that this fire is still not fully contained nor controlled. This is still a very active fire.

“Getting the approval to operate today is really terrific news,” says Doug Forseth, senior vice president of operations at Whistler Blackcomb. “We are incredibly appreciative of the efforts of all parties, in particular the Ministry of Forests & Range and the Whistler Fire Department. It has been a tense few days and their work and leadership has been phenomenal.”

Blackcomb Mountain operations today will include access for uploading and downloading via the Wizard Express and Solar Coaster chairs from the Blackcomb base, sightseeing around the Blackcomb PEAK 2 PEAK terminal and Rendezvous, as well as the Alpine Walk hiking trail located on the southwest side of the mountain. Rendezvous and Christine’s restaurants will also be operational.

Whistler Mountain has remained open, including access to the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, throughout the last few days. Sightseeing, hiking and mountain biking on Whistler Mountain are available, with some restrictions to the high alpine hiking trails such as the High Note and Singing Pass trails. Access to the Overlord trail on Blackcomb will be similarly restricted. As well, the Crystal Ridge fire area is still an active worksite and entry into this area is strictly prohibited.

“With the busy long weekend upon us, having the ability to open up Blackcomb again to our guests will relieve some of the pressure on the Whistler Mountain infrastructure, and provide an optimal guest experience,” continues Forseth.

Guests are reminded that due to the extreme fire hazard, the province of BC has issued a Voluntary Backcountry Restriction and requests all residents and visitors to BC to adhere to the advisory and exercise extreme caution on both mountains. Please obey all posted signs and trail closures and report any sign of smoke or fire by calling 604-938-FIRE.

For full details on the re-opening of Blackcomb Mountain, please visit us online at http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/whatsopen or call 1-800-766-0449.

Consistently ranked as North America's top ski and snowboard resort, Whistler Blackcomb elevates summer adventure to new heights. On-mountain activities include high alpine hiking and aerial sightseeing via the world’s longest continuous lift system featuring the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola; epic riding in North America’s number one ranked lift-accessed mountain bike park, and summer skiing and riding on Blackcomb’s Horstman Glacier. In the valley, sparkling mountain lakes and beaches, four championship golf courses, and Whistler’s vibrant pedestrian village filled with restaurants, patios, cafés, shops, galleries and spas are all surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Located a scenic two-hour drive north of Vancouver up the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway, this all season resort is truly spectacular by nature. Check it out at 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