WHISTLER, BC, November 13, 2008 – Winter is upon us. With 27cm of snow hitting the slopes in the last seven days and only 13 days until opening day, Whistler Blackcomb is hard at work preparing for its most exciting season yet. The PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, opening December 12, is the next step in revolutionizing the guest experience. Meanwhile, other on-mountain improvements to the Nintendo Terrain Park, mountaintop dining and trail maintenance, will make the Whistler Blackcomb experience even more memory.
And the countdown is on to the best deal of the winter 2008/09 season. With a bit of advanced planning, guests can save big on Lift & Lodging packages all season long. Winter packages booked by November 15, 2008 are currently offering savings up to 30%. Families can save even more, as kids 12 and under can stay, ski and rent and get airport transfers free. When factoring in the US exchange rate which is currently at $1.23 CAD, US visitors can save an additional 19% on their vacation to Whistler Blackcomb.
“This is going to be an unprecedented winter for Whistler Blackcomb,” says Dave Brownlie president and chief operating officer of Whistler Blackcomb. “The grand opening of the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola will forever change the skiing experience here. This adds to the momentum and excitement of the one-year countdown to the 2010 Games. We’re heading into one unforgettable season.”
PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola
On December 12, 2008, the dream to link Whistler and Blackcomb mountains becomes a reality with the grand opening of the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. The world-record breaking gondola is the first lift of its kind in North America and is destined to become Canada’s newest tourism icon. Now, skiers and riders will have double the terrain options with the short 11-minute journey across the valley. Sightseers can also enjoy the experience and views by traveling on the world’s longest continuous lift system all year long.
The Fitzsimmons Creek Hydro Project
Whistler Blackcomb launched a very exciting green energy project earlier this year. Construction began last summer on the Fitzsimmons Creek Hydro Project, which upon completion, will offset the total annual energy consumption at Whistler Blackcomb. The project, located entirely within Whistler Blackcomb’s operating area, will produce 33.5 gigawatt hours of hydro electricity per year – the equivalent of powering the year-round resort’s winter and summer operations, including 38 lifts, 17 restaurants, 269 snowguns and countless other buildings and services. The 7.5 megawatt hydro project is being developed by Fitzsimmons Creek Hydro Limited Partnership, part of a joint venture between Innergex Renewable Energy and Ledcor Power Group.
Countdown to 2010
The one-year countdown to 2010 hits Whistler this February. The entire village will celebrate with live entertainment and a festive atmosphere. Guests visiting this winter will have a chance to experience Olympic glory before the Games. The men's skiing will take place on the well-respected Dave Murray Downhill, while women's skiing takes place on a new course, which starts on Wild Card, cuts across to Franz's Run and connects at the bottom of the Dave Murray Downhill. All course work is complete and these runs are available for all to enjoy this winter.
Still, it will be business as usual at Whistler Blackcomb for guests planning to hit the slopes in 2010. More than 90 per cent of the mountain will be open to the public during winter 2009/2010.
Nintendo Terrain Parks
This winter, skiers and riders will be able to travel from the park gate on Blackcomb to the park gate on Whistler in just 11 minutes via the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Whistler Blackcomb has spent a total of $748,000 to improve the Nintendo Terrain Parks.
Whistler Blackcomb purchased two 400 Park Bully cats for park grooming at a cost of $339,000 each. The terrain parks department has spent $40,000 this year on building new rails and re-designing old ones. They’ve also added two giant PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola cable spools to the arsenal of industrial-style jib features in the Nintendo Habitat Terrain Park. There will be more than 100+ features spread across the five Nintendo Terrain Parks.
Park skiers and riders will also notice that the Habitat Terrain Park gate on Whistler Mountain has been expanded higher up the mountain, adding more acreage to the park and less congestion at the entrance.
Whistler Blackcomb has also spent $30,000 re-contouring the Nintendo Superpipe in response to guest suggestions. The project included widening, deepening and improving the drop in. The walls are now smoother and more even for an improved pipe experience.
Whistler Blackcomb has spent $1.1 million on five brand new Piston Bully grooming cats, including one 600 Polar Winch cat and two 600 Polars.
The Slope Maintenance crews have spent a total of $300,000 making trail improvements and manicuring over 600 acres of trails. Whistler Blackcomb has improved the entrance to Blackcomb Glacier, providing easier access for skiers, riders and groomers. Other Blackcomb improvements include brush cutting on Jersey Cream and 7th Heaven to create smoother lines. On Whistler, crews have completed brush cutting on Pale Face and in the Garbanzo Chair lift line, while also widening the top of Symphony Express chair, creating more viewpoints and a better space for groups to gather.
Food and Beverage
Whistler Blackcomb’s Food and Beverage department has updated some of its mouth-watering menu items and is undertaking new sustainability initiatives.
Pemberton’s Across The Creek Organics, is growing approximately 25,000 Russet potatoes exclusively for Whistler Blackcomb’s baked potato stations at Glacier Creek and the Roundhouse Lodge. Steep's and Christine's will be using their Yukon Gold varieties.
Meanwhile, the Food and Beverage department is also working with Coca-Cola to grow its existing recycling program and to encompass other areas of waste reduction, including growing its organic waste disposal program. Currently, Whistler Blackcomb’s restaurants recycle 80 per cent of their beverage containers.
Steeps Grill is working with numerous local suppliers and growers to feature the best of British Columbia, and now offers a list featuring BC wines exclusively. The Steep's wine program, will feature Vincor’s famous BC wineries and will represent these special products through features, tastings, and wine après. Whistler Blackcomb has joined Eat BC and engaged the Vancouver Aquariums’ Ocean Wise program in a quest for local and sustainable food. To round out the transformation, Steep's has a brand new furniture package on its way.
Whistler Mountain’s Chic Pea will continue to offer Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, and is also expanding its BBQ menu items. Meanwhile, Raven’s Nest is serving up toasted artisan sandwiches.
On Blackcomb, Horstman Hut is introducing a new European alpine-inspired menu, featuring hearty goulash and soups, fresh baked breads, select cured meats and cheeses, apple and pear crustados, and daily brewed mulled wine & apple cider.
Evolution Whistler opened July 1, 2008. Located a short walking distance from the Creekside Gondola, this contemporary condominium-style hotel has 70 rooms - a mix of one- and two-bedroom suites, plus one spacious three-bedroom penthouse suite. Developed by Intrawest Placemaking and represented by Lodging Ovations, Evolution Whistler is pet friendly and offers complimentary wireless internet. Visit evolutionwhistler.ca for more information.
Early Booking offers are a great way for guests to get the most for their money. By booking before November 15, guests can save up to 30% on lift and lodging packages. Families can save even more as kids 12 and under can stay, ski, rent and get airport transfers free. Check out whistlerblackcomb.com for more information.
Consistently ranked as North America's top ski and snowboard resort, Whistler Blackcomb continues to raise the level of mountain excitement for its guests. With the landmark PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola opening December 12, the return of the popular Symphony Amphitheatre, and a host of other on-mountain improvements, this winter promises to be one of the most exciting yet. Located a scenic two-hour drive north of Vancouver, Canada up the spectacular 'Sea to Sky' Highway, this resort is home to Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, which boast one vertical mile of incredible skiing. 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 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