With record snowfall and technical approval, Whistler Blackcomb and VANOC are games-ready

Alpine Skiing courses in top condition with final prep underway for Olympic racing

WHISTLER, BC, Jan. 28, 2010 - With the backdrop of a record snowfall and the blessing of international ski officials, the finishing touches are being applied over the next 16 days to the Olympic alpine ski racing venue. Whistler Blackcomb, host venue for the men's and women's alpine skiing competitions, and consistently rated as one of the top ski and snowboard resorts in the world, is Games-ready -- with an unprecedented 9.9 metres (32 feet) of snow. The first alpine athletes start their training on designated training runs on February 5 and on the Olympic courses on February 10. The first alpine competition is the Men's Downhill on February 13, the first day of Games competition.

"International Olympic Committee delegates recently skied the course and were very pleased with the results," says Tim Gayda, Vice President of Sport, VANOC. "From the beginning of the season, VANOC and Whistler Blackcomb crews have worked hard together to prepare the courses to create a very dense base of snow that involved a massive snowmaking effort. Add to that the incredible amount of natural snow that has fallen in Whistler this season, and we're now ready to deliver an Olympic-class alpine skiing venue that will live up to the reputation that the renowned Dave Murray Downhill course holds the world over. We look forward to debuting the spectacular new woman's course on Franz's Run. VANOC has now taken over the Men's and Women's courses entirely from Whistler Blackcomb ski operations and we're in to the home stretch on our final preparations."

Deep snow at Whistler Blackcomb is not unusual, but reaching the average annual snowfall (10.13 metres/ 33 feet) this early is truly unique. Since snow reporting began in the 1979/80 season, this is the first time that Whistler Blackcomb has received this much snow by the end of January. The prior record was set in 2006/07 when 945 centimetres or 31 feet of snow fell by January 31.

"There is a huge sense of anticipation and excitement throughout the resort right now as we prepare with VANOC to open our doors to the world," says Dave Brownlie, President and Chief Operating Officer of Whistler Blackcomb. "Whistler Blackcomb is looking its best and the snow conditions on the mountains are outstanding. The FIS course inspectors provided great feedback last week, and the men's and women's courses, primed to host Olympic champions, are now fully in the hands of VANOC."

Whistler Blackcomb remains 90 per cent open throughout the Games with base access via the Whistler Village Gondola, Fitzsimmons Express, Excalibur Gondola and Wizard Express. Although the Creekside Gondola will be closed February 1 to March 1, a ski-out will remain available via Peak to Creek. For those who don't have tickets to Creekside Olympic alpine events, mountain guests can watch some of the Olympic skiing action via course-side viewing pods, free with a lift ticket. Full information is available online at http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/Olympics.

To check out everything there is to know about Whistler Blackcomb, including highlights throughout the Games from the resort's snowy slopes, check out http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com.

To learn more about the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and particularly the alpine ski events, go to http://www.vancouver2010.com/olympic-alpine-skiing.


VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit http://www.vancouver2010.com.

About Whistler Blackcomb

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

Intrawest is a leader in the development and management of experiential destination resorts. The Company has a network of resorts at North America's most popular mountain destinations including Whistler Blackcomb, a host venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and Canadian Mountain Holidays, the largest heli-skiing operation in the world. In addition, Intrawest markets and sells real estate at its resorts in North America. Intrawest is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more information, visit http://www.intrawest.com