This year, Whistler was voted best overall resort by Ski Magazine for a third year in a row. But not ones to rest on their laurels, Whistler Blackcomb recently released an update on how they are continuing to improve the resort for the upcoming season. With the snow beginning to fall and another 40cm forecast for this weekend, it’s time to start getting excited about winter.
Development projects by Whistler Blackcomb were highlighted earlier this year with the announcement of Whistler Renaissance – a $345 million investment planned over three phases that will add year-round attractions to the resort. This blueprint for Whistler’s future seemed to focus heavily on non snow-dependant activities, indicating that Whistler Blackcomb are taking serious steps to future-proof themselves against the threat of climate change and global warming. But despite this focus on “all-season” development projects, there are exciting things on the horizon for winter sports and skiers and riders will begin to see the start of a winter action plan this season.
From WB President and CEO Dave Brownlie, “Last season Whistler Blackcomb celebrated its 50th anniversary and we reflected on our past. This season we turn our attention to the future and what lies ahead.”
Whistler Blackcomb continues efforts to appeal to families with improvements to the Learning Areas on both mountains. Whistler will have better terrain grading suitable for beginners and will get two new carpet lifts to ease congestion on Olympic chair. Both mountains will be able to extend the opening times of their Learning Areas with 32 new snow guns on Whistler and an additional 13 on Blackcomb.
On-mountain dining improvements are focused on Whistler Mountain this year after Blackcomb took the spotlight with the upgrades to the Rendez-Vous Lodge last season. There was feedback on said renovations that despite the millions spent, there was no extension of the outside seating area at the Rendez-Vous. Whistler Blackcomb are tackling this on Whistler Mountain with renovations and expansion of the outside areas and patio upgrades for the Roundhouse and the Garibaldi Lift Company. Upgrades to the Roundhouse will add 10,000 sq feet and 250 outside seats. The upper patio, as well as the patio at Steeps Grill and Wine Bar, will be heated for the winter season. The GLC will also have heating and fire pits and a total of 90 covered seats.
Who’s excited about winter? Answer: me!
Continuing on the theme of dining, a gourmet grilled cheese stand will be opening at Whistler’s Olympic station. Other than grilled cheese, Ollie’s will serve fries, drinks, coffee and other snacks.
As well as on-mountain improvements, Whistler Blackcomb is continuing to develop technologically. The introduction of RFID technology and pass scanning gave an opportunity to give guests access to their mountain stats and last winter, the mountain introduced WB+, an interactive platform which allows guests to create a WB+ profile and build stat and data about their days on the mountain such as distance covered, vertical etc.
This winter, updates to WB+ will add a Groups function. This allows skiers and riders to create leaderboards with friends and family to compare stats over day, month or season.
The Mountain Collective pass is still in existence for the 2016/2017 season, although no plans have been released for future seasons after the purchase of Whistler Blackcomb by Aspen resorts earlier this year. Mountain Pass holders should be excited to learn that Revelstoke and Telluride have been added to their roster, and WB season pass holders now receive 50% off the cost of tickets for these mountains!
Whistler Blackcomb have announced these and further developments to ski servicing, their groomer fleet and mountain events. For more information, check out their website.
Katharine Mills is a trail and ultra runner living in North Vancouver. Originally from the UK, she lived in Whistler for two years before making the move to the city. Compared to the UK, she thinks Canada has an incredible lifestyle, but terrible tea. Her favourite things are exploring the wilds of the BC backcountry, racing mountain bikers down the trails of North Vancouver, and Honey’s Doughnuts from Deep Cove.
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