Photo: November face shots were the norm in 2009-10. Credit: Scott Brammer, Location: Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia.
The 2010 Winter Olympic Games were an incredible event for Whistler Blackcomb, but now that they’re over, guests shouldn’t expect the resort to just sit around idling over its achievements last year. The British Columbia-based mountain resort has announced a handful of additions and upgrades for this upcoming season, which doesn’t appear to be too far away.
With early season snow already appearing on the mountain, skiers and snowboarders around the world are anxiously awaiting the start of the 2010-11 season at Whistler Blackcomb, particularly after last winter’s record breaking snowfall. As the second snowiest season on record, with a total snowfall accumulation of 1,492cm or 49 feet, the 2009-10 winter brought Whistler Blackcomb’s average annual snowfall to 1,024cm or 33.6 feet. No one can forget the incredible November 2009 at Whistler that shattered the previous record, and became the snowiest month on record ever at Whistler with over 18 feet of snow!
The snowy conditions will continue into 2010-11 as meteorologists are predicting a La Nina winter, bringing colder than normal temperatures and consistent heavy precipitation across Western Canada.
“A great long-term forecast and the continued afterglow of the 2010 Winter Games are setting the stage for a great winter ahead,” says Dave Brownlie, Whistler Blackcomb’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “Our focus this year includes exciting new environmental initiatives, continued food and beverage enhancements, improvements to our terrain parks and an aggressive social media strategy centered around our Love Snow contest.”
Click through for some of the exciting upgrades at Whistler Blackcomb for the 2010-11 season.
Photo: Guests can relive the Games with the Roundhouse Lodge Olympic Legacy Display. Credit: Sarah Bourne, Location: Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
With the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games a resounding success, Whistler Blackcomb invites the world to experience the legacies and magic of the Games.
The Official Alpine Skiing Venue, which includes the Dave Murray Downhill and the Women’s Course on Whistler Mountain which the Olympians and Paralympians competed on, are open to the public for skiing and snowboarding this season. Best of all, these events should open even earlier in the season with increased snowmaking at the resort.
Snowmaking capabilities at Whistler Blackcomb have more than doubled due to a four-year partnership and a $17.5 million investment by VANOC. Guests will enjoy improved early-season snow coverage as well as longer lasting ski outs as the season winds down.
Also new is the Roundhouse Lodge Olympic Legacy Display, showcasing the achievements of local athletes and Games-time highlights. The display includes athlete stories, photos, Didier Defago’s gold medal winning Rossignol skis and a wood carved replica of the medals podium for guest’s Olympic photo opportunities.
Guests who haven’t made the journey to Whistler in recent years will also be excited to note The Sea to Sky Highway has been greatly improved during the lead up to the Games, and is now a faster, safer and more scenic route from Vancouver to Whistler.
Terrain Parks and Grooming
Photo: Blackcomb’s pipe moves to a 22-foot Olympic-caliber pipe this season. Credit: Bruce Rowles, Location: Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia.
Whistler Blackcomb’s Nintendo Terrain Parks crew is bringing park riding to the forefront by adding an Olympic-sized Superpipe to the mix. Crews are widening and straightening the Superpipe’s fall-line for better riding and to accommodate the 22-foot Global Pipe Cutter.
Whistler Blackcomb is also partnering with Arena Snowparks for rail fleet production and the 15-foot mini pipe returns to Blackcomb Mountain due to popular demand, allowing guests to safely progress up to the bigger pipes. Crews are also improving the Nintendo Terrain Park on Whistler Mountain.
Park preparations began in early September with four new snow tower guns set up on Blackcomb Mountain. The snowguns will increase snowmaking productivity 75 percent in the park, allowing features to open to the public even earlier in the season.
The Whistler Blackcomb Parks event calendar has been modified to showcase all aspects of park riding, including pipe, snowcross and rails throughout the season.
Whistler Blackcomb is replacing four grooming cats with the new Piston Bully 600 snow cats, two of which are equipped with winches for grooming steeper and more technical terrain. Whistler Blackcomb grooms 1,200 to 1,400 acres of terrain each night, more than any other resort in North America.
Food and Beverage
Photo: From snacks to full meals, Whistler Blackcomb offers a variety of food options. Credit: Dano Pendygrasse, Location: Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
Whether your looking to just grab a Clif bar to eat on the chair, or sit down for a relaxing meal, Whistler’s food and beverage options continue to offer up something for everyone.
New this year are Euro Snack kiosks located on both mountains, serving Liege Waffles and European hot dogs served in crusty baguettes. In addition, the newly re-opened Raven’s Nest Restaurant will feature fresh Artisan sandwiches and a great selection of soups and salads. Other new menu items to look forward to at Whistler Blackcomb’s existing restaurants include:
- Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine at Rendezvous Lodge
- New Artisan sandwiches, salads, soups and stews at the Rendezvous and Roundhouse Lodges
- A Latin American inspired menu at Merlin’s Bar at the base of Blackcomb
- Hot carved-to-order sandwiches at the Horstman Hut
- New paninis and made-to-order salads at Pika’s
In the continued quest for quality, Whistler Blackcomb’s Food and Beverage teams are committed to sourcing the finest in local and regional ingredients, while delivering healthy options and exciting new flavors to our valued guests.
Photo: Whistler Village will offer several new retail options this year to add to the pleothra of stores and demo centers. Credit: Whistler Blackcomb
To ensure no one gets stuck with the wrong equipment, Whistler Blackcomb is stocking this year’s rental fleet with over 3,000 new sets of high performance skis and snowboards, 2,500 boots and 500 sets of beginner skis.
A state-of-the art Montana robotic tuning machine is being added to the Blackcomb Daylodge, which has the capacity to handle 40 skis and boards per hour, ensuring Whistler Blackcomb’s rental fleet is always in top condition and guests’ personal gear is tuned to perfection.
In retail, Whistler Blackcomb will be putting an emphasis on children’s gear and outerwear at all retail locations and is opening a number of stores and demo center locations:
- A new North Face store has been opened in Deer Lodge with an expanded product line that includes outdoor equipment, footwear, tents, sleeping bags and backpacks.
- A new Columbia Store is opening in Whistler Village with an accompanying children’s store in the Blackcomb Daylodge.
- A new 400-square-foot Spyder concept section has been launched in the Can-Ski Village location.
Two new demo centers; The Burton Demo Test Ride Center will be set up in the existing Burton store while, a new demo and repair center will open next to the Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb Mountain.
Photo: From beginner to advanced participants, a lesson with Snow School will up your skills. Credit: Mike Mills, Location: Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
Whether you’re a beginner or a double black diamond destroyer, a lesson is always a great option to increase your skills and make sure you’re developing the right techniques. For this season, Whistler is introducing a variety of Snow School packages, discounts, and new lessons for all members of the family to enjoy.
Snow School Discover Whistler Days for the 2010-11 winter season are a great way to save, offering up to 30 percent off select ski and snowboard lessons. The 2010-11 Discover Whistler Days are scheduled Opening Day to December 17, 2010; and January 17 to February 18 and March 26 to April 10, 2011.
Due to popular demand, Whistler Kids Snow School will offer snowboard lessons for children as young as four years old. The program includes a mini terrain park at the Children’s Learning Center and new snowboards specially designed for little shredders. New free-ride camps, sponsored by Showcase Snowboard Surf and Skate Shop will also be available this winter.
The Whistler Valley Snowboard Club is launching a competitors package for youth and adult members interested in competing and traveling. Members start the season with dry-land training involving circuit and trampoline. During the winter, high school athletes have the ability to schedule training during the week in cooperation with the Whistler Secondary School and are enrolled in the Sports School program.
For advanced and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, Whistler Blackcomb Snow School is adding half-day Summit Sessions (group lessons) and Supergroup (semi-private) lessons in the mornings, in the alpine on both Blackcomb and Whistler. These half-day lessons were previously only available in the afternoon.
Photo: Fitzsimmons Creek Hydro produces enough energy to match the ski area’s annual energy use. Credit: Whistler Blackcomb
Entering the 2010-11 season, Whistler continues to demonstrate a lasting commitment towards the green movement.
New environmental initiatives include three energy conservation projects that will represent over 1.3 million kilowatt hours (kWh) in electrical savings, or the equivalent amount of power it takes to run 74 homes in British Columbia for one year. Whistler Blackcomb already saves more than 4.5 million kWh per year through its existing programs.
The energy conservation projects include: a behavioral program in partnership with the province’s energy supplier, BC Hydro, to reduce energy use in all on-mountain buildings; Continuous Optimization program at the Roundhouse Lodge to save an estimated seven per cent in energy; and an efficient lighting project in Whistler Blackcomb’s staff housing.
Launched in December 2009, the Fitzsimmons Creek Renewable Energy Project continues to be an incredible asset. This micro hydro project, located under the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola on Whistler Blackcomb, was built in partnership with Innergex Inc and Ledcor Power Inc. and produces the equivalent of Whistler Blackcomb’s annual energy demand.
Social Media & Contests
Photo: What’s not to love at Whistler? Credit: Paul Morrison, Location: Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
Whistler Blackcomb kicked off the 2010-11 season with the launch of a new social media-focused page called The Movement. The page aggregates ski and snowboard industry news, information about Whistler, photos and videos and connects guests to Whistler Blackcomb’s main social media channels. View The Movement by visiting whistlerblackcomb.com/movement. Tune into Whistler Blackcomb’s social networks: Facebook.com/whistlerblackcomb, Twitter @whistlerblckcmb and Foursquare.
Love Snow Contest
Besides staying connected on Whistler’s social media outlets, fans can also use them to enter frequent contests offered through the sites. One of the big contests for Whistler this year is the “Love Snow” contest.
Running through to February 28, 2011 the Love Snow contest celebrates Whistler Blackcomb’s greatest passion: snow. Guests are invited to show Whistler Blackcomb why they love show by submitting a short paragraph with the option to add a photo. Contest entry is on Facebook, whistlerblackcomb.com/lovesnow, or through traditional paper ballots at participating Whistler Blackcomb locations and ski and snowboard shows including Toronto, Vancouver and Seattle.
On the line is a trip for two to Whistler Blackcomb for Winter 2011-12, including the following prizing:
- Round-trip airfare for two to Vancouver, BC from any major airport in North America
- Five nights accommodation at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler
- A Whistler Heli-Skiing day adventure for two
- A Crystal Hut Fondue evening for two on Blackcomb Mountain with Canadian Snowmobile Adventures
- Lift tickets for two for four days
- More info on Love Snow is available on Facebook.com/whistlerblackcomb.
So don’t hesitate, and enter today so you can enjoy all the amazing additions at Whistler Blackcomb.