Whistler Blackcomb gearing up for 2011-12 winter season

Posted By: The Ski Channel on August 22, 2011 4:13 pm

WHISTLER, BC – Another epic season of snow is expected at Whistler Blackcomb as meteorologists are once again predicting a La Niña winter for the 2011.2012 ski season. For Western Canada, the La Niña weather pattern typically means cooler than normal temperatures and consistent heavy precipitation during the winter months. Last season, these ideal conditions resulted in near record breaking snowfall at Whistler Blackcomb. With a total accumulation of 1579 centimetres or 51.8 feet, the 2010.2011 winter was the second snowiest season on record, bringing the annual snowfall average up to1042 centimetres or 34.1 feet. With snow from last winter still remaining in the Whistler alpine, skiers and snowboarders around the world are anxiously awaiting the start to the 2011.2012 ski season at Whistler Blackcomb which officially begins on November 24, 2011.

“With La Nina predictions suggesting another great season of snow, and some exciting new developments on the mountains, we’re looking forward to the winter ahead,” says Dave Brownlie, Whistler Blackcomb’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “This season Whistler Blackcomb will continue to focus on incredible guest service including: the new Whistler Blackcomb Live, powered by TELUS mobile app, continued enhancements to the food and beverage service, and a revitalization of our Snow School Programs.”

Top Ten Highlights for the 2011.2012 Winter Season

The Whistler Blackcomb Live, Powered by TELUS Mobile App
This season Whistler Blackcomb guests will be able to revolutionize their mountain experience by downloading the Whistler Blackcomb Live, Powered by TELUS app to their smart phones. The app allows skiers and riders to track their runs using GPS, view trail maps, track the total vertical and distance they have travelled and clock their maximum speed. The app allows users to share their speed and vertical as well as take and share photos with friends via Twitter and Facebook. The Whistler Blackcomb Live, Powered by TELUS app is a great resource for mountain information, special offers, events and features of the resort. The Whistler Blackcomb app was developed by Resort Technology Partners (RTP) and is the first of its kind on the market. A Lite version of the app with no GPS tracking capabilities will also be available for download on any mobile device this season.
For more information visit: http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/app

The Max 4 Program
The new Max 4 Program at Whistler Blackcomb Snow School means there will never be more than four people in any daily adult Snow School group lesson. The change will ensure all guests, whether skiing or snowboarding for the first time or a seasoned expert, will receive quality one on one time with their instructors. Guests will be divided into groups that better tailor to their abilities which will increase their confidence and help them learn faster. Whistler Blackcomb has also reduced the class size for all Whistler Kids Snow School programs for all of the same reasons; beginning this winter, there will never be more than six children to one instructor.

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New Snow School Programs
This winter Whistler Blackcomb Snow School will introduce a new specialty camp: The Bilodeau All Mountain Workshop. Available December 9-11, 2011 and April 13-15, 2012, the Bilodeau All Mountain Workshop is designed for experienced skiers looking for technical improvement in a relaxed social setting. In addition to Canadian skiing legends Don and Heather Bilodeau, all workshops will be led by Whistler Blackcomb’s level four ski instructors.

New this winter, a three Day Whistler Kids Adventure Camp will be available to guests in Whistler Creek. The Monday to Wednesday camp guarantees the same instructor and same classmates throughout the entire camp. If the kids would like to add on additional days after Wednesday, that option is available at a discounted rate.

For more information about the Snow School programs available at Whistler Blackcomb, visit http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/snowschool/index.htm

Grooming
Whistler Blackcomb grooms 1,200 to 1,500 acres of terrain each night over our lengthy season which is more than any other resort in North America. To help perfect the acres of groomed terrain, Whistler Blackcomb has invested over $2.5 million in new grooming equipment for the upcoming winter season. The new equipment includes three new winch cats, three regular groomers, one park cat and one new summer mower. The new equipment will be added to Whistler Blackcomb’s already impressive grooming fleet which includes the state of the art 22-foot Global Pipe Cutter. The new grooming equipment, coupled with Whistler Blackcomb’s state of the art snowmaking system, a legacy from the 2010 Olympic Games, will help get an early start to the season which means guests can get an even better quality ski experience sooner.

Technology
This winter complimentary wireless internet will be available to guests at the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain and at the Rendezvous Lodge and Glacier Creek Hut on Blackcomb Mountain. This new amenity in partnership with TELUS, allows guests to access the web free of charge, making it even easier to stay connected while on the mountain.

Recognizing the importance of keeping guests informed of the latest on-mountain operation information, Whistler Blackcomb has installed a number of flat screen televisions in many of Whistler Blackcomb’s restaurant facilities displaying grooming information, lift status, special events and more. This new communication system has been designed to help keep guests up-to-date on the latest operation news and to improve their experiences on the mountains.

Terrain Parks and Training Facilities
A number of new features will be added to all five of the terrain parks at Whistler Blackcomb this winter. In partnership with Arena Snowparks for rail fleet production, Whistler Blackcomb plans to perform a major overhaul of all the jib features and will build new entrances to help give the terrain parks a new look and ease of entrance courtesy of Nintendo.

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With Ski Half Pipe announced as a new event at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, as well as skier and snowboard cross introduced at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Whistler Blackcomb will continue to serve as an elite athlete training ground by focusing on a renewed Snow Cross Track and the 22-foot Olympic Size Half Pipe on Blackcomb Mountain. Whistler Blackcomb will also build out a 14-foot half pipe on Blackcomb allowing guests to progress into the 22-foot feature.
For more information on the Terrain Parks at Whistler Blackcomb, visit http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/parks/index.htm

A new Dave Murray National Training Centre is being constructed in the Ptarmigan area on Whistler Mountain as part of the 2010 Olympic Legacy. This area will operate under the direction of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club and will serve as a training ground for guests and future Olympians.

Food and Beverage
Wolfgang Sterr has recently taken the position of Executive Chef at Whistler Blackcomb. Coming to Whistler from the Bavarian Alps, Chef Sterr brings with him a lifelong passion for food and skiing, combined with a unique knowledge of Italian, French, German and Canadian cuisine. Chef Sterr also shares Whistler Blackcomb’s commitment to delivering the highest quality food while focusing on reducing the company’s impact on the environment.

As a world class resort, Whistler Blackcomb recognizes how important the quality of food and beverage on the mountain is to the guest experience. Whistler Blackcomb continues to source the finest local and regional ingredients while focusing on delivering healthy meal options and exciting new flavours. Whistler Blackcomb will continue to offer the popular Euro Snack kiosks located on both mountains, serving Liege Waffles and European hot dogs in crusty baguettes.

Whistler Blackcomb’s signature Winemaker’s Après series, involving a multicourse meal at Steeps Grill and Wine Bar paired with the finest BC wines, will continue this winter on select dates throughout the season. This winter the Winemaker Après Series will feature wines from the Vincor family of vintners.

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Value
Whistler Blackcomb focuses on offering exceptional value to guests and with the Whistler Blackcomb Value Seasons it has never been easier for guests to get the most for their money when planning a ski vacation. Our Early Booking Offer, where guests can save up 36 per cent on their vacation package, is available through to November 15, 2011.

Value Seasons continue throughout the winter offering guests discounted rates on lift tickets, rental equipment and snow school. The Value Seasons include: Early Season from Opening Day to December 18, 2011, Regular Season from January 2 to February 12, 2012 and Late Season from April 13 to April 22, 2012.

Social Media
Whistler Blackcomb’s robust social media program takes it to the next level this season, with a presence on almost every major network available online. Guests can follow Whistler Blackcomb on Twitter (@WhistlerBlckcmb), become a fan on Facebook (www.whistlerblackcomb.com/whistlerblackcomb) and check into any of the 60 plus Whistler Blackcomb venues on Foursquare.

For the latest Whistler Blackcomb photos and videos, guests can check out the Whistler Blackcomb profiles on Flickr, YouTube and Vimeo. Or for a one stop shop, guests can visit The Movement, Whistler Blackcomb’s community page packed with all of the latest ski and snowboard industry news, information about Whistler, photos and videos. Visit The Movement at www.whistlerblackcomb.com/movement

Environmental Initiatives
Whistler Blackcomb continues to work towards its goal of one day achieving a zero operating footprint. Key areas of focus include: energy conservation, waste reduction as well as staff and guest involvement. Last season Whistler Blackcomb participated in three new energy conservation projects representing over 1.3 kilowatt hours (kWh) in electrical savings including: a behavioral program in partnership with BC Hydro to reduce energy use in all on-mountain buildings; a 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. The Fitzsimmons Creek Renewable Energy Project which was launched in 2009 also continues to be an incredible asset. The micro hydro project was built in partnership with Innergex Inc. and Ledcor Power Inc. and produces the equivalent of Whistler Blackcomb’s annual energy demand. To learn more about Whistler Blackcomb’s environmental initiatives visit http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/mountain/environment/index.htm

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