Highlights Include New Cabins For The Whistler Village Gondola And Addition Of RFID Technology On The Mountains

WHISTLER, BC September 15, 2014 – Winter is coming. In 72 days (or less) Whistler Blackcomb will officially open for the 2014.2015 winter season with an elevated guest experience. Imagine 8,171 acres, three glaciers, over 200 marked runs and an average annual snowfall of 1,165cm (459in), skiers and snowboarders in Whistler, BC have a lot to be excited about. But it takes more than great natural assets to create a phenomenal experience, which is why Whistler Blackcomb announced plans for a $12 million investment in February 2014 which will result in upgrades and improvements around the resort to wow guests this coming winter.

“At Whistler Blackcomb we are constantly looking for ways to set the bar higher,” says Dave Brownlie, President and Chief Executive Officer at Whistler Blackcomb. “This year’s $12 million investment comes on the heels of last year’s $18 million investment in the new Crystal Ridge Express and Harmony 6 Express chairlifts. We hope our guests enjoy the improvements we continue to make around the resort as we strive to take our guest experience to the next level year after year.”

Whistler Blackcomb’s official opening day is November 27, 2014, but with good early season conditions the resort can always be counted on to open early. Below is a summary of the improvements guests can expect to see for the 2014.2015 winter season.

New Cabins on the Whistler Village Gondola

Whistler Blackcomb GondolaThe elevated guest experience begins with the journey to the alpine. Whistler Blackcomb will be a lot more enjoyable this winter with the addition of new eight passenger gondola cabins for the Whistler Village Gondola. Whistler Blackcomb is investing $6 million dollars into the upgrade to replace the existing cabins which have been transporting guests up the mountain since 1988. The new “Diamond” level walk-in cabins have been selected to dramatically improve the experience for skiers, snowboarders, and sightseers with all eight passengers able to sit comfortably on bench seating. The new configuration should also improve capacity for the Whistler Village Gondola through greater loading efficiency. The new cabins were fabricated in France by Sigma, a subsidiary of Leitner-POMA, the original manufacturer of the Whistler Village Gondola. Each of the three lift terminals for the Whistler Village Gondola will also see improvements to enhance the functionality of the interior space.

New RFID Technology on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains

As previously announced, Whistler Blackcomb is investing $5.9 million into information technology initiatives. Amoung other upgrades, the investment includes the introduction of a radio-frequency identification (“RFID”) system with lift access control gates on most mountain lifts. Expected benefits of the new RFID technology include reduced wait times at Whistler Blackcomb’s main access points and the minimization of unpaid lift access. RFID will provide the necessary infrastructure to enhance guest engagement in the future.

Trail Improvements in the Crystal Zone

After a fantastic first season on last year’s new Crystal Ridge Express high-speed quad chair on Blackcomb Mountain. The elevated guest experience continues as Whistler Blackcomb is continuing to perfect the updated zone with land contouring work on high traffic trails. Spurred by customer feedback from last season, Whistler Blackcomb has widened the narrower sections of the Crystal Glide trail which leads from the Glacier Creek Lodge area to the base of the new Crystal Ridge Express. Further trail work has been done on Rock n’ Roll, Backstage Pass, and Ridgerunner to make the Crystal Zone experience more enjoyable for skiers and riders.
Gay Whistler Snowboard drop

Terrain Based Learning

This winter Whistler Blackcomb will join only a few resorts in North America in the newest trend in ski and snowboard instruction with the introduction of Terrain Based Learning to its Snow School program. Terrain Based Learning is a relatively new, and proven, way to increase ski and snowboard participation with first-timers. The concept involves building small terrain features so beginners can experience the true feelings of skiing and snowboarding in a safe environment, which makes the learning process easier and results in faster progression for participants.

Best Burgers in Town at Garbo’s Grill

Calling all foodies, another elevated guest experience this winter is a brand new burger joint! Whistler Blackcomb will have a new food and beverage option available to skiers, snowboarders and sightseers at Garbo’s Grill. Located in the Carleton Lodge at the base of Whistler Mountain, the new dining option specializes in customizable burgers. Garbo’s offers a protein choice of hormone and antibiotic free beef burger patties, grilled chicken breasts or quinoa and vegetable burgers. Diners then have a choice of over 20 garnishes, including a variety of cheeses, sauces, vegetables and organic greens. Gluten free buns are available upon request and guests can choose to enhance their burgers with options like locally sourced Fraser Valley bacon or guacamole. Garbo’s will also have a number of breakfast options available to early birds starting at 7am, including coffee and a selection of breakfast sandwiches.

Additions to Whistler Blackcomb Grooming Fleet

Grooming an average of 1,300 acres every night during the winter season, Whistler Blackcomb is an industry leader when it comes to its grooming. To maintain this standard of excellence, Whistler Blackcomb has invested in two new state of the art machines that will join its grooming fleet, comprised of 25 machines this winter.

The first machine is a PistenBully 600 Polar Winch Cat which has 500hp and the ability to groom slopes of 100 per cent grade (45 degrees) winch assisted. This new machine will work alongside the seven other PistenBully 600 Polar Winch Cats already in the Whistler Blackcomb grooming fleet.

The second machine is a PistenBully 400 Park Pro, a 375hp specialized snow cat used to shape terrain park features. This machine is a heavily updated version of the Park Pro snow cats Whistler Blackcomb currently owns with major enhanced controls and features that will allow operators to further develop and enhance Whistler Blackcomb’s terrain parks. This is the first machine of its kind in use in Western Canada for this season. Whistler Blackcomb currently owns eight terrain park specific snow cats.

Early Booking Offer

Guests looking to plan a trip to the consistently rated No. 1 Mountain Resort in North America can take advantage of Whistler Blackcomb’s Early Booking Offer which offers the guaranteed lowest rates of the season. Guests can save up to 42 per cent on their ski vacation with five night stay and ski packages available from $99 per person per night. The Early Booking Offer is valid through to November 15, 2014 with details available at whistlerblackcomb.com/deals_packages or by calling 1.866.787.1966. Whistler Pride and Ski Festival is January 24-31, 2015 with package rates starting from $117 per person per night. >>Book Now