September 5, 2006
Whistler, BC (Whistler Blackcomb Press Release)—Whistler Blackcomb has acquired Whistler Heli-Skiing in a transaction that significantly increases Whistler Blackcomb's skiable terrain and offers guests over a half a million acres of skiing and snowboarding terrain. The purchase adds Whistler Heli-Skiing's tenure of 494,000 acres throughout the Whistler backcountry to Whistler Blackcomb's 8,171 acres of in-bounds skiing, creating a ski area of 502,171 acres or 785 square miles.
The four previous owners of Whistler Heli-Skiing — Doug O'Mara, John Hetherington, Andrew Wilkins and Ken Hardy — will continue to be actively involved in the business. They will continue to provide management and expert guiding for Whistler Heli-Skiing while Whistler Blackcomb will provide added sales, marketing and operational support.
"Whistler Blackcomb is very excited with the new opportunity to grow the Whistler Heli-Skiing business, says Dave Brownlie, Whistler Blackcomb's Chief Operating Officer. "Under the continued expert management and guiding of Doug, John, Andrew and Ken, and with the valuable marketing, sales and operational infrastructure that Whistler Blackcomb can provide, the business is poised for even greater success. There are huge opportunities for us to market heli-skiing alongside our current in-bounds experiences.
"This announcement is great news for Whistler as it presents an opportunity to package guest products that are unique in the ski resort vacation market, says Doug O'Mara from Whistler Heli-Skiing. "There are very few places in the world where a world class ski resort can provide its guests with a heli-ski experience on glaciers within a five minute flight from the village. With Whistler Blackcomb's strong sales and marketing efforts, the opportunities to create unbelievable packages and attract new guests to the resort will be significant. My partners and I are very happy to be able to take Whistler Heli-Skiing to this next level with Whistler Blackcomb.
Another major benefit of the two companies joining forces is the incredible wealth of shared snow science knowledge that will now be available to both companies. Some of the most experienced mountain guides and ski patrollers in the business will now share years of snow data collection and snow study. In a business that relies daily on the predictability of its forecasting and reporting, this shared intelligence will be a significant asset.