Whistler Blackcomb Breaks Ground on New High Speed Quad - Ski Mag

Whistler Blackcomb Breaks Ground on New High Speed Quad

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May 25, 2006

WHISTLER, BC — (News Release) - Whistler Blackcomb has broken ground on the construction of the Piccolo Express, the resort's newest high speed detachable quad that was announced last month. The new Piccolo Express Lift on Whistler Mountain will be open for the beginning of the 2006/2007 season, will run from the bottom of Flute Bowl to the peak of Piccolo and will provide access to more than 1,000 acres of the most spectacular high alpine terrain available in North America.

With a current alpine snow base of approximately two metres or six feet, the resort is still open for skiing and riding. Beginning construction while there is such a significant amount of snow on the ground is a strategic environmental move. The snow acts as a protective layer to the ecosystem underneath, minimizing the construction footprint as much as possible.

"Excavators are currently digging out the lift tower footings while the deep spring snow pack protects the alpine flora, says Arthur DeJong, Whistler Blackcomb's Mountain Planning and Environmental Resource Manager. "By moving the heavy excavating equipment over the snow, we eliminate the need to build roads that would otherwise be needed if construction began in the summer. Minimizing our footprint will benefit both our environment and the ski experience, as retaining the Piccolo area in its natural state will offer a combination of spectacular alpine bowl and tree skiing found in few other places.

The new Piccolo Express Lift will open up a brand new era of high alpine access for intermediate skiers and snowboarders as well as the experts. For the first time, guests will have high speed lift access to this spectacular terrain, with its legendary vast bowls, deep snow and exciting gladed sub-alpine skiing. The new Piccolo Express Lift will provide access to a range of gentle and challenging terrain including the wide open upper bowl area, a new high-intermediate gladed area, and two new conventionally cut trails for low-intermediates.

"It's pretty exciting that we're beginning the construction while people are still out taking advantage of the phenomenal spring skiing on the mountain late in May, says Stuart Rempel, Senior VP of Marketing and Sales of Whistler Blackcomb. "Not only does it help to protect our environment, but guests can see exactly where this new lift will be, and all the great terrain that will become more accessible because of it.

The Piccolo lift will complement Whistler Mountain's existing lift network, in particular the popular Harmony Express. Piccolo Express will be accessed from the top of The Peak Chair or the top of Harmony. To return, guests will ski/ride out from the top of the Piccolo Express Lift, along Burnt Stew Trail back to the Harmony Express. Piccolo Express will provide great high alpine skiing and riding in early and late season. Flute peak will remain a hike-in, in-bounds backcountry experience, although the new lift will eliminate the need to hike back out.

The high speed detachable quad will run 2,112 metres (6,929 feet) in length, with a vertical rise of 509 metres (1,670 feet). The top elevation of the lift will be at 2,034 metres (6,673 feet); the bottom elevation will be 1,525 metres (5,003 feet). The over 1,000 skiable acres accessed by this new lift is greater than the average size of all North American ski resorts. And in fact, it's larger than many other resorts in their entirety.

For more information on Whistler Blackcomb, upcoming events and special offers, please visit whistlerblackcomb.com.

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