Whistler-Blackcomb Invests $14.2 Million on Terrain Expansion - Ski Mag

Whistler-Blackcomb Invests $14.2 Million on Terrain Expansion

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Whistler, B.C. Friday, June 4, 2004 - This year Whistler Blackcomb will invest $14.2 million in on-mountain improvements, introduce 1100 acres of new terrain on Whistler Mountain, unveil a fully redeveloped Creekside base, host the 2005 World Snowboard Championships, and launch a Superpipe on Blackcomb Mountain, lit for night skiing and riding.

Introducing Peak to Creek.

The long awaited west side of Whistler Mountain officially opens this season, featuring four runs, 400 acres and hundreds of lines to choose from in the Peak to Creek area. Over the course of 5020 vertical feet skiers and riders will get a taste of everything the coastal BC mountains have to offer: huge alpine bowls, glades, and wide runs cutting through big timbers on the way to the valley floor. Intermediates can carve their way from top to bottom on Peak to Creek, which will be groomed regularly. Advanced and expert riders can find new adventurous routes to the Creekside on Dusty's Descent, Big Timber or Home Run.

Flute Bowl - an inbounds backcountry experience.

Visitors to Whistler Blackcomb can now venture into the backcountry without leaving the ski area boundary. After a short hike from the Peak or Harmony chairs on Whistler Mountain, skiers and riders will find themselves in Flute Bowl - scenic and serene, yet still patrolled for safety. Flute Bowl starts in the alpine with deep snow and rolling bowls and transitions into gladed subalpine terrain. The area features 700 new inbounds acres, wide-open spaces, fewer people, and natural snow conditions. Advanced and expert visitors are encouraged to hike up and hike out to discover Flute Bowl.

"Opening Peak to Creek and Flute Bowl is a part of the natural expansion of the mountains," said Doug Forseth, Whistler Blackcomb Senior Vice President of Operations. "As the number of visits increase, we need to expand to ensure a positive experience for our guests. By expanding Whistler Mountain by 30% into Peak to Creek and Flute Bowl, we will offer a better variety of terrain to give people a truly new and unique experience."

Creekside makes a comeback.

The original Whistler base re-emerges this year after a four-year face-lift as a quiet, more intimate alternative to the main village. At the bottom of the Peak to Creek runs and the Dave Murray Downhill skiers and riders will find Franz's Trail - a pedestrian-only, family-friendly village with year-round amenities: hotels, restaurants, a bank, a grocery store, retail and rental locations, a liquor store, 1400 free parking spaces, and Whistler's first and favorite après hangout - Dusty's Bar and BBQ.

"Things are coming full circle. In the '60s, Whistler was built with the Olympics in mind, and the first hub of activity in the resort was the Creekside," said Dave Brownlie, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Whistler Blackcomb. "Several decades later our Olympic vision is becoming a reality, and we're going to host the Games in 2010. The Creekside will play a pivotal role in the excitement and animation of the Olympics - prior to the Games families can visit the Creekside to experience skiing or riding on a future Olympic run, and during the Games many of our alpine events will feed right into the Creekside base."

2005 Snowboard World Championships -
In January 2005, Whistler Blackcomb will host the first-ever Snowboard World Championships to be held in North America. 400 of the world's best athletes from over 40 countries will travel to Whistler to compete in Halfpipe, Big Air, Snowboard Cross, Parallel Giant Slalom, and Parallel Slalom events. The Snowboard World Championships are the most important snowboard event next to the Olympics. The event occurs every other year, and will take place in Whistler from January 15 to 23, 2005.

The Superpipe Legacy -
In preparation for the Snowboard World Championships, Whistller Blackcomb is constructing a new Superpipe on Blackcomb Mountain, on Lower Cruiser in the Base II area. The Superpipe features impressive World Cup sanctioned specs: 150 meters of effective wall length, and a 5-metre wall height. After the Championships, Whistler Blackcomb will continue to use the Superpipe all winter long. During the evening the Superpipe will be lit for after-dark action at Whistler Blackcomb's Night Moves.

"The Snowboard World Championships are huge for Whistler and for North America, said Rob McSkimming, Whistler Blackcomb Director of Ski and Snowboard School. "They are an important qualifying event for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, and the event will be great practice for 2010. The Championships are also an opportunity for us to showcase our world-class facilities and hospitality. When it's all said and done, the Superpipe we're building will become a legacy for competitive skiers and riders to come."

Parks get a boost.
The Whistler Blackcomb Terrain Park team has an impressive resume: they've won 24 Top 3 Park and Pipe Awards since 1996, which is unmatched by any resort park team in the world. Each year the team uses its collective expertise to take our terrain parks and pipes to the next level. This year, capital expenditures will aid the process. $40,000 will be spent in the Blackcomb Terrain Park to upgrade rails and create new, progressive rail shapes, including several Whistler Blackcomb signature rails. A new Zaugg Pipe Shaper on Whistler will increase the introductory pipe's wall height from 10-feet to 13-feet. Three new Piston Park Bullies will also be purchased for use on both mountains.

"We are all about progression," said Peter Young, Whistler Blackcomb Events Manager. "Many of our guests, especially young people want to ride the park so we ensure quality hits are built in every level. Guests can learn on a small table-top and work their way up through the sizes to become better riders. We know we have guests with varying ability levels so we've constructed parks for every ability up to the Highest Level."

Additional on-mountain improvements.
Hard to believe, but there's even more to the $14.2 million Whistler Blackcomb will spend. This includes a new winch cat added to our fleet of 28 and a massive amount of summer trail maintenance. Other improvements are as follows:

For beginner skiers: 700 more feet of Magic Carpet at Olympic station, creating a better beginner experience.

For children: Continued development of children's-only tree houses in the Emerald Forest on Whistler Mountain. Kids will love this private playground.

For youth: Renovations to Base II and 18 Below facilities for use during Schools on Snow trips. Local and visiting youth will get to choose their own music to play on an entirely new sound system, and the building will undergo renovations for a "cooler" look and feel.

For the environment: Whistler Blackcomb will test a GMC Sierra gas-electric hybrid truck, and add more fuel efficient, low emissions snowmobiles to our fleet. We have also purchased a low emission shuttle bus for use on the glacier during the summer. "This entire package of improvements and amenities for 2004-2005 is a massive added value for our guests," said Stuart Rempel, VP, Marketing and Sales at Whistler Blackcomb. " We're all about creating unforgettable memories for everyone that comes to play on our world class mountains."

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