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Whistler Blackcomb Reinvents the Lesson


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December 6, 2005

Whistler, BC – (News Release) – To counter a flat North American ski and snowboard market as well as an aging population, Whistler Blackcomb has introduced a new concept at the resort’s renowned Ski and Snowboard School to open up the possibilities of lessons to a wider range of people. The resort has introduced the Backstage Pass concept to its instructors and guests, and has discounted lessons by 50% during 11 weeks of the season.

“The goal of this new concept is to connect more of our guests with our pros, says Rob McSkimming, VP of Business Development at Whistler Blackcomb. “We believe this connection will result in a better experience and, in turn, a stronger commitment to skiing and riding from all ability levels.

The resort is promoting a “better experience by positioning Ski and Snowboard School lessons as the Backstage Pass to the resort. From guiding guests throughout the 8,171 acres of terrain to recommending appropriate gear for the conditions and the guest’s ability, to suggesting dining options in town, the 1,200-strong crew of instructors will deliver far more than instruction on how to get down the mountain safely and effectively.

“Our pros provide a VIP Backstage Pass experience that can unlock Whistler’s hidden treasures to our guests, continues McSkimming. “In a resort as large and diverse as ours this connection can make the difference between a good experience and a great one.

And as far as early numbers indicate, the concept is being well received.

During the American Thanksgiving weekend November 24 — 27, the total number of lesson days increased 116%. Dubbed “Discover Whistler Days, the 11 weeks offering 50% off include opening to December 18, January 16 to February 12 and February 27 to March 12. Programs offered at 50% off include: Ski Esprit; Summit Sessions; Beginner Learn to Ski & Learn to Ride; Supergroups; Dave Murray Ski Camps; Whistler Kids 5 & 3 Day Adventure Camps (ski and board); Whistler Kids Group Lessons; Ride Tribe (Youth) 5 Day Ski & Board Camps; and Ride Tribe (Youth) Group Lessons.

In addition, as an incentive for destination guests to book packages at Whistler Blackcomb, free lessons have been offered. Lessons with a value of more than $500,000 have been given away so far this winter.

“Our Ski and Snowboard school professionals are some of the best instructors in the world, says McSkimming. “Their expertise, passion for the sport and love of Whistler sets them apart in a highly competitive industry. Offering this experience to guests who may not otherwise take lessons makes good sense to us, as we hope to offer them an even better vacation at Whistler Blackcomb.

In addition to Discover Whistler Days pricing a comprehensive training program has been introduced to Whistler Blackcomb’s 1,200 instructors. The program, which was designed by tapping into the best practices of the resort’s pros, has been embraced by all instructors. A side effect from this high level of ‘buy-in’ has translated into more lessons being sold and in turn more days at work for the instructors.

The message is clear, take a lesson and have a better experience. Ski and Snowboard School at Whistler Blackcomb is about making personal connections and fostering relationships with guests, essentially blowing them away with a lesson and experience that matches their individual interests here in the resort.

Discover Whistler Days lessons can be booked through Ski School Sales locations at the Blackcomb Daylodge, Village Guest Relations and Creekside Guest Relations or by calling 1-800-766-0449. For further information check out