Whistler Blackcomb Investment Update 2018
Following on from Vail Resorts, Inc. takeover of Whistler Blackcomb last winter they are making an historic investment to improve the mountain. The group (who own 11 resorts and 3 urban ski areas across the globe) will plug CAD$66 million into the on-mountain infrastructure to improve the traffic flow by increasing the uphill capacity. This is not necessarily to get more people on the hill but to improve their movement around the ski area, and Vail insists that they will not be increasing any prices to compensate for this. Bonus!
Where is the money going?
The 66 million Canadian dollars (approx. £37 million) will be used to create 3 new and faster lifts at the heart of the resort which will dramatically improve every skier's experience of Whistler. The new lifts are:
- 10 person Blackcomb Gondola
This will run from the upper village to the PEAK 2 PEAK connection adjacent to the Rendezvous Lodge and Christine's Restaurant. This essentially creates an enclosed ride up to mountain restaurants to skiers of all levels as well as pedestrians can meet up on the mountain for lunch.
The lift will replace the old Wizard and Solar chairlifts increasing the uphill capacity by 47% to 4,000 people per hour which is the highest capacity in North America. In plain terms, it means getting up the mountain quicker and easier with less queueing at the bottom.
- 6 person Emerald Express chairlift
This chair will replace the existing 4 seater in the Family ski zone, improving access to a whole host of beginner and intermediate terrain. The new chair will increase capacity by 29%.
- High-speed 4 person Catskinner chairlift
This is to replace the existing 3 seater chair to increase the capacity by 56%, pretty meaty. For those who have been before the position will change slightly to be below the Magic Castle on Connector but will continue to serve the park and learning zone. The chair's base will be at the same altitude and will open up some of the most underutilised terrain on the mountain.
The video below shows where the new lifts will be placed:
There is also investment going into the mountain bike trails over the summer, a suspension bridge at the top of the Peak chair across West Bowl and a new 60-seat three-tier deck at the Roundhouse Lodge Umbrella Bar. But the winter lift system by far the biggest and most exciting improvement going on. All will be ready for the opening day of the 2018/19 winter ski season.
In the words of a Whistler man with a long job title (Pete Sonntag):
“We are incredibly excited to bring to life the spirit of the Whistler Blackcomb Renaissance with a focus on the on-mountain experience that lies at the heart of our resort... Over the past few years, Whistler Blackcomb has seen tremendous enthusiasm from guests from around the world. This transformative investment, the largest in the resort’s history, will offer a dramatic improvement to the experience for all of our guests as they explore and enjoy the largest and most popular resort in North America. We intend to continue to pursue other base area and village improvements that were part of the Renaissance, but we believed it was critical to start at our core, on the mountain.”