Boom times return to Whistler 

Record snowfall, good value make for packed resort

Lack of snow in Europe meant more visitors for Whistler this holiday season, photo by Maureen Provencal
  • Lack of snow in Europe meant more visitors for Whistler this holiday season,
    photo by Maureen Provencal

By Clare Ogilvie

Snowy weather and strong marketing have brought visitors to Whistler Blackcomb in record numbers this holiday season.

And it has meant village shops, restaurants and other businesses are enjoying the kind of year that the resort experienced before global events, a strong Canadian dollar, crazy weather systems, mad cow, avian flu and other factors were part of the tourist equation.

“We are the snowiest major ski resort in the world,” said Stuart Rempel, vice president of marketing and sales for Whistler-Blackcomb.

“There are ski resorts in Europe that are closed or are running on a bare minimum of snow and the east is having its challenges and even places like Colorado.”

Even with the rain storm, which poured down to mid station on Tuesday, the base sits at 300 cm. Over 99 cm of snow fell between Monday and Wednesday and more snow is expected through the weekend.

With the Christmas holidays stretching over about three weeks for school breaks Whistler is enjoying a long steady busy period.

Indeed, Saturday, Dec. 30 was Whistler Mountain’s busiest day since its 1966 opening, when 15,994 people uploaded on the mountain. Another 10,000 went up Blackcomb.

Whistler and Blackcomb also enjoyed their third and fifth busiest days ever over the break, making the week from Christmas Day to New Year’s Eve the busiest week on record.

Even the tube park saw record days, with more than 1,300 people showing up to slide.

“The fact that there is incredible snow, and during those busiest days we had all 8,171 acres open, we had all the lifts turning, and we groomed incredible amounts of terrain, meant that we had guests saying that they didn’t feel it was that busy,” said Rempel, revelling in the records set.

“The feedback from our guests from all over the world has been, ‘wow’. They all felt like they had won the lottery skiing at Whistler.”

Rempel believes the guests’ positive experiences will be an important asset for future bookings.

“All the people from the UK that are here are going home after the holidays and I am sure they will tell everyone,” he said.

Having the new Symphony chair open also made a difference, said Rempel, by helping to spread out skiers and boarders across the mountains.


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