Peak-to-Peak crew eager to get back to work 

Whistler-Blackcomb hosts open house, updates community on events and initiatives

click to enlarge On Display One of the 28, 28-passenger Peak-to-Peak gondolas.
  • On Display One of the 28, 28-passenger Peak-to-Peak gondolas.

On the same day the Peak Chair opened and Whistler Heli-Skiing made its first official flights of the season, Whistler-Blackcomb held its second annual open house.

Skiers and boarders clad in winter gear milled around Legends’ conference room Saturday afternoon, circulating between tables promoting various departments and initiatives — Marketing, Food & Beverage, Playground, Peak to Peak Gondola, and Ski & Snowboard School.

Donna Savage was on-hand distributing information about the RMOW’s Whistler Volunteer HomeStay Host Program. Hundreds of volunteers are expected to pour into town to help with the Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships and the Telus-sponsored Whistler World Cup in February, and they’ll need places to stay.

Savage says most volunteers are paying their own way, so the municipality is looking for about 200 free beds to help ease the financial burden of helping with the events. So far, they have secured about 25 beds.

Savage also points out the events will be a test of preparedness for the Olympic Games, so it’s important for the community to step up and help ensure the championships and the World Cup are a success.

Local residents who have a bedroom available for at least four nights between Jan. 30 and Feb. 26 are asked to fill out an application form at www.whistleralpinevolunteers.com .

Environmental initiatives

Whistler-Blackcomb profiled old and new environmental projects Saturday.

The company recently switched to using 30 per cent recycled paper and 100 per cent recycled tissues, and now have marketing material guidelines for recycled content and using vegetable-based inks.

Standard bulbs on one of their main lightboards have been replaced with LED bulbs. A staff member explained this was a challenging switch, as the light emitted from most LED bulbs can only be seen head-on.

Whistler-Blackcomb finally found a Vancouver-based company that could provide suitable bulbs, and is testing them out on one board, in hopes that they can reduce energy output by up to 90 per cent.

A new bike tire, tube and light bulb recycling program has also been introduced, and the company has increased reusable mugs and degradable plastic bags in its retail stores.

Peak to Peak

Though construction of the highly-anticipated Peak to Peak gondola was halted for the winter on Nov. 9, the construction crew is eager to get back to work, and was on-hand Saturday to present building design plans to the public for the first time.

Illustrations showed the new 13,500 square foot terminal building, which will house 28 28-passenger gondola cabins, and a slideshow of construction progress played on two televisions. Samples of the 1¼-inch diameter haul rope and track cables were also on display.

John Morley, Barb Houghton and Wayne Witse fielded questions on the progress of the gondola, explaining that foundations for all four towers and the terminal buildings are now in place, and construction will start again in 17 weeks.

They anticipate that there will be more visible changes during construction next year. The gondola is scheduled to be finished by next December.

WB Foundation

The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation provides financial support to local organizations that benefit residents of the Sea to Sky corridor through health, human services, education, recreation, arts and culture, or environmental activities.

Hailey Guille, WB Foundation representative, explained they host two major sports-related fundraisers each year — the Telus Winter Classic and the Telus Mountain Valley Golf Classic.

The Telus Winter Classic, which will be held on Jan. 25 and 26, includes ski races, wine and cheese tastings, and a mountain-top gala. The theme for this winter’s Telus Winter Classic gala is Elements of B.C. A Rod Charlesworth painting will be among the auction items.

The Foundation also has the Founder’s Pass Program, which provides over $275,000 in funds each year.

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