Whistler Heli-Skiing purchased by Whistler-Blackcomb 

Lift company gains terrain, heli-ski operator expands marketing reach

Whistler-Blackcomb expanded its terrain by nearly 500,000 acres with the purchase of Whistler Heli-skiing, the companies announced on Sept. 1.

At the same time the 25-year-old heli-ski operation increased its market by several hundred-thousand potential customers.

“This announcement is great news for Whistler as it presents an opportunity to package guest products that are unique in the ski resort vacation market,” said Doug O’Mara, one of the four partners in Whistler Heli-Skiing who have sold their shares to Whistler-Blackcomb.

“With Whistler-Blackcomb’s strong sales and marketing efforts, the opportunities to create unbelievable packages and attract new guests to the resort will be significant,” O’Mara said in a release. “My partners and I are very happy to be able to take Whistler Heli-Skiing to this next level with Whistler Blackcomb.”

Partners O’Mara, John Hetherington, Andrew Wilkins and Ken Hardy will remain with Whistler Heli-skiing for at least three years, although Hardy will act as a consultant/guide as needed, rather than be part of the day-to-day operations. Whistler Heli-Skiing, the only heli-ski company based in Whistler, will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Whistler-Blackcomb.

“Whistler-Blackcomb is very excited with the new opportunity to grow the Whistler Heli-Skiing business,” said Dave Brownlie, Whistler-Blackcomb’s Chief Operating Officer. “Under the continued expert management and guiding of Doug, John, Andrew and Ken, and with the valuable marketing, sales and operational infrastructure that Whistler-Blackcomb can provide, the business is poised for even greater success. There are huge opportunities for us to market heli-skiing alongside our current in-bounds experiences.”  Whistler Heli-Skiing has tenure on 494,000 acres throughout the Whistler backcountry and employs 18 guides. Whistler-Blackcomb’s terrain includes 8,171 acres of in-bounds skiing.

A benefit of the two companies joining forces will be the sharing of snow science knowledge and data collection.

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