No one from Whistler Mountain was available to comment this week but other members of the W5 Group say the lift company has agreed to guarantee $1 million of the $3 million loan needed for snowmaking for the December World Cup race.
Bill McNeney of the Vancouver Ski Foundation, one of the members of the W5, said he received a fax last weekend indicating Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation would guarantee $1 million of the loan. Two weeks ago the municipality agreed to guarantee $1.5 million of the loan.
The Honk Kong Bank of Canada, which has offered the $3 million interest-free loan for snowmaking and other infrastructure improvements on the mountain, is believed to be satisfied with the $2.5 million in guarantees.
In exchange for the loan the Hong Kong Bank of Canada will become the presenting sponsor of the Whistler Ski Classic, the annual festival planned around the men’s World Cup downhill and super G races which will be held each December.
In addition to the municipality, Whistler Mountain and the Vancouver Ski Foundation, the members of the W5 Group include the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and the Whistler Resort Association.
Several people, including some members of council, have asked why the resort association isn’t one of the loan guarantors. WRA President David Thomson said last week: "Our purpose is to market the event. We don’t have the resources to finance the equipment on the hill.
"Our part is to ask the hotels to provide free rooms (which will save race organizers money as under International Ski Federation rules the race organizing committee is responsible for the meals, accommodation and transportation of top World Cup ski racers)," Thomson added.
"We would spend our dollars to market the event."