Whistler Blackcomb has a new head honcho.
On Thursday, April 20, Vail Resorts named Australian Belinda Trembath as Whistler Blackcomb’s (WB) newest vice president and chief operating officer, effective May 15.
Trembath brings more than 30 years of ski industry and mountain operations experience to the role. Chair of the Australian Ski Areas Association since 2018, Trembath began skiing at the age of six, and began her career as a ski instructor. In 2006, she was appointed vice president and general manager of Australia’s Mount Hotham. In 2019, she also began providing oversight for Falls Creek, the largest skiable area in the Australian state of Victoria. Then, in 2022, she was named to the position she currently holds: vice president and general manager of Perisher, the largest alpine resort in the southern hemisphere, which was acquired by Vail Resorts in 2015.
In a release, Vail Resorts said Trembath “played a key leadership role” in helping Perisher, Falls Creek, and Mt. Hotham navigate the pandemic and international border closures. She has also been a proactive member on various tourism and government advisory boards throughout her career, the company went on.
"Belinda is dedicated to ensuring the preservation of unique mountain cultures alongside a commitment to excellence across the employee, guest, and community experience,” said Doug Pierini, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Resorts’ west region, as well as interim chief operating officer at WB, in the release. “This is what makes her an exceptional mountain operator. I can't imagine a better leader to step into the COO role at Whistler Blackcomb to help guide the next chapter of such an iconic, influential, world-class resort.”
Trembath takes over the top position at WB from Geoff Buchheister, who announced his departure in February after close to four years in the COO chair.
“I am honoured and thrilled to be the COO of Whistler Blackcomb,” said Trembath in the release. “It is not lost on me how profound this opportunity is, and I look forward to being an advocate for our resort and its passionate employees, our guests, and the iconic Whistler community. Canada has always held a special place in my heart—early on in my career, I spent a season in B.C. at Big White. A spark ignited within me, and I always hoped to find my way back. It is a bit surreal that this dream is now a reality. My husband and children also feel a connection to the beauty of B.C., and they are looking forward to this new adventure.”
Vail Resorts commended Trembath’s “strength of leadership” for how she implemented strategic growth programs and leading the three Australian resorts through multiple technology advancements, “allowing them to lead through innovation and outside-the-box thinking to enhance the employee and guest experience,” the release continued.
Trembath will be tasked with leading the resort, which includes mountain and base area operations, food and beverage, snow and bike school, and “other important areas of business,” the company said.
Trembath takes over at a time when Vail Resorts has come under fire over how it’s handled operations at WB. Most recently, the Colorado-based company issued an apology following a rocky start to the spring ski season after complaints mounted that Vail hadn’t properly communicated its decision to have only the Excalibur Gondola running for the remainder of the season—except for the Blackcomb Gondola on weekends—leading to lengthy queues of frustrated skiers and riders in the village on Monday, April 17.
“Spring skiing is underway, which brings operational changes, too—and we didn’t do a great job of explaining exactly why certain things are happening as we made this shift yesterday. Additionally, we should have been more out front with you about what to expect on Blackcomb for these final weeks of spring, and we apologize,” a statement Tuesday, April 18, read.