Whistler Blackcomb (WB) is set to open on Nov. 24, Vail Resorts announced today.
If conditions allow, closing day will be May 22, giving WB "one of the longest ski and ride seasons anywhere," according to a release.
A major change slated for this season: daily lift ticket sales will be limited in an effort to "prioritize the mountain experience for ... guests," the release says.
The availability of lift tickets will be visible on WB's website in the coming weeks. Once lift tickets are sold out for the day online, they will not be available at ticket windows.
"We care deeply about our guests' experience at our resorts," said James O'Donnell, president of Vail Resorts' mountain division. "Limiting lift tickets throughout the season, alongside the big investments we're making at our resorts and in our team members, will help us provide our guests with an [experience of a lifetime] this winter."
The announcement also confirmed Vail will no longer require face coverings or proof of vaccination at any of its resorts. "With safety as its top priority, the company will continue to monitor the changing dynamics of the pandemic, but at this time does not plan to have any of these measures in place," the release said. "Employees will continue to complete daily health screenings and resorts will still apply enhanced cleaning practices."
For employees, Vail says pay raises are set for the season, along with leadership development opportunities and investments in affordable employee housing.
Lift upgrades are also underway for many of Vail's resorts, including WB. Upgrades on both the Creekside Gondola and Big Red Express are expected to be finished in time for the season. The Creekside Gondola, previously a six-person gondola, will be replaced with a 10-person, high-speed gondola, increasing the "out-of-base uphill capacity" in Creekside by 35 per cent. Big Red, meanwhile, will become a high-speed, six-person chair, an upgrade from four-person.
“We are all incredibly excited to welcome guests from around the world back to Whistler Blackcomb this winter,” said Geoff Buchheister, VP and COO of WB. “There are so many exciting things happening at Whistler Blackcomb, and anticipation is building as we prepare to welcome skiers and riders back to our beautiful, iconic mountains. We can’t wait to once again share the magic of our mountains with our guests, especially as our world-class team infuses their expertise, passion, and dedication into every detail required to prepare for winter. I have no doubt that the upcoming ski and ride season will be one for the books!”