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And the SAMMY goes to...

Whistler Blackcomb's Rob McSkimming wins top industry award

Mountain resorts around the world are watching Whistler Blackcomb closely these days as the company has taken the lead in building the resort into a successful year-round business. Rob McSkimming, the vice president of business development for WB, has a lot to do with that, which is why he was selected for this year's SAMMY Leadership Award, presented by Ski Area Management (SAM) magazine.

McSkimming said the honour was unexpected and gratifying.

"Totally unexpected," he said. "It was a huge surprise, but it's certainly a privilege to be recognized by your peers and be part of that group of SAMMY winners and former SAMMY winners."

McSkimming's role at Whistler Blackcomb is to develop both summer and winter business, and he's played an active role in developing everything from the Whistler Mountain Bike Park and the Crankworx freeride mountain bike festival to summer hiking experiences like the signature High Note trail.

In recent years, summer business has been a highlight for the resort, with over 375,000 visitors for July, August and September 2012 — an increase of eight per cent over the previous year.

McSkimming said one of his responsibilities is to look for new events and opportunities for the resort to grow its business.

"It's been really fun to be part of that (summer growth) and to work with that team, it's a great group of people." he said. "Any time you can extend your business over a longer period of time using the same facilities and infrastructure is a good thing for business. It's great to see the volume of visitors here and participating in our experiences and doing all of these things. To see summer grow and to be really vibrant at that time of the year is great, and it's been fun being part of that."

McSkimming will receive his award at the end of the month at the National Ski Areas conference in Palm Springs, California.