Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Forseth listens to wake-up call

WB reshuffles top exec to new role at his request

When Doug Forseth found himself in a ditch staring up at the sky last May, he knew something was wrong.

But never in his wildest dreams did he imagine he was having a heart attack.

One of the top execs at Whistler Blackcomb, Forseth led an active, healthy lifestyle. He was just finishing up a 30-kilometre bike ride that day, 100 metres from his house, when he passed out and rode off the trail.

Within a couple of hours he was being whisked via helicopter to Vancouver for a stent in his heart.

It was, he said, his wake up call. And he's listening to that call.

"I was fortunate that I was able to get a second chance," he said. "I did a lot of soul searching over the summer, did a lot of planning over the summer to see if doing this would make sense. I think it's the right thing for me."

Forseth is stepping back from his duties as senior vice president of operations at Whistler Blackcomb and taking on a newly created role - vice president, planning, government relations and special projects.

His new title reflects work he's already been doing at the organization but he won't be in charge of operations. That, he hopes, means his workweek is reduced from 70-80 hours a week to 40-50 hours.

He can't control the amount of cholesterol his body produces, but he can manage the stress in his life. And his doctors were clear about that.

"The only other thing that I can have some control over is the amount of stress in my life and the amount of work that I do," said Forseth.

"A lot of times you don't get second chances. I got one. And I don't want to blow it.

"I was very pleased that Whistler Blackcomb and the gang here have been able to see this solution as one that works for both of us."

The environmental group at WB, led by Arthur DeJong, will still report to Forseth. That's something he's passionate about.

As for planning he said: "We've been a little dormant with doing things but we haven't had the economy and the money to support doing things but I think we're going to be coming out of that situation hopefully before too much longer."

Top of the wish list, at least from the community's point of view, would be moving the Harmony lift to the Crystal Chair and replacing the Harmony Express with a six-seat lift - a project billed at $12 to $14 million.

He has been in charge of special projects in the past - the $53 million Peak 2 Peak gondola and the 2010 Olympic Games.

A large part of his new role is finishing the Master Plan, and the master development agreements. with the province

"It's important to this community obviously that Whistler Blackcomb has some certainty in its long term business plans," said Forseth. "We've got another 18 years in our master development agreements. We're hoping to re-do this thing. And if that does get done successfully, which we think it can be done, it'll restart the clock for another 60 years. So it's important to Whistler Blackcomb. It's important to this community as the main economic driver here. And it's important to our First Nations neighbours and communities because they will play a role, to some extent, with that future going forward. So we need to figure out what that looks like and hopefully it will be beneficial to all of us at the end of the day. So I think we can find those solutions."

He highlighted the recent stall with the municipality's Official Community Plan due to concerns from First Nations.

The First Nations' involvement is critical.

"It takes a different set of approaches and it takes more time," he said.

The master planning process, he said, is on schedule but will likely take one or two years to complete.


New director at Whistler Sport Legacies

The organization responsible for Whistler's Olympic legacies is re-jigging its top team.

Patricia Leslie is now acting director of business development for Whistler Sport Legacies (WSL), moving up from her role as manager of marketing, communications and sales.

In addition to her marketing and communications roles, Leslie will now oversee guest services and the Whistler Athletes' Centre operations.

She joins the senior team at WSL including Lindsay Durno, Tracy Seitz and Keith Bennett, president and CEO.

"Patricia's corporate experience and in-resort relationships will help strengthen the partnerships that we value so much," said Bennett.

Three months ago the vice president of the WSL Diane Mombourquette announced she was leaving the organization. Bennett has been reviewing the senior team since that time.