Alta states 

The New Intrawest Order: W-B gets its very own resort chief

click to enlarge The Old  Intrawest Model
  • The Old Intrawest Model

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But all that’s water under the bridge anyway. For Wasilov’s memo clearly outlines just how much things have changed in the new Intrawest order. Consider the following excerpt from that memo:

“This new business model will be our formula for success and it will create a single point of decision-making authority at each resort. In doing so, we will empower a new generation of resort leaders (or ‘Resort Chiefs’) with a clear mandate for the development of a resort master plan and to oversee every aspect of the resort’s business. These individuals will be the President and Chief Operating Officer at each resort and they will be accountable for their overall financial results and for adding value to the resort as a whole.”

* For those few eccentrics like me who’ve made it their business to follow the ongoing soap opera at Intrawest, this paragraph is nothing short of revolutionary. Why? Because, for the first time in its history, Intrawest is giving full authority to one person at each resort. No more endless layers of senior managers sitting in Vancouver (or Whistler or Colorado) second-guessing a resort leader’s every move. No more edicts from above that result in sterile, cookie-cutter resort experiences (but save money). Whether success or failure — whether boom or bust — the buck now stops at the feet of the newly minted Resort Chiefs.

And with the new corporate focus on resort operations, it’s a liberating move that has energized a whole wave of young (and not so young) Intrawest veterans. But for Whistler-Blackcomb, it gets even better. For Wasilov clearly identifies this B.C. resort as the company’s ace-in-the-hole. Read on:

“Whistler Blackcomb represents a significant part of our overall corporate value. With the Winter Olympics coming in 2010 and the additional growth that we have the capability to drive we have asked Dave Brownlie, as one of our most senior leaders, to take on the responsibility as the Resort Chief at Whistler Blackcomb.”

So what does Brownlie think? “I’m really excited about the changes,” says the new W-B president. Lest you dismiss this appointment as just more marketing doublespeak, let me remind you that Brownlie is only the second president in Blackcomb’s 26-year history (until the memo, Hugh Smythe had a virtual chokehold on that title).

Continues Brownlie: “As you know, Intrawest (under the old regime) was expanding in all sorts of directions. We were aiming for the stars. And for whatever reason, those of us on the resort operations side found ourselves at the back of the bus,” He pauses. Smiles. “But with this new ownership we’re now back where we belong — at the front of the bus. It’s been confirmed to us: we are now core to the business.”

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