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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Another long pause. “But being at the front of the bus also means being way more in the spotlight. Are your shoes dirty? We’ve got to be even sharper than we were in the past. We have to be looking, and searching, and challenging ourselves on all levels Still, I see this as a huge opportunity for Whistler-Blackcomb and a huge opportunity for the community.”

Must be a little scary too — particularly in light of the uncertain economic climate looming on the horizon. “I won’t lie to you — it’s a big responsibility and it does keep me awake at night,” says Brownlie. “But it really is an exciting time. I mean, I’ve been living here for 18 years now. And I know just how truly special a place this is. I’m surrounded by great workers — passionate, hardworking folk like Doug Mac, Art DeJong and Dave Hennessey. We’ve got the Olympics coming up and construction for the Peak-to-Peak gondola is in full swing.” He takes a breath, chuckles, if just a little nervously. “And for the first time in many years, I get to focus all my energies on one place! Frankly, there is nowhere else I’d rather be right now than right here doing what I’m doing…”

For years I’ve argued that that to be truly successful, Whistler-Blackcomb needed an independent president/COO who could make decisions and effect change independently of the “suits” downtown. And now, it seems, our new Resort Chief has been given that mandate.

But what about Hugh Smythe? The only holdover from the old Intrawest regime — everyone else took the money and ran — it seems from Wasilov’s edict that the old resort warrior has been put on the shelf. But don’t take my word for it — interpret it for yourself. Here’s what the memo says about Hugh:

“I have asked Hugh Smythe to lead our efforts to create a centralized Resort Services division to focus on developing common platforms, processes and practices for Mountain Operations, Rental/Retail, Food & Beverage and Lodging.

“Hugh has been with Intrawest since the beginning and he is one of the most experienced and respected individuals in the industry. Hugh will leverage all of his expertise to align all of our resorts on common business platforms to support our vision and optimize overall financial performance. Reporting directly to Hugh in this role will be the leaders of each of the individual areas of our Resort Services division.”

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