Bait ski and snowboard program coming to W-B 

Whistler-Blackcomb takes tough stance on theft

click to enlarge Thieves' Paradise A busy day at the roundhouse leaves many boards and skis unattended and free for the taking. Photo by Scott Brammer.
  • Thieves' Paradise A busy day at the roundhouse leaves many boards and skis unattended and free for the taking. Photo by Scott Brammer.

The RCMP have bait car programs and bait bike programs to combat thieves, and now, in what is believed to be a first for ski areas, Whistler-Blackcomb is introducing a bait ski and snowboard program.

Although statistics on theft of ski and snowboard equipment have remained stable over the last three years, Whistler-Blackcomb’s security department wants to improve matters.

“We are enacting this new policy to make those thinking about stealing at Whistler-Blackcomb think again,” said Kevin Rea, Whistler-Blackcomb Security and Loss Prevention Manager. “We are implementing a bait ski and snowboard program similar to the RCMP’s bait car and bike programs. Would-be thieves should take note and understand they will be caught sooner than later.”

Bait cars are equipped with devices that allow police to track and disable them, as well as video and audio recording devices.

At Whistler-Blackcomb, bait skis and snowboards will be marked and members of the security team will be watching the equipment. If the skis or snowboard are taken the thief will be stopped, stripped of whatever pass they have and turned over to the RCMP.

Although Whistler-Blackcomb hasn’t seen an increase in thefts over the last three years, spokesperson Tabetha Boot said the reason for introducing the program now, “Just comes down to guests’ experience. If it happens to you, it rocks your time here.”

The bait car program is generally credited with reducing auto theft in the Lower Mainland and across B.C. In May, the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team announced that auto theft incidents in 2006 dropped 21 per cent in the Lower Mainland and 19 per cent across the province compared with the same period the previous year. Auto theft has decreased by 43 per cent in the Lower Mainland since the launch of bait cars across B.C. in 2004.

More than 20,000 vehicles were stolen and approximately 180 people killed or injured in crashes involving stolen vehicles in B.C. in 2005.

At Whistler-Blackcomb, video cameras covering the ski and snowboard racks outside of all the lodges were introduced several years ago to help fight theft. Those cameras will remain in place and will be monitored.

Under the bait program, the consequences for thieves have now been spelled out. For those caught stealing ski or snowboard equipment, passes will be revoked and a three year ban from being able to purchase pass and ticket products at Whistler-Blackcomb will be applied, in addition to legal prosecution. “It is simply unacceptable for a guest’s visit to be ruined due to loss of their equipment while at our resort,” said Rea.

Anyone caught perpetrating theft from any Whistler-Blackcomb operations, including retail, rental, food & beverage will be met with legal prosecution and a full one-year ban from accessing the mountains. Passes will be revoked and the ability to re-purchase pass products will be denied for a full year. This policy will be applied regardless of the value of items stolen.

Whistler-Blackcomb provides on-mountain storage for guests without a lock. Storage locations are on-mountain on both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains as well as at the base of Whistler Mountain in the village. Cost is $2.

Open house Dec. 8

Whistler-Blackcomb is inviting the community to attend its annual open house on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Legends in Creekside.

The Open House, hosted in a booth format, will have representatives from various Whistler-Blackcomb departments who will chat about their roles in making the company the No. 1 ski resort in North America. Environmental initiatives and accomplishments and details about the Peak to Peak Gondola will also be available. Marketing and Sales, Food and Beverage, Ski and Snowboard School, and Retail/Rental will also host booths.

Whistler-Blackcomb’s senior leadership team, including the mountain’s Chief Operating Officer, Dave Brownlie, will also be on hand to answer questions.

“This year has been an especially exciting year for Whistler-Blackcomb,” says Brownlie. “We think it’s important to open our doors to the community, which has shown us so much support over the years. Whistler-Blackcomb looks forward to showcasing our accomplishments and our vision for the future.”

Details about volunteer homestay programs for the Whistler World Cup, presented by Telus, and representatives from Whistler Heli-Skiing and Intrawest’s real estate company, Playground will also be available.

The Open House will run from 4 to 6 p.m.

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