Letters to the editor 

Don’t lose the Whistler magic

This is an open letter to Hugh Smythe, Intrawest corporation.

As we reflect on the 2000-2001 Ski season, I thought I would write you an open letter outlining some of my thoughts about why Whistler-Blackcomb is loosing the support of locals. Perhaps more importantly, those of us who are fortunate enough to either live in Whistler or who have a second home in the valley, are increasingly feeling that our opinions and support for the mountains is taken for granted.

It is increasingly apparent that our views, issues and concerns garner little or no thought or reaction from the mountains we love so dearly. I have included some ideas for you to consider that I feel would cater to the locals and perhaps turn the tide of increasing dissatisfaction.

I first wish to say that my wife and daughter continue to love Whistler deeply and if we had our choice would enjoy the opportunity to reside in the valley year around. I have been a regular in Whistler since 1981 and had seasons passes from 1981 until the mid 90’s when the pass prices climbed to unreasonable levels. My wife skied at Whistler the first year it opened and has been a regular visitor since day one.

Issues that are contributing to our increasing dissatisfaction with the treatment of locals are:

• A general effort to heavily promote the mountain to the international market while taking local support for granted is disturbing. I corresponded with your vice president of marketing last year about his comments in the media that, from a U.S. dollar perspective, Whistler was a good deal. What message does this sent to locals? We are paid in Canadian dollars and the $60 plus dollars for a ticket hurts.

• Charging $90 per day, per child, for day care on the mountain — my family looks at this and is confronted with two day tickets at $60 each plus $90 day care for our 20-month old daughter for a weekend total (two days skiing) of $420. This is out of reach for most residents including us. We skied only three days this season.

• Pass prices. We have friends who reside in Vancouver and have family seasons passes in the interior B.C. mountains where you can still get a pass for the entire family for around $1,000 and can pay it off in about 10 days of skiing. This is reasonable. A family of four would pay close to $4,000 at Whistler and have to ski 20-plus days to pay it off. I wish to emphasize that the interior mountains single-day tickets are not that dissimilar to Whistler. They have just taken the important step to attract local support by offering reasonable family passes.

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