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Westbeach retail locations in Whistler and Vancouver have become part of the Whistler-Blackcomb group of stores. The acquisition of the two shops from Wyndcrest Partners Ltd., a Florida-based investment partnership, was announced Dec. 2. A Seattle Westbeach retail outlet was not part of the sale. Wyndcrest Partners, which acquired Westbeach earlier this year, also retains ownership of Westbeach Sports Inc., the arm of the company which markets snowboard and lifestyle clothing and accessories. "Whistler-Blackcomb has had tremendous success with our Showcase Snowboard stores and now with the addition of the Westbeach stores we have a new, unique opportunity to grow our snowboard business," said Todd Friesen, director of retail for Whistler-Blackcomb. "Since the very beginning, Westbeach has been leading Canadian snowboard culture and this has been integral to their success," Friesen added. "We intend on maintaining that culture and keeping the Westbeach brand very separate and distinct from our retail operations." Westbeach, which began operations in 1985 as distributor of beachwear, as the name would suggest, began focusing on snowboarders in 1987 after gambling on a line of colourful, streetsmart clothing. Since 1993, when Westbeach Snowboard Canada began marketing its snowboard outerwear to the U.S., the company clothing line has expanded rapidly around the world, due in part to the attraction is the Maple Leaf Flag logo. In 1997 projected sales for Westbeach were $10.8 million in winter and street apparel. Today, Westbeach sells everything there is to do with snowboarding, in addition to skateboards and skateboard gear. Chip Wilson, founder of Westbeach, said he likes the idea of a partnership with Whistler-Blackcomb. "When we announced the news to Westbeach retail staff I shared their excitement. There are so many benefits to being part of the Whistler-Blackcomb team," Wilson said. The Westbeach Classic, a snowboarding event that has been a centrepiece of Whistler’s annual World Ski and Snowboard Festival, is another Westbeach property. The future of the event has yet to be announced.

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