wra mtn new look 

By Loreth Beswetherick Two familiar faces are fine-tuning makeovers in time for the new millennium — the Whistler Resort Association is following hot on the heels of Whistler-Blackcomb with a new-look logo and fresh website. Gone is the familiar circle of W’s that have denoted the Whistler Resort Association to date. The old WRA symbol has made way for a new one — an outline depicting two mountains underscored by the word, Whistler. The resort association is also set for a change of name. But, the community will have to wait until Wednesday, Oct. 6 for the official launch of both the organization's new title and emblem, said WRA director of communications, Connie Rabold. The new WRA logo has already appeared in at least one ski magazine advertisement for the resort. It also graces the resort association’s new website. Rabold said although the new-look website, entitled the Official Site of Whistler, is already up and running, it still needs to be completed and several new components added before the official launch Oct. 6. The WRA website currently has one link — to the brand new Whistler-Blackcomb site designed around the mountains’ new woosh emblem and red and white colours. The mountain site, officially unveiled Tuesday, uses cutting edge technology not found on other resort sites, said Whistler-Blackcomb interactive media engineer and manager Neil Fancourt. The site includes a host of new and enhanced on-line features, including additional alpine webcams, interactive trail maps, live weather and lift status reports, a comprehensive events calendar plus a growing gallery of IPIX 360-degree panoramic images. The high-tech site uses BroadVision one-to-one technology to deliver information that is personalized. Site members will have home pages tailored to preferences like skiing or snowboarding, locals and destination visitors. In this way, Intrawest can highlight ticket products, for example, targeted at either regional or destination guests. Fancourt said the site has been designed in-house. The web team — including Karla Grenon who handles promotion and marketing; web designer Sean Wood, web magazine editor Rahoul Ghose and Molly O'Callaghan who will be co-ordinating the on-line retail and rental initiatives — is local. Fancourt said most businesses "out source" when it comes to website design. "Whistler-Blackcomb has been really progressive in dedicating resources for an inside team," said Fancourt. The local talent makes the site much more rich and engaging, he said. "We have put our heart and sole into it." Village information will be hosted on the site and a nightlife section added in the coming weeks. E-commerce features will be added next month. They will include equipment rental and logo wear retail. Fancourt said a rental outlet in the basement of the Carleton lodge will be dedicated to meeting on-line rental requests. Next year will see on-line ticket sales. The Whistler-Blackcomb site is a component of a five-year $26 million deal recently signed between Intrawest and TELUS that will see the telecommunications company providing services for Intrawest's 11 ski and golf resorts, real estate offices and timeshare properties throughout North America. The Whistler-Blackcomb site will serve as a prototype for personalized, e-commerce capable sites to be launched over the next 15 to 18 months at all the resorts.

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