Whistler Blackcomb Gets Down for 50

Photos from the anniversary celebration

Ushered in by an an epic storm that left Whistler Blackhomb blanketed in 55 inches of fresh snow, the B.C. resort celebrated it’s 50th anniversary with a gala December 12. The inside of the Whistler Conference Centre was decorated with old chairlifts, fondue fountains, and one of the original gondolas that served as a photo prop throughout the night.

Legendary Jim McConkey passes on some wisdom to POWDER Executive Editor John Clary Davies. PHOTO: Robin O'Neill
Legendary Jim McConkey passes on some wisdom to POWDER Executive Editor John Clary Davies. PHOTO: Robin O’Neill

More than 1,300 guests dressed in their best “Whistler casual” attire, including everything from little black dresses, to fur vests, to retro ski gear. A number of guests proudly wore stacks of season passes from years past around their necks. The celebration began with a musical performance by the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations. Mike Douglas auctioned off an original painting by local artist Vanessa Stark for $4,000 to benefit the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation.

Hugh Smythe, one of Whistler's founding fathers, celebrated the 50th Anniversary with two long-time locals sporting a lifetime of season passes. PHOTO: Robin O'Neill
Hugh Smythe, one of Whistler’s founding fathers, celebrated the 50th Anniversary with two long-time locals sporting a lifetime of season passes. PHOTO: Robin O’Neill

President and CEO of WB Dave Brownlie shared a few words, thanking many people who have contributed to Whistler Blackcomb’s success. Mike Douglas, Franz Wilhelmsen, Jim McConkey, Gary Raymond, one of the founders of Intrawest, and Hugh Smythe were among those Bownlie recognized. Later in the evening, Fernie based band Shred Kelly got the crowd on the dance floor. This music video will give you a taste of what you missed. —SIERRA DAVIS

An opening performance by the Sqawmish and Lil tribe paid tribute to the rich history in Whistler. PHOTO: Robin O'Neill
An opening performance by the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations paid tribute to the rich history in Whistler. PHOTO: Robin O’Neill
Fernie band Shred Kelly kept the vibe high and the dance floor full. The anniversary film "50 Years of Going Beyond," headed by Mike Douglas, played on screen. PHOTO: Robin O'Neill
Fernie band Shred Kelly kept the vibe high and the dance floor full. The anniversary film “50 Years of Going Beyond,” directed by Mike Douglas, played on screen. PHOTO: Robin O’Neill

Read more about what the 50th anniversaries of Whistler Blackcomb and Jackson Hole mean for skiers in the February 2016 (44.6) issue of POWDER.