WHISTLER, BC November 18, 2014 - Much to the delight of eager skiers and snowboarders, Whistler Blackcomb will be opening five days ahead of schedule on Saturday, November 22. The decision to kick off the winter season early was made possible after natural snowfall at higher elevations was followed by a streak of below average temperatures, providing prime conditions for snowmaking.
"Our snowmaking team has been working hard to take advantage of this early season cold snap in Whistler and has converted over 60 million gallons of water into snow over the past few weeks," says Doug MacFarlane, Director of Mountain Operations at Whistler Blackcomb. "Their efforts, combined with the natural snowfall we have already received at higher elevations, has enabled us to get things rolling early again this year. And with more natural snow in the forecast for later this week, it should be a fun opening weekend."
Whistler Mountain will be opening five days ahead of schedule on Saturday, November 22 with five lifts running. Guests will have the option to upload from either the base of Whistler Mountain via the Whistler Village Gondola, featuring brand new cabins, or the Creekside base via the Creekside Gondola. Blackcomb Mountain will open, as scheduled, on Thursday, November 27, 2014.
"With all the excitement of opening day, we want to remind guests early season conditions will apply, especially off piste," says MacFarlane. "It is important to obey all mountain signage, ski and ride on open runs only and stay within the operational area marked by 'Temporary Boundary' signage."
First upload on the Whistler Village Gondola and Creekside Gondola will begin at 8:30am, with last upload at 2pm on November 22, with mandatory download off the mountain. Emerald Express, Big Red Express and the Franz Chair lifts will be running, allowing access to 1800 vertical feet of skiing and riding terrain. Runs set to open include Upper and Lower Ego Bowl, Upper Whiskey Jack, Upper Franz's, Papoose, Orange Peel and Pony Trail. There will also be a small terrain park accessible from the top of the Emerald Express chair and green learning terrain serviced by a Super Carpet at Olympic Station. Guests can keep updated on the most current lift status information at www.whistlerblackcomb.com/the-mountain/lifts-and-grooming or from mobile devices via the Whistler Blackcomb LIVE app, powered by TELUS.
Opening day guests will have the first chance to experience the brand new Whistler Village Gondola cabins installed this fall. The new Sigma "Diamond" level walk-in cabins dramatically improve the experience for skiers, snowboarders, and sightseers with eight passengers able to sit comfortably on bench seating. The new cabin configuration also gives guests the option of bringing their ski/snowboard equipment inside with them or storing it themselves in the outside racks provided.
Opening day will be the first time skiers and riders at Whistler Blackcomb will experience the benefits of the newly introduced RFID technology around the mountains, including mountain access gates at most lifts. Guests are reminded to store their new RFID Access Cards in a left-side pocket away from cell phones, credit cards and foil in order to reduce signal interference at the access gates.
Whistler Mountain dining locations set to open on November 22 include Essentially Blackcomb Cappuccino Bar and Garbo's Grill in the Carleton Lodge, Dusty's Bar & Grill and Dusty's Backside in Creekside, the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain, and the Garibaldi Lift Co., Whistler's world-famous location for après.
Whistler Blackcomb Guest Relations in Whistler Village is currently operating daily from 9am to 5pm. The Blackcomb Day Lodge and Creekside Guest Relations will also be open from 9am to 5pm daily beginning Wednesday, November 19. All three locations will be open from 9am to 7pm on Friday, November 21 and from 7am to 5pm on Saturday, November 22. From November 23 onwards only the Village and Creekside Guest Relations will operate daily from 8am to 5pm until Wednesday, November 26 when the Blackcomb Day Lodge will open again in preparation for Blackcomb Mountain opening for skiing/riding on November 27. The Hours of Operation for all Guest Relations locations can be found at www.whistlerblackcomb.com/the-mountain/hours-of-operation.
Ski and snowboard rentals will be available at the base of Whistler Mountain at Gondola Rentals, from 8am - 5pm, Essentially Blackcomb from 7am - 5pm, the Salomon Store from 8am - 8pm, and the Fairmont and Can-Ski Westin from 8am-6pm. Can-Ski Creekside will be open at the Creekside base from 8am - 5pm.
Private and adult Max 4 ski and snowboard lessons will be available on Whistler Mountain, and can be booked online or by calling 1-800-766-0449. Discover Whistler Days are on now through to December 14 offering 25 per cent off select group snow school lessons.
Beginning November 22, Whistler Blackcomb's Snow Report will be updated daily throughout the season and can be accessed online or by calling 604-932-4211 in Whistler, 604-687-7507 in Vancouver, or toll-free at 1-800-766-0449.
For Canadian and Washington State residents, Whistler Blackcomb offers the EDGE Card, allowing guests to ski/ride from $69 (CDN) a day. EDGE Cards are valid for use all season long, and are available at early bird pricing until November 30, at www.whistlerblackcomb.com/save.
About Whistler Blackcomb
Whistler Blackcomb, the official alpine skiing venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, is situated in the Resort Municipality of Whistler located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia 125 kilometres (78 miles) from Vancouver, British Columbia. North America's premier four season mountain resort, Whistler and Blackcomb are two side-by-side mountains which combined offer over 200 marked runs, 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls, three glaciers, receives on average over 1,165 centimetres (459 inches) of snow annually, and one of the longest ski seasons in North America. In the summer, Whistler Blackcomb offers a variety of activities, including hiking and biking trails, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, and sightseeing on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola.