In a continued quest to enhance your experience, Whistler Blackcomb continuously redefines the best so you can go all out. Here’s what’s new coming up for this winter:
As the lifeline of Whistler Blackcomb, the Whistler Village Gondola is the oldest and most ran gondola on the mountains. Opening in 1988, the 27 year old cabins on this workhorse have seen their better days and have been uncomfortable from the beginning. It’s time to put them in retirement and make way for sleek new 8 passenger cabins for the start of this winter.
The new cabins are set to dramatically improve the experience for skiers, snowboarders, and sightseers to access the alpine on Whistler Mountain. 8 passengers will now be able to sit comfortably with gear in outside rack and top to bottom glass walls will improve sightlines and overall enjoyment of passengers.
Enjoy this new improvement on day one of winter 2014.15 opening starting November 27.
After a fantastic first season on last year’s new Crystal Ridge Express high-speed quad chair on Blackcomb Mountain, Whistler Blackcomb is continuing to perfect the updated zone with land contouring work on high traffic trails. Spurred by customer feedback from last season, Whistler Blackcomb has widened the narrower sections of the Crystal Glide trail which leads from the Glacier Creek Lodge area to the base of the new Crystal Ridge Express. Further trail work has been done on Rock n’ Roll, Backstage Pass, and Ridgerunner to make the Crystal Zone experience more enjoyable for skiers and riders.
This winter Whistler Blackcomb will join only a few resorts in North America in the newest trend in ski and snowboard instruction with the introduction of Terrain Based Learning to its Snow School program. Terrain Based Learning is a relatively new, and proven, way to increase ski and snowboard participation with first-timers. The concept involves building small terrain features so beginners can experience the true feelings of skiing and snowboarding in a safe environment, which makes the learning process easier and results in faster progression for participants.
Grooming an average of 1,300 acres every night during the winter season, Whistler Blackcomb is an industry leader when it comes to its grooming. To maintain this standard of excellence, Whistler Blackcomb has invested in two new state of the art machines that will join its grooming fleet, comprised of 25 machines this winter.
The first machine is a PistenBully 600 Polar Winch Cat which has 500hp and the ability to groom slopes of 100 per cent grade (45 degrees) winch assisted. This new machine will work alongside the seven other PistenBully 600 Polar Winch Cats already in the Whistler Blackcomb grooming fleet.
The second machine is a PistenBully 400 Park Pro, a 375hp specialized snow cat used to shape terrain park features. This machine is a heavily updated version of the Park Pro snow cats Whistler Blackcomb currently owns with major enhanced controls and features that will allow operators to further develop and enhance Whistler Blackcomb’s terrain parks. This is the first machine of its kind in use in Western Canada for this season. Whistler Blackcomb currently owns eight terrain park specific snow cats.
Whistler Blackcomb will be celebrating its new retail and marketing partnership with Icebreaker this winter season. Icebreaker is the New Zealand brand that established the merino wool category for the outdoor apparel industry. The multi-faceted agreement will put Whistler Blackcomb’s staff in premium Icebreaker merino wool base layers beginning this Fall 2014; and create brand and marketing touch points at retail in Whistler Village, on-mountain and via consumer promotions year-round.
This year visitors to Whistler will not have to worry about finding evening childcare over the busy holiday periods thanks to the introduction of Kid’s Night Out, the newest addition to Whistler Blackcomb’s line up of children’s programs. Kids Night Out are fun, non-ski based evening programs that will take place from Blackcomb Kids at the base of Blackcomb Mountain in the Upper Village. They will be available during holiday weeks including Christmas/New Years, Chinese New Year, President’s Week and Easter, and will offer a convenient solution for parents looking for some grown-up time during their vacations.
Whistler Blackcomb is committed to growing the ski and snowboard community by encouraging adults, children and families to try skiing and snowboarding. To continue this effort in the upcoming winter, Whistler Blackcomb will begin to offer private lessons to families, as well as lower the minimum age for private lessons. Kids can now participate in private ski lessons at 30 months (2.5 years).
This winter, Whistler Blackcomb will be installing its first ever covered Magic Carpet lift at the Children’s Learning Centre on Whistler Mountain. Replacing the handle tows currently in this location, the covered Magic Carpet will create a safe and comfortable learning environment for new skiers and snowboarders (children only) with an easy-to-access lift that offers protection from snow, rain, wind and cold.
Whistler Blackcomb is expanding its retail and rental program this winter with a new CAN-SKI location in the Westin Resort and Spa at the base of Whistler Mountain. This new location will provide guests with another one stop shop for world-class sporting equipment and après apparel. Set to open this fall, the new CAN-SKI location will offer the same services as other CAN-SKI stores, including custom boot fitting, personal shopping and the latest equipment advancements, trends and fashions in ski wear.
Raven’s Nest, located at the top of the Creekside Gondola on Whistler Mountain, has undergone some major changes for the 2014.2015 winter season. It is Whistler Blackcomb’s first ever all vegetarian restaurant and one of the first of its kind at ski resorts in North America. The all plant-based menu will feature a variety of options inspired by flavours from around the world and will also include some specialty vegan dishes. Carnivores need not worry, the restaurant will have a small selection of meat options available for those who ask, however they will not be advertised on the restaurant’s menu boards. The all vegetarian concept for Raven’s Nest was the brainchild of WB Executive Chef, Wolfgang Sterr, who is a vegetarian, and fellow Whistler Blackcomb employee and vegan, Kristine Leise.
New this winter, guests will be able to enjoy a selection of Vij’s curries at the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain and the Wizard Grill at the base of Blackcomb. Chef Vikram Vij is best known for his award-winning Indian restaurants in Vancouver, Vij's, Rangoli, and his latest restaurant in South Surrey, MyShanti, as well as his time on the popular television show, Dragons’ Den. Vij will be making four sampling appearances at the Roundhouse Lodge throughout the winter season where guests will have the opportunity to meet him and try some of his curry dishes. His first appearance will be on December 20, 2014 and his second appearance will be on January 22, 2015 when he will also be preparing one of the courses for the Winemaker’s Après event happening that day in Steeps Grill and Wine Bar. The dates for the remaining two appearances are yet to be announced but will be posted to whistlerblackcomb.com once confirmed.
Whistler Blackcomb will be introducing new reserve wine lists at Steeps Grill and Wine Bar on Whistler Mountain and Christine’s Restaurant on Blackcomb Mountain this winter. The lists were designed by Samantha Rahn, the 2013 Sommelier of the Year as decided by the Vancouver International Wine Festival, and the current Wine Director at the award-winning Araxi restaurant in Whistler. Rahn’s selections for the reserve wine lists will perfectly complement the menus at Whistler Blackcomb’s two full-service, fine dining restaurants and will elevate the dining experience at those locations for serious wine lovers. Rahn will also be making a number of Sommelier appearances at the two restaurants throughout the season. Dates for the appearances are yet to be confirmed but will be posted to the Whistler Blackcomb website once available.
Garbo’s Grill, located in the Carleton Lodge at the base of Whistler Mountain, is Whistler Blackcomb’s newest food and beverage location. Specializing in customizable burgers and grab-and-go breakfast sandwiches, Garbo’s Grill, along with the grills in the Roundhouse Lodge, Rendezvous Lodge and Glacier Creek Lodge, now use only naturally raised hormone and antibiotic-free chicken and beef. Garbo’s Grill is open from 7am to 4pm daily.
Whistler Blackcomb’s popular Winemaker’s Après series returns this winter season with a few fresh changes. There will be four events throughout the winter and as always, they will take place at Steeps Grill and Wine Bar in the Roundhouse Lodge. The events will feature a five course meal prepared with locally sourced ingredients by Whistler Blackcomb’s executive chefs and each dish will be paired with a feature wine from British Columbia. The winemakers to be showcased at this season’s Winemaker’s Après series include: Inniskillin on January 22, featuring a special guest appearance from Vikram Vij, Robert Mondavi on February 24, Nk’Mip on March 12 and See Ya Later Ranch on April 9. More information about the Winemaker’s Apres Series is available here .
This winter the Wizard Grill at the base of Blackcomb Mountain will be home to Whistler Blackcomb’s first and only Coca-Cola Freestyle soft drink dispenser. The machine is the only one of its kind in the Sea To Sky Corridor and allows guests to customize their own drink by mixing any of the 120+ flavours of their favourite Coca-Cola beverages. More information about the Coca-Cola Freestyle Project can be found at www.coca-colafreestyle.com/home.