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Awareness and EducationEnvironment
Protect Share and Inspire
Our mission is to become the most sustainable mountain resort operation in the world. Our environmental and economic performance will be heavily weighted on how we protect our ecosystems and address climate change. Environmental issues are business opportunities. Similar to health care, early detection and response to problems reduces costs. Early response to opportunities reduces our impacts on the natural environment and generates revenue as a market leader.
The more we protect our mountain ecosystems, the more opportunities we have to share guided and self guided ecotourism experiences with our guests. We provide wildlife/Bear viewing and glacial tours on Whistler Blackcomb.
Through our enactments of protection and excellence in providing environmental education, we become a global inspiration.
Nature Based Tourism
Whistler Blackomb has over 14,000 acres within its tenure. At build out less than 30% will be impacted by recreational development. This leaves a considerable land base to develop ecotourism. Development in environmentally sensitive parts of the ski area is modified to sustain natural resource features. These resource features include a large population of black bear, deer, alpine flower filled meadows, and glaciers. Over 50% of the area is alpine and within a 20 minute lift ride from Whistler Village. Surrounding the ski area is some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, the alpine wilderness of Garibaldi Provincial Park. The combination of the two areas natural inventory provides Whistler Blackcomb with opportunities in ecotourism that are unmatched anywhere in North American mountain resorts. Ecotourism is a form of triple bottom-line business. it builds social value by:
- Providing employment for local guides
- Environmental value by promoting protection of natural ecosystems
- Economic value by capturing the fastest growing and most lucrative sector of the tourism market
Ecotourism does not in any way preclude ski area development. It does however demand more sustainable methods of development. Whistler Blackcomb has over a decade of successful experience on this. In the framework of the United Nations environmental Program and the world tourism organization, it is clearly recognized that ecotourism provides a leadership role in sustainable practices to the tourism sector. Ecotourism can demonstrate the real treasure of a regions nature and culture in a way that mainstream tourism has missed. Ultimately saving the geese that lay the golden eggs.
Staff and Community
We continually strive to educate and spread awareness on environment and economic performance.
- All new staff receive an environmental orientation.
- Established three internal working groups focused on sustainability planning in the areas of, energy, transportation and waste.
- Through the Natural Step Canada, we purchased 50 licenses for on-line TNS training. Fifty staff members from a variety of departments have completed on-line TNS training as well as in-house facilitation and training sessions.
- Establishing an intrawest sustainability Network to provide a forum of exchanging information on sustainability programs with other resorts.
- Created more than 45 interpretive sites on the mountains.
- Guests learn about local issues with the Environmental Fund and Whistler Blackcomb Habitat Improvement Team.
- Bring the Telluride Mountain Film Festival on tour to Whistler annually to raise awareness about environmental issues and to showcase the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Environmental Fund.
- Attend community open houses and participate in events to showcase sustainability programs including: Earth Day, Clean Air Day, environment week, the commuter challenge and mountain and Valley clean up Days.
- Over 300 children attend summer outreach programs annually.
- Over 1700 guests participate in bear and ecology tours annually.