Around the Mountains: Whistler & Blackcomb exceed 2 million skiers
WHISTLER, B.C. After a string of so-so years, it was a big year at the Whistler- Blackcomb ski areas, with more than 2 million skier days. Altogether, more than 6 million skier-days are expected in British Columbia, with another 3 million in other provinces of western Canada.Snow early, plentiful, and regularly was the big story in British Columbia, say industry sources, although various marketing initiatives were also credited with the growing numbers. Resorts in interior British Columbia saw great gains in visitors from Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and New Zealand. The area relies less on the U.S. long-haul market than Whistler, says Christopher Nicolson, president of Tourism Sun Peaks.In Whistler, the economic malaise of recent years had caused a great deal of negativity, angst, and pointing fingers, Whistler-Blackcomb ski area executive Dave Brownlie told Pique newsmagazine. But Canadian ski resorts cannot relax, he said, because both increased border restrictions and the dramatically increasing value of the Canadian dollar against that of the U.S. dollar will discourage U.S. visitors. We are going to have to be more creative and more aggressive in the marketplace to get people here. The Canadian dollar has about a third more value as compared to the U.S. dollar, than it did in early 2002.Mayor: Plan for the end of skiing as we know it WHISTLER, B.C. Sawmills and mines across the American West closed during the 70s and 80s, and lately theyve been doing so in British Columbia.Will ski areas follow in another generation? Following a discouraging view of a globally warmed future from the Convention on Biological Diversity, Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed said its time to think of that time. We should be planning for the end of skiing, he said. It may not end, but it wont be what it is today. Whistler two winters ago got a peek into what climatologist are predicting, with drenching rains through January that eviscerated the snowpack. Melamed spoke of his great embarrassment that the planet he will leave will not be as in as good of a condition as the one he inherited from his parents.
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