Is Vail Resort Killing Whistlers Spirit?

Travel

Is Vail Resorts Killing Whistler’s Spirit?

When Vail bought Canada’s famed Whistler Blackcomb ski mountain, neighbourhoods were nervous. Now, after a record season of visitors, they’re enraged .

The takeover of Canada’s most iconic ski resort by an American busines was never going to go smoothly. But Vail Resorts Inc.’s$ 1 billion acquisition of Whistler Blackcomb has Canadians seething.

The new owner’s offenses include the adoption of an on-mountain app that peculiarity Fahrenheit and inches, rather than Celsius and centimeters, and a season-pass pricing arrangement that welfares globetrotting jet-setters at the expense of neighbourhoods. Then there’s general displeasure over the assimilation of a quirky, homegrown success narrative by an American corporate behemoth.

” They’re trying to cater to a wealthy, sheltered audience–I don’t know if that mobs really wants what we have ,” says Cathy Zeglinski, a competitive athlete and family doctor who shut her Whistler practice last September, forced out by rising living costs and staff shortages in the town.” What we have is snowfall, extreme terrain ,” she excuses.” It& apos; s blustery, it& apos; s very hard to see. That’s why people be coming home with Whistler–it& apos; s very extreme .”

The base of Whistler, with the mountain in the background. It was acquired by Vail Resorts for$ 1 billion .
Photographer: Justa Jeskova Photography

This is the firstly season that Whistler Blackcomb was included in Vail’s $ 879 Epic Pass( now $899 for the 2018 -2 019 season ), a program that hands incumbents unlimited access to the company’s 14 resorts in North America and Australia. The affect has been immediate. Other areas on the pass include Beaver Creek and Vail in Colorado and Park City in Utah, where snowfall was at the lowest levels recorded in 30 years.

A skier on Whistler. The used is arguably the most famous ski mountain in Canada .
Photographer: Paul Morrison

That facilitated push a gob of Vail& apos; s forecasted 750,000 Epic Pass incumbents to examine farther north this past season. More than 8 percent of holders visited Whistler Blackcomb, helping make it the most-visited mountain used in North America, according to a March 13 Vail investor presentation.

Visitor counts at Whistler set a record for the third largest straight time, thanks to visitors from the U.S ., Mexico, Australia, and the U.K ., Vail Resorts Chief Executive Officer Robert Katz said in a March 8 investor ask.” That has been a pretty strong illustration, I contemplate, of the ability of the Epic Pass .”

Alienating the Locals

Canadians aren’t as impressed. Whistler Blackcomb’s tickets are now priced with a basi frequency in U.S. dollars–unfortunate for Canadians who deem the second-worst-performing major money this year. The exchange rate for the two monies is written above ticket prices, which fluctuate daily.

Whistler village, with a lift in the foreground. The locality has a severe home scarcity, affecting seasonal workers and neighbourhoods alike .
Photographer: Leanna Rathkelly/ All Canada Photos