Ben Cherniavsky, Vancouver resident and Whistler skier, started a change.org petition to Vail Resorts Inc. The petition Vail Resorts: Make Whistler Great Again! states:
“Many local residents and longtime customers of Whistler Backcomb have noticed that ever since Vail Resorts bought the mountain four years ago the lifts have become more and more unreliable, lines have become longer and longer, terrain takes more and more time to open, snow making has been reduced, grooming has gone downhill (pardon the pun), and the food has gotten worse–all while prices have gone sky high!
If your experience has been negatively impacted by any (or all) of these changes please sign this petition! We want to raise awareness of these unsatisfactory developments within the local community and among Vail’s management and shareholders. Our hope is to get Vail to address the problems they have created by idly neglecting the magic that once defined the unforgettable experience of skiing Whistler Blackcomb.”
Whistler’s Pique Magazine published a response from the resort Whistler COO says Vail Resorts is listening to criticism. Whistler Blackcomb breaks down the challenging start to its season.
According to WB’s new COO Geoff Buchheister, the mountain operator has been challenged by a difficult snowpack this year, but is listening to concerns and will make changes where appropriate. “By no means am I sitting here and saying like, ‘hey, look man, everything’s perfect,'” said Buchheister. “What I’m actually saying is, ‘yes, we’re going to listen.”
Doug MacFarlane, WB’s vice president of mountain operations, disputes the premise of the petition. “Vail Resorts expects us to operate these mountains as we have in the past and supports me,” he said, speaking specifically about the opening of terrain. “There’s nobody stopping us or asking us to do anything different.”
Adam Mercer, WB’s patrol director, said that staff aspires to open all lifts in all zones as soon as possible in the season, and as early as possible in the day.
“That doesn’t change year over year,” he said.
“That’s our objective—to [open] as much terrain to people as safely and as efficiently as possible.”
Mercer added that patrol has used around five tonnes of explosives this year, about 60 per cent more than last year.
Another challenge, said Mercer, was that patrol couldn’t move through the resort easily early on in the season due to a lack of snow, and then they were burdened during snowy January.
These difficulties are commonplace in the resort business and this years snowpack is certainly challenging. Over-tourism also is a factor in the Whistler Blackcomb experience however being the best has its challenges.