Whistler Blackcomb’s market capitalization surpassed $1 billion last week as its stock reached an all-time high on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Already North America’s largest and most visited ski destination, the company today unveiled a $345 million capital plan, the largest in its history. On-mountain improvements are only part of the initiative which also includes new four seasons attractions, base area revitalization and additional real estate development.
The big lift news is Renaissance Phase One will include a new chondola to replace the Magic Chair connecting the Blackcomb Daylodge to Base II, where a 16,300 square foot waterpark and skier services building will go up. The park and chairlift will be just one component of a new Blackcomb Adventure Park with a mountain coaster and more. The chondola will be open day and night to connect the key destinations at both ends. I suspect W-B will also expand hours on the first section of Excalibur to create a true gondola transit system between the Blackcomb base areas and Whistler Village.
Phases 2 and 3 include many lift additions with the ultimate goal of adding 25 percent more ski terrain to serve 2.8 million annual skiers, up from 2 million today. Real estate development included in Renaissance will supply the capital needed to implement the on-mountain investments outlined in the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain master plans, including:
- A high-speed detachable replacement for the Olympic beginner chair on Whistler Mountain.
- Extended high speed quad replacements for Catskinner on Blackcomb and Franz’s on Whistler
- A third gondola from the Creekside base to Chic Pea, replacing the long-removed Orange chair.
- Two all-new chairlifts in Bagel and Khyber Bowls for an expansion dubbed Whistler Westside.
- Increased capacity from Blackcomb Base with two new high-speed chairlifts replacing Wizard and Solar Coaster.
Whistler Blackcomb notes all plans are subject to government and First Nations approval. The new Blackcomb Base II projects in phase one will take two years to complete from the time of approval. You can check out the full, interactive Renaissance website at renaissance.whistlerblackcomb.com.