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Top honcho at Whistler Blackcomb reports a good season despite challenges

WB shifts to spring operations April 14
Skiers at the top of the Saddle at Whistler in 2024.

With winter 2023-24 tapering off, Whistler Blackcomb’s Chief Operating Officer, Belinda Trembath, said what has proven a challenging season still isn’t done yet.

“While we didn’t get the snow we wanted to start the season, this was a truly—and continues to be—a remarkable season with an April powder day today,” she said at Whistler's April 9 regular council meeting.

Trembath was giving an end-of-season rundown to the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) council and staff, touching on highlights of the season past and what is to come.

It was the first full winter season Trembath has worked as COO of Whistler Blackcomb, having only just come to Canada for the position in 2023 from Australia.

She touched on some highlights for the season, like opening the Fitzsimmons 8 chair in December 2023, the revamped Raven’s Nest opening, the Invictus Games test event in February—which featured a visit from the Duke and Duchess of SussexPride Week, and the return of the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation’s Gala, and also praised WB staff for the work they did, events around the resort, and the mountain host program.

Trembath said another highlight was a focus on communication, "so that everyone knows what to expect from our operation every day, from parking updates to snow conditions and potential hazards following weather events."

The WB team have posted regular updates on parking capacity to X (formerly Twitter), along with regular updates on weather conditions and safety recommendations as the season went on. As noted, the season started slowly, but high snowfall in December and January prompted a rush of guests, and later-season warm weather made for interesting conditions that had ski patrol staying vigilant.

Snowpack through the season has proven a hot topic, with regular reports it was well below seasonal expectations not just at Whistler Blackcomb but across the province, impacting the guest experience at resorts near and far, but Trembath focused mainly on events and outreach in her update.

On outreach, she said WB is leaning into continued collaboration with First Nations.

“Looking ahead to spring and summer, Whistler and Blackcomb are both scheduled to operate through to this Sunday, April 14, following which we’ll move our spring ski operations to Whistler Mountain, and Blackcomb Mountain will close from the 15th of April for spring maintenance and to begin construction of our fourth lift in three years, the Jersey Cream Express.”

The Jersey Cream Express is expected to be open and ready for the 2024-25 winter season.

Trembath said the opening of the bike park is the next big item on the calendar—scheduled for May 17, or “Whismas.”

“A very exciting year for the bike park—it’s the 25th anniversary for the bike park and it’s also the first year that we haven’t had disruption with lift construction with Creekside and red going in and of course Fitzsimmons," she said. "So we’re going to be delighted to open Fitzsimmons express for the bike park on May 17, it's going to increase our uphill capacity to allow five riders and five bikes to upload on the same chair for access for our very popular Fitz zone.”

She also spoke about the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation’s Enviro Fund, which is open this spring for grant applications and has provided millions in donations to Sea to Sky environmental causes.

“In closing, even with a challenging start to the season we have a resilient team here at Whistler Blackcomb,” said Trembath.

“The dedication and grit to deliver on an experience for our guests is to be truly commended. This also goes hand-in-hand with the support from the community. The continued connection with community leaders has allowed us to draw on meaningful feedback and ensured we are effectively communicating.”

Trembath’s full update at the April 9 regular council meeting can be watched on the RMOW website.