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Alta states

Dave Brownlie: Business as usual



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David Brownlie is not the most articulate of men. Most number crunchers aren’t. That said, he has a passion for what he does that animates everything he touches. Brownlie is now 44 years old. He has three kids under the age of seven and manages a work portfolio that would fell any normal executive (his job title at W-B should be “Boss of Everything”). Despite it all, Intrawest’s top man at Whistler still looks — and acts — like the kid next door. Indeed. Were he to don his old UBC hockey uniform, chances are he could still pass off as the captain of the team, a role he last played in the mid-1980s…

“I certainly don’t feel that young,” he says with another quick flash of teeth. “I first came to live here as a 26 year old. And that seems like a long time ago. Heck — I’m now playing hockey with kids who were born in this valley. And they remind me how old I am every time I get out and skate with ’em…”

But it’s not just the way Brownlie looks that makes him such an endearing character. For there’s an aura of innocence about him — a Walter Mittyish wonder with the world — that disarms even the most vociferous of W-B critics.

“I’m truly excited about the future,” he tells me in the semi-stuttering machine gun delivery style that is pure Brownlie. “Sure — we have challenges, just like any other community. But sometimes I feel we tend to dwell too much on the negatives around here.” He pauses for a moment. Almost like he’s checking his mental notes to make sure he’s not missing anything.

He continues. “We have one of the most amazing physical plants in the world. We have a community rich with unique and talented characters. Sure, we’ve had a few setbacks in the last few years. We started believing our own press. Let our prices rise too high when the dollar was at 63 cents. Got a little too arrogant for our own good. But that’s all behind us. Our job now is to rally together and move this community forward into the 21 st century.”

It’s a message he is very keen to deliver. “Listen — for Whistler-Blackcomb to be successful, the community has to be successful. And vice versa. Our destinies are totally interlocked.” He pauses. “And you know what — I’m seeing improvements throughout the community. We’re having a pretty good year so far. I think our customers are telling us we’re on the right path.”