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First Person: Doug Forseth

Upping the ante

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DF: It has been done before at other mountains, but it wasn’t in the budget for this year. There is value to doing this – do we want to pay the money to build these features out of snow, or spend the money on the capital cost of building permanent features out there, and maybe save money in the long run. It just made sense.

Another thing we’ve done is that on Mainline, the lower part above the parking lot, we’ve made things wider. It’s the most crowded location on either mountain, but we’ve opened it up so it’s huge and it will be easier to ski out from that location, which is a huge improvement.

Pique: There was room with the new tubing park?

DF: Lots of room. The tubing park will be ready to go this winter as soon as there is snow, and we do have snowmaking over there. (The run) will be about 1,000 feet long, with about 150 feet of vertical, and it will be open seven days a week until 8 p.m. at night, conditions permitting. We’re hoping to have it running for the middle of December at the latest.

We’ve also put a magic carpet on Yellow Brick Road, and gotten rid of the POMA lift. That’s a good place for lessons and beginners, and we wanted to see that area used better.

Pique: So that’s Blackcomb, are there similar changes for Whistler?

DF: Starting at the top, on Harmony Ridge down from Pika’s Traverse, the way down has been widened and leveled out in the places where we had a sidehill. That should be a much improved ski experience.

The area at the top of the Red and Franz’s Chair has also been enlarged, like we did with the Jersey Cream, so people will have more room to move around up there.

One major change is the Upper Whiskey Jack Road where you cut around under the Roundhouse. That leads to beginner areas, and it’s extremely crowded and narrow so we’ve tripled the size of that lane.

We used material that we cleared from the top of Red and Franz’s, and we also doubled the size of our reservoir from 10 million gallons to 20 million gallons and used the material from that.

Pique: Is it usual to go through so many big projects of this scale in a season, or is this a major initiative on your part?

DF: What we’ve done is redirected some capital dollars after last year and put them more into the terrain, like summer grooming, terrain improvements, snowmaking. We eliminated a lot of smaller projects that we didn’t feel were as important to our core product.

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