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First Person: Doug Forseth

Upping the ante

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The next thing we did was to work with the Chipmunk Terrain Park on Whistler. This is very popular; it’s even busier than the park on Blackcomb just because it has more beginner and intermediate features.

In the past people would go down through the top of Ego Bowl to get there. What we’re doing now is at the top of Ego Bowl… we’re going to separate them. On the east side of the habitat line we’ve created a way into the park, an access through the trees that goes to Jolly Green Giant and into the terrain park.

We’ll put some more features in the top to attract people using the park to that line, and blocking off the other way into the park to separate the two types of riders.

So we’ve done basically three things – given the mountains a haircut, done some cosmetic work and added more snowmaking.

Pique: You said that you’ve doubled the reservoir on Whistler?

DF: Now we’ve got the capacity to make snow for far longer in cold situations… as long as it gets cold enough we can make twice as much snow.

Another big thing we’ve done is to put snowmaking on Ego Bowl and Upper Whiskey Jack… which opens up more beginner terrain in the alpine for poor snow conditions. We’ve done the same for a lot of upper runs, and all beginner runs.

On Blackcomb we’ve also added snowmaking to what we call 4 and 5 Road, which curves down by the Wizard-Solar connector. It’s good skiing and snowboarding, but between Honeycomb and the road we did not have any snowmaking. Last year it was a major challenge for us with the snow, so now we have snowmaking there.

We’ve also added more guns. At Creekside we’ve changed out our air-water guns down from Timing Flats, so it will be a little quieter in that neighbourhood. Then we can take the air-water guns further up the mountain, where it’s a little colder and they will work better anyway.

We’ve also upgraded some of our older guns with new technology, like radio frequency controls so we can turn them on and off without being there. It’s almost automated, but we’re not fully there yet, but we’ll be able to activate them a lot more quickly. Between our regular hours of operation and other work on the mountain, we don’t have a lot of snowmaking hours even in cold weather years, and to have to send someone out to physically turn the guns on takes a lot of time. This way we can maximize our valuable snowmaking time.

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