By Loreth Beswetherick Along with its new logo, Whistler-Blackcomb will be getting a new-look web site with e-commerce capability that will serve as a prototype for all Intrawest resorts throughout North America. The Whistler-Blackcomb web site is just one small part of a $6.5 million, five-year deal inked between Intrawest and TELUS late last month. Together, the communications company and Intrawest will be working to develop highly-personalized web sites with e-commerce functions for each of Intrawest’s resorts and real estate developments in North America. The sites — which will be launched over the next 15 to 18 months starting with Whistler — are expected to provide a one-stop-shop capability for on-line accommodation bookings, ski pass renewals and sales, ski rental reservations, ski school registration, child care registration, retail purchases and other e-commerce features. Intrawest is also looking at the potential for selling real estate and time share properties on-line. This is the most extensive e-commerce services agreement ever undertaken by BCT.TELUS, which was born out of the recent merger between BC TEL and Alberta’s TELUS. The communications company will host the Intrawest web sites on their servers, help make the sites e-commerce capable and provide technical support across North America. "Right now we are starting with Whistler-Blackcomb on a prototype site," said Kevin Stunder, Intrawest’s internet development manager. He said each Intrawest resort, including the summer operations, will have a site with its own distinct, creative look and content but they will all work off one e-commerce engine. "Basically we will set up one secure payment gateway that can check and validate a credit card rather than each resort working with a different company to do that," said Stunder. "TELUS will provide us with that functionality and that is basically where the huge dollars are saved." Stunder said the Whistler site will have some e-commerce capability in time for the coming ski season. "I can’t provide any specific dates because we are still just mailing out the project plan but there will e-commerce functionality by the winter — it’s just a matter of which products they choose to sell." The web sites will be interactive so users can personalize content based on their preferences. For example, they could make the site information more skier or snowboarder oriented. Doug Strachan, TELUS media relations manager, said the Intrawest partnership builds on co-marketing agreements that were already in the works — like the sponsorship of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival and the guest communications centre in the Roundhouse Lodge which provides skiers and boarders with access to computers, the internet, telephones, cellular phone chargers, the Bloomberg news service plus faxing, photocopying, printing and scanning facilities. Strachan said his corporate sales team has been working over the last year to bag Whistler’s business and it managed to beat out the competition with its proposals. Intrawest executive vice president and chief financial officer, Daniel Jarvis, said Intrawest intends to capitalize on the benefits of the internet in every aspect of business. He said the new highly personalized web sites will help Intrawest provide guests with the exact information they need, when they need it and offer them the opportunity to immediately plunk down the cash and complete a transaction. Jarvis said using the web also helps Intrawest reach the growing European market in a personalized, yet cost-effective way.