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There’s a chance we could open the area earlier, but not
knowing what the alpine snow conditions would be like we decided on Dec. 16. We
usually have enough base by then and it’s prior to Christmas, which is
Pique: Has the Symphony Express generated a lot of attention
for the resort?
DF: It’s one of a combination of things that is drawing
response from the public this year. We sold a record number of early bird
season passes this year, and while we don’t have the final numbers on our Edge
Card sales, we’re tracking around where we were at this time last year, and we
set a huge record last year.
These sales were driven by a couple of things. One is that we
had a great year last year with snow, especially with the record snow in
January. Another is Symphony, people seem to be very excited about that.
We were very careful to ensure that the area kept its look and
feel. For example, we dug the tower footings in May when there was still snow
on the ground, so we didn’t have to build any roads into the area.
We did logging by helicopter, and kept cutting to a minimum as
we were going for a natural, gladed feel for the area, although we did build a
run at the boundary for less experienced skiers and for safety, to prevent
people from going out of bounds. There was very little disruption to the ground
cover, we had a very light footprint.
The main run is Addagio, which is the widest run, and the other
main run is just being called Founder’s Run on the maps. We’ve taken the whole
concept of fundraising to this run… and every year the Whistler-Blackcomb
Foundation will auction off the right for people to put their own name on it
for the rest of the year.
The only exception is this year, when the run will be dedicated
to Jeff Harbers. He was the first president of the American Friends of Whistler
who died in a plane crash this summer. In his honour the run will be called
Jeff’s Ode to Joy, which has a story behind it. He had two small children, and
his daughter was doing a piano recital. Jeff was not a musical guy, but he
learned the piano to be able to do a duet of Ode to Joy with her. We feel the
name sums up Jeff’s passion for music and skiing.