Features & Images » Feature Story

Making the little things add up

Up close with Doug Forseth, Whistler-Blackcomb's head of operations



Page 4 of 8

Next year it will have a different name on it, and every year after that as people are able to bid on the name.

Pique: There were a few slow years but after last season and a good summer, is there a sense that the excitement is back?

DF: There’s a lot of energy, you can really feel it. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a record opening weekend. We made the decision to open the Creekside Gondola because the snow conditions allowed it, but also because we expect a strong turnout. Everything in the Roundhouse is totally open — even Steeps Grill is open, and I don’t think it’s ever been open this early before.

Pique: Will people notice any changes to runs that are being made for the Olympics?

DF: It wasn’t in the budget, but I can say we spent a lot of time on those runs over the summer and a lot of our staff were immersed in the task of building these alpine venues. That includes a lot of work on the ground.

The improvements to the Dave Murray Downhill are quite dramatic, a lot of changes had to be made for safety that will make it a better run in some ways. We’ve been working pretty closely with VANOC and FIS to ensure the end product is something we can be proud of and something that will compare favourably to the top downhill courses in the world.

It’s not totally finished. It was a two-year project, to be completed next summer, and there are two bridges we still have to put in, but it’s going to be a very different experience this year.

One of the areas where we’ve done a lot of work is Fallaway, which is steep as heck with a 90 degree left turn at the bottom. We’ve widened the turn by 10 to 15 metres, which should create a much better ski experience. We’ve also widened the way to Coaches Corner and added a new hot air at the ‘S’ turns which should also improve the view from the finish line.