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Once up and running, the project is expected to generate 33 gigawatt hours of power per year, which is equivalent to the power consumed by Whistler Blackcomb to run lifts, restaurants, snowguns, and other buildings and services. The project will produce maximum power during the spring and summer, when Whistler Blackcomb's demands are less. But on an annual basis the power produced and the power Whistler Blackcomb consumes are nearly the same.
"I look forward to the day this winter when we begin to generate power out of the Fitzsimmons Project," said Arthur De Jong, mountain planning and environmental resource manager for Whistler Blackcomb. "It has been a long and challenging road, and we've made great gains, but this project is still only one of many steps that we need to make to become truly sustainable."
Whistler Blackcomb has also overhauled electrical and heating systems in their alpine lodges to increase efficiency, although there has been an increase in demand as well with the addition of new lifts like the Peak 2 Peak Gondola.
Ski School adds GPS
Managing groups of young skiers can be challenging at times for instructors, especially when they are at different levels and can get separated. Add several other instructors in identical clothes, kids that are new and don't recognize their classmates, and kids can become separated from their groups from time to time.
To enhance safety Whistler Kids and the Ride Tribe ski school programs are introducing the FLAIK GPS tracking system that will be included on vests. If a child ever strays from his group an alarm will sound at ski school headquarters, which can contact the instructor by phone. As well, an instructor can use the program to track students.
Soon, parents will also be able to access the data to see where their kids skied on any given day, as well as data like how many vertical feet they covered.
New executive chef to shake up food and beverage
Whistler Blackcomb is perpetually tinkering with its menus and food service, with the occasional overall to shake things up. This year the focus is on fresh, regional ingredients, ranging from Pemberton potatoes, locally produced trans fat-free muffins, and brand products that are known for being organic or environmentally friendly.