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Open House answers questions

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For those wondering where the next ski lift will be or what the revamped Creekside will look like, the answers were at last weekend’s Whistler-Blackcomb Open House.

The senior managers of every division at the company were on hand to answer questions and meet locals at last Saturday’s event.

Arthur Dejong, mountain planning and environmental resource manager for Whistler-Blackcomb, said a lot of people wanted to talk about future lifts.

"The majority of comments pertained to where the next best lift location will be," he said.

But the lifts weren’t the only topics up for discussion at the event.

Senior managers also fielded questions on environmental initiatives, grooming, mountain safety, lift ticket programmes and parking, among a host of other issues.

"We are getting into the community more and more these days, looking for their input," said Christopher Nicolson, public relations and communications manager at Whistler-Blackcomb.

"We see that more and more as a core part of what we do. I don’t think you would have seen that kind of thing even five years ago. Companies weren’t as open."

The company has been shifting its operating procedures over the past two years to gauge the impact of its decisions on the community.

The company recognizes that Whistler residents care deeply for the mountains and at the same time, they feel the company is unapproachable.

Among the senior managers on hand at the event were Doug Forseth, senior vice president operations and Dave Brownlie, senior vice president finance.

"It was kind of neat to have all the senior management in once place at one time like that, talking to people in the community, letting them know what we’re doing and getting their feedback," said Nicolson.

He said the day proved to be an excellent venue for two-way communication where residents could learn about current mountain projects and initiatives and managers gained new ideas throughout the day.

A few hundred people dropped by the Open House and due to its success, Nicolson said there will be another one next year.

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