By Clare Ogilvie
Outdoor Adventures at Whistler has bought out all the mountain activities run by Cougar Mountain Wilderness Adventures.
It is a significant move as it makes Outdoor Adventures the company with the largest amount of adventure offerings in Whistler. The company now offers snowmobiling, dog sled rides, sleigh rides, and snowshoeing in the winter and ATV, Hummer excursions, voyageur canoe tours, and horseback riding in the summer.
The deal gives Outdoor access to all of Cougar Mountain's tenure up Cougar Mountain and Rainbow.
Kevin Brownlee, one of the partners in Cougar Mountain, said his company approached Outdoor owner Joey Houssian with the proposal several months ago adding that it was a positive move for both parties.
“Our tenure out here is probably the best on offer so it works out well for everyone,” said Brownlee.
He would not disclose what the deal was worth financially.
The move frees up Cougar, which has been in business for about 22 years, to focus on its quickly expanding Skyline business. The company hopes to develop more infrastructure at the Cougar Mountain base site.
“We want to further develop our options to group and corporate (customers),” said Brownlee.
“We want to develop a corporate base here. We have an area by 16-Mile Creek that we want to clear out and level it all out for corporate events, weddings and so on. There is not much available for this type of activity in Whistler.
“(Houssian) is respected in town and his family name is respected and we are looking down the road and believe it is a good partnership as far as the tenure goes and any further development we want to pursue.”
On the Skyline front the company is getting a lot of interest in the technology internationally and from all over North America, including San Francisco, San Diego and Miami.
And, said Brownlee, in about six weeks they expect to open a Skyline ride at Canada Olympic Park near Calgary. It will take off from a 90-metre ski jump.
Both companies now work in a strategic alliance out of the Cougar Mountain Base with a “tenants in common” agreement with regard to the tenure for activities on mountain.
“When the deal started it just made sense for us to look at more than just the snowmobile business at Cougar and (the partners) very much wanted to get out of the activities and I very much wanted to get more into it, so it was a perfect fit,” said Houssian of the deal.
Last year Outdoor Adventures, which has been in operation for about 10 years and owned by Houssian for six, mostly ran snowmobiling in the Cal-cheak area. It has been challenged for the last couple of years due to little snow at low elevations and a trail and infrastructure network in its infancy.
Houssian said he plans to continue to invest in the business and focus on how to maximize the guest experience over the coming months.
“The plan for the next year is to stabilize a little bit and really focus on the products that we are offering,” he said.
“We really want to try and focus on the details of those products.”
Part of that will be continuing to move to four-stroke engines in the sleds.
“We just feel it is the way to go moving forward,” he said.