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When asked whether it meant Whistler-Blackcomb changed its mind on making the passes optional, Stuart said they were not that specific when it came to Spirit Passes.
“On another note, we really think locals will get the best use out of the Peak 2 Peak. There’s no more discussion of what mountain they want to ski or ride that day, they can do both.”
Whistler-Blackcomb is expecting the gondola to be a big a hit among regular visitors and draw new people to the resort. Most Edge Card holders who renewed their passes for 2008-09 in the spring to receive a bigger discount also purchased Peak 2 Peak access, said Rempel.
“Economically, this is a $52 million investment for the mountain. Obviously there are also required operations costs, labour costs for the people required to operate it, the maintenance of the facility, and the business model we’ve come up with allows us to offer this for a nominal fee,” said Rempel. “At the end of the day it’s an incredible asset for the resort, it’s a world record holder in a few different categories and it will be a major attraction in winter and summer for guests. In enhances the experience, gives visitors more choices, and the access it provides to our guests will take Whistler to another level.
“There is a cost, but we said all along that it would be nominal.”
This year the Peak 2 Peak is scheduled to close for maintenance on Sunday, April 26, the last day of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival. Blackcomb will be kept open, and with no roads this year there will be more terrain available.
On May 16 the Village Gondola and Peak 2 Peak will reopen and allow people to cross over from Whistler to Blackcomb to ski. The Peak 2 Peak will continue to run through the summer sightseeing season, closing on the Thanksgiving weekend in 2009. It should reopen on opening day in November 2009.
The network of hiking trails on Blackcomb that existed prior to the merger of Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb is being restored, including trails to Decker Mountain and Xhiggy’s Meadow, and new trails are being added. When complete, Rempel says there will be more than 60 km of hiking trails in the alpine.