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Plotting the way forward

One Whistler meets to discuss Whistler post-Olympic future



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"The most important thing for our business is that we need a good return for our shareholders so we can reinvest back into facilities, back in the mountain, so we can continue to deliver on those expectations," he said.

Whistler Blackcomb recently submitted its five-year master plan to the province, and will be presenting those plans to the community on Feb. 26.

The open discussion touched on a few topics, like increasing diversity in resort staff to better service a more diverse clientele, increasing cultural programming and infrastructure, increasing youth participation on boards, and the status of our Olympic legacies.

Brownlie cautioned about adding too much infrastructure. "I think we need to be careful investing in more infrastructure, we've invested in so many things and every time you add infrastructure your costs go up... we have to get more people here before we build more stuff," he said.

On the legacy front, Whistler 2010 Sport Legacies president Keith Bennett noted that the Whistler Sliding Centre is close to launching a program where members of the public can try the sport of skeleton, while the Whistler Olympic Park is doing fairly well with roughly 1,000 visitors per day over Christmas and on weekends.

Joey Gibbons made the point that the resort needs a unified goal similar to the Games for the resort to shoot for, at which point he was informed that a goal of increasing hotel occupancy rates from 55 per cent to 65 per cent already exists - though it hasn't been well-communicated in the resort.

Barrett Fisher had the final word.

"There's an expression, that if you only focus on the numbers and technical pieces then your business will struggle," said. "But if you focus on the experience and celebrate, then the number will follow. We've always said our greatest asset is the energy of this place and the energy of its people, and the question is how do we spread it virally around the world?"