One of the objectives in creating the World Ski and Snowboard Festival was to extend the ski season, bringing additional people to the resort in April. In its first two years the festival has done that, but few could have guessed Whistler would be sold out the second weekend in April, 1999. "This is the first year we have deliberately scheduled the festival without using Easter weekend as an anchor," said David Perry, vice president of marketing and sales for Whistler-Blackcomb. "The fact that the resort is sold out this weekend proves that the World Ski and Snowboard Festival can be a driving force all on its own to build business." The entire winter has been beyond all expectations. Near-record snowfalls have been part of the equation, but visitor numbers have been at a level some people weren’t predicting for another three or four years. To have a zero vacancy rate in the village in April, particularly given the resort’s growth in available hotel rooms in recent years, wasn’t even imagined a couple of years ago. "Whistler is the busiest ski resort in the world right now," says Doug Perry, managing director of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival. "The mandate for the festival has always been to build business during the post-Easter period. It is clearly working." Sonya Hwang, director of public relations for the Chateau Whistler Resort, said the hotel’s occupancy levels are very strong throughout the festival. "It’s a wonderful wrap up to the end of the season, offering guests an added incentive to come to Whistler in April." Vail and other resorts are now considering copying the World Ski and Snowboard Festival concept to extend their winter seasons.