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Shoppers flock to Whistler to gobble up the deals

Hundreds line-up and pay-up to save at 'turkey sale'

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Robert Lee booked his visit to Whistler to take advantage of the turkey sale deals six months ago.

"I knew at the end of last season that this was the year I had to get all new stuff," said the North Vancouver resident, 33, as he stood patiently in line to enter the doors of the legendary Whistler Blackcomb (WB) Turkey Sale Saturday, Oct. 12.

"So (some friends) — we all decided to come up and make a weekend out of it. I got pants and a jacket and some other stuff, and I saw these skis here too but didn't know if I would get them. But here I am lined up to see if they are still here."

Eager shoppers were lined up all the way into the farmers' market area at the bottom of Blackcomb Mountain, where the 20,000-square-foot Blackcomb Lodge — turkey sale central — was located for the weekend.

"This year has been incredibly successful, better than we had hoped actually," said Whistler Blackcomb spokesperson Laura Gallant.

"Last year we had over 22,000 transactions at the Turkey Sale. We don't have our transaction numbers finalized yet for this year, but early estimates indicate that we blew last year's number out of the water.

"We count people based on transactions, so we would have had even more people walk through the door who weren't purchasing anything."

What lies behind the success?

"I think people are psyched on the upcoming season and I think the weather is bringing people out too," said Josh Buchanan, Whistler Blackcomb's retail merchandise manager.

"Whether you are a skier or a snowboarder there (were) great deals inside the building — great deals for people who want to get out on the hill early in the season."

Plenty of locals were out Friday at the sale as well said Buchanan, adding that WB officials are pretty flexible about letting people in on the Friday.

Saturday saw more regional visitors from the Lower Mainland and even Seattle.

Merchandise was a mix, said Buchanan.

"Our buying team goes out and sources goods from throughout the industry — some of it is 2014 product, but it is a good mix of new and last years," he said.

"I think it is great that this has become such a community event. We are supporting the foodbank again this year selling turkeys and it is great to see the volume of traffic in Whistler as a whole.

All 100 frozen turkeys were gone by lunchtime Saturday, and at $15 each that means $1,500 for the foodbank.

Many other local retails stores also hosted turkey sales with strong volume in the resort.

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