By Andrew Mitchell
Back in January the Whistler Events Bureau — a partnership between the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Whistler-Blackcomb and Tourism Whistler — announced plans to change the way the resort attracts, plans and facilitates major events.
Historically, the response to events in Whistler has been mixed, with some hugely successful properties like Crankworx and the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival drawing large numbers of visitors, while other events have been met with less enthusiasm. Still, partners agree that Whistler has all the pieces in place to host more and bigger events in the future.
Relaunching WEB as Events Whistler, the partners looked at different ways to improve how they work with event producers, sponsors and resort partners to grow existing events and bring new events to town. At the same time Events Whistler would serve as the central point of contact between event organizers and resort partners, providing those organizers with information, advice, documentation, and marketing and logistics support to ensure their success.
Although there is an Events Whistler budget to plan homegrown events, most event organizers find sponsors to finance their own operations. Events Whistler will help them to make those events successful by making it easier to navigate the bureaucracy and complete the paperwork required to host events and competitions.
In April, Events Whistler hired events planner Greg Albrecht as general manager of Events Whistler. Although he’s still in the process of putting the nuts and bolts of the organization in place, he has no doubt that Events Whistler can achieve its goals and draw more visitors to the resort.
Pique Newsmagazine caught up with Albrecht to talk about the new position and the future of events in Whistler.
Pique: You’ve been doing this for a while, and most recently organized the 2005 Grey Cup in Vancouver. How did you get into events planning?
Greg Albrecht: I was at UBC studying international relations and a group of guys I went to school with got together and decided to put on a concert, which was the first Arts County Fair. We booked the Barenaked Ladies and Spirit of the West, just before the Barenaked Ladies broke. Four months later they were playing the Coliseum, and the Spirit of West were opening for them.
I remember calling my mom from the show on one of those old brick-size cell phones and saying the last four years were basically wasted, that this was what I wanted to do with my life.