August has barely passed and Mother Nature has already given Whistler a gentle reminder that winter is just around the corner with snow falling on the peaks last week,
And while many may be hanging onto the final days of summer tooth and nail, there is no denying the excitement of the winter season is starting to take hold.
"We had a little bit of snow last week and some cold temperatures, it's usually around August and September that we start to see see the first signs," said Stuart Rempel, VP of Marketing and Sales at Whistler Blackcomb (WB).
"We're definitely getting excited for winter," he said.
The centrepiece of the 2012-2013 winter season kickoff for the resort is a new marketing campaign called "Wonders at Whistler Blackcomb," a concept developed by Origin Design and Communications, the agency that developed the "Embedded' campaign that ran for the week prior to opening day last year.
"Storytelling is a really big part of what we do, but storytelling now is not just print. It's in photos, videos and a lot of mixed media. The campaign was really developed to engage content from (guests) and to get them to share their content with us."
With the ubiquity of footage being created every day of the season with digital cameras, Whistler Blackcomb is encouraging skiers and snowboarders to "map" their wonders by uploading photos and video to the WB Wonderground website, highlighting their favourite zones on the mountain. Some of the designated Wonders will even have free wi-fi so people can upload and share their content instantly with family and friends all over the world. Hours after the official launch of the Wonderground webspace on Tuesday, several users had already posted photos of their favourite spots.
To get people inspired, WB will be releasing a seven episode video series called "The Wonder Reels" produced by Mike Douglas of Switchback Entertainment, as well as Sherpas Cinema, the crew behind last year's magnum opus All I Can. The first episode, which is simply titled "Snow," will screen on October 2 as Whistler hunkers down and waits hopefully for yet another early mountain opening. This first episode will feature trickling time-lapse footage that the Sherpas made famous in All I Can last year.
"We've got amazing video powerhouses, local folks that are doing an amazing job," said Rempel.
"Between the two of them I think they won just about every award last year. "
On top of having world class filmmakers showcasing Whistler's finest qualities and engaging guests by sharing their stories, WB also have a a few new products coming out for this winter.
Extremely Canadian, which has run steep skiing clinics on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains since 1997, will be offering a guided backcountry ski experience into the Spearhead Range. The program will be for advanced/expert skiers and riders and the ACMG certified guides will promote mountain awareness and avalanches safety.
The popular Max 4 ski school program (where classes are limited to four students) is back for this season and has now expanded to include a four-day camp, where instructors keep the same class for the camp and include video analysis, and of course, daily apres sessions.
Early-bird season passes are now on sale at Whistler Blackcomb through to October 8. An unlimited adult pass is available for $1,489 — a savings over $300. An early-bird unlimited senior's pass is available for $799, a savings of $170, for youth (13-18) the pass is $675, saving guests $64, and the child (7-12) pass is priced at $415, saving $110 (plus applicable taxes). Children six and under ski/ride for free and families can receive a 10 per cent discount on their pass purchases.
Official Opening Day at Whistler Blackcomb is scheduled for November 22, 2012.
Rempel believes that Whistler Blackcomb will keep its place as the number one ski resort in B.C. by continuing to share the experience of its guests.
"It's not about cheap hotel rooms, it's not about deals, it's about the experience," he said.
"That's really what sells Whistler."