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"Were still fighting the good fight," said Cougar Mountain general manager Eric Sinclair. "Some of the things were doing are weather related, but right now our biggest challenge is to get the word out that were still running.
"We run into the same kind of problems in the springtime, too."
Because of the location of their tenure in the Soo Valley, Sinclair says the dogsled trails are still in good shape, with seven teams available. In addition, they are running two snowmobile tours one for experienced sledders that starts with a Hummer ride to the higher elevations, and a beginner tour on a trail lower in the valley.
Cougar is also renting a snowmaking machine to patch up pockets of snow that have been hit by the rain, after asking Whistler-Blackcomb for advice.
Business is down slightly in recent days, but with a few changes Sinclair says he is happy with the amount of business.
Staff hours have been cut, and some staff members have had to get part-time jobs, but nobody has been laid off. "A small percentage of our workforce is job-sharing but were holding onto everyone. As conditions improve with colder temperatures, we expect things to get busier," said Sinclair.
Bringing people back to Whistler will be a challenge, he continued.
"Were paddling upstream, and the more effort we put in now the better off were going to be," he said. "Theres a perception out there that the conditions cant be that good, but if you talk to the guests you hear a different story.
"One of our partners, Yes Tours, said that even when it was raining, the guests said it was still better skiing than where they came from. We have to get out of this black hole we dig for ourselves when it rains or the conditions arent good, and see things from the customers point of view. The snow is better than in most places, weve got great restaurants, a great nightlife, great hotels, and everyone is offering policies that people are very appreciative of. Perception is everything."
Tourism Whistler and Whistler-Blackcomb are doing more to ensure that people see the conditions up top, and dont make decisions based on the conditions at the bottom. The snow phone now mentions snowfall in the alpine, as well as the conditions in the sub-alpine around the weather stations, and they have included recent pictures on their websites.
"Its important to be honest, and show people that this isnt a normal season for us. At the same time, being completely honest, things are better than most people probably realize. Thats what were trying to get across," said Comeau Thompson.