Whistler-Blackcomb expanded its terrain by nearly 500,000 acres
with the purchase of Whistler Heli-skiing, the companies announced on Sept. 1.
At the same time the 25-year-old heli-ski operation increased
its market by several hundred-thousand potential customers.
“This announcement is great news for Whistler as it presents an
opportunity to package guest products that are unique in the ski resort
vacation market,” said Doug O’Mara, one of the four partners in Whistler
Heli-Skiing who have sold their shares to Whistler-Blackcomb.
“With Whistler-Blackcomb’s strong sales and marketing efforts,
the opportunities to create unbelievable packages and attract new guests to the
resort will be significant,” O’Mara said in a release. “My partners and I are
very happy to be able to take Whistler Heli-Skiing to this next level with
Partners O’Mara, John Hetherington, Andrew Wilkins and Ken
Hardy will remain with Whistler Heli-skiing for at least three years, although
Hardy will act as a consultant/guide as needed, rather than be part of the
day-to-day operations. Whistler Heli-Skiing, the only heli-ski company based in
Whistler, will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Whistler-Blackcomb.
“Whistler-Blackcomb is very excited with the new opportunity to
grow the Whistler Heli-Skiing business,” said Dave Brownlie,
Whistler-Blackcomb’s Chief Operating Officer. “Under the continued expert
management and guiding of Doug, John, Andrew and Ken, and with the valuable
marketing, sales and operational infrastructure that Whistler-Blackcomb can
provide, the business is poised for even greater success. There are huge
opportunities for us to market heli-skiing alongside our current in-bounds
Whistler Heli-Skiing has tenure on 494,000 acres throughout the Whistler
backcountry and employs 18 guides. Whistler-Blackcomb’s terrain includes 8,171
acres of in-bounds skiing.
A benefit of the two companies joining forces will be the sharing of snow science knowledge and data collection.