By Claire Piech
After months of preparation, Whistler’s own brand makes its debut later this month as the official merchandise sponsor of Kokanee Crankworx.
Hats, hoodies, bike jerseys, and T-shirts — all featuring Whistler’s stylized “W” logo alongside Crankworx graphics — will be on sale during the July 21-29 mountain biking festival.
The merchandise line is part of the Whistler True Local project intended to brand Whistler resort. It was developed by the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) last June.
“Kokanee Crankworx explodes with energy. The merchandise sponsorship enables us to enhance the connection between the Whistler brand and a great Whistler experience,” said John Rae, the RMOW’s manager of strategic alliances and marketing.
“This sponsorship is integral to the launch of Whistler True Local,” he said.
The Whistler tagged goods will be sold at a merchandise booth in Skier’s Plaza during Crankworx as well as in Garbanzo Bike and Bean, the official bike shop for the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. Prices for the Crankworx competition apparel will be determined by the retailers.
“There has not been a huge push to get other retailers involved, just because of timing, but in conversations with retailers, there definitely seemed to be an appetite for participation,” said Oliver Flaser, a contractor working with Rae to develop True Local.
He said in the future, they hope to expand the number of outlets carrying Whistler True Local products throughout Whistler Village.
The Whistler label has been in the works since Rae presented the idea to council in June 2006. The release date was initially expected to be last February, but later got pushed back to this summer.
According to Flaser, Crankworx has been chosen as an ideal launch of the brand because of the opportunities to generate revenue.
“There are two main goals of the Whistler label. The first is increasing awareness of True Local. The second is generating revenue opportunities,” said Flaser.
Flaser added that since Crankworx is presented in partnership with Tourism Whistler, Whistler-Blackcomb and the RMOW, selling authentic Whistler apparel will ensure revenue generated stays within the three parties and ultimately comes back to the resort of Whistler.
In addition to strengthening the Whistler brand, merchandise sales at the festival will also benefit the community. Proceeds from the sale of authentic Whistler products will be funneled back into community initiatives.
“A key mandate of the Whistler True Local program is to contribute to the overall sustainability of the community. Sponsoring Kokanee Crankworx fulfills that mandate by presenting a new revenue stream,” said Rae.
The specific initiatives that will be funded by True Local revenue have not yet been determined.