Despite the relatively light snowpack this season — 1,093 centimetres from November through April, which is below the average of 11.9 metres — Whistler had a successful winter overall. According to Tourism Whistler, room rental nights were 10 per cent above the 10-year average and only about one per cent behind the 2011-2012 winter — the busiest season ever for room nights, and the second biggest winter on record for total snow fall with 1,389cm falling from November through May.
"Given the extraordinary results of the 2011-2012 season, the fact that we were able to maintain our business at those levels is really a strong result," said Louise Walker, Tourism Whistler's vice president of marketing strategy in a release. "Recovering global economies, travel demand, favourable weather conditions, excellent snow, a robust year-round events calendar and strong marketing campaigns have helped to stimulate bookings from all of our key markets.
While room nights were positive, so was the increase in rates. For years hotels have been offering rooms at a heavy discount over previous highs, and those rates are starting to recover.
"Our rates are shifting in the right direction," said Walker. "We are seeing some recovery. Although rates have not returned to pre-recession levels, there is some growth. At the same time, the resort remains competitive, offering our guests excellent value for money."
Whistler's momentum isn't limited to winter. Summer 2012 was Whistler's busiest on record, with room nights tracking four per cent over the previous summer. So far it looks like summer 2013 will be strong, and early bookings are pacing ahead of last summer with strength in June, July and August.
Events do play a role in those bookings, with events like the North Face Whistler Half Marathon, Whistler Wellness Fair, Tough Mudder, BC Bike Race, Canada Day, Artwalk, Whistler Longboard Festival, the Believe Freedom Festival, Whistler Children's Festival, Wanderlust, Crankworx and Ironman on the calendar, among other things. As well, the Whistler Presents Outdoor Concert Series will return for a third season with bands including Matt Dusk, 54-40, English Beat and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra already booked.
TW elects new members
Eight candidates were nominated for three positions on the Tourism Whistler Board of Directors this year, with voting taking place online and at last week's annual general meeting. The results were announced at the AGM.
In the category of Multi-managed Lodging — Benchlands, Sue Chappel was the successful candidate.
In the category of Single-Managed Lodging — Small, incumbent Saad Hasan was re-elected.
In the Commercial category, incumbent Duane Hepditch was re-elected.
"I'd like to recognize each of the candidates who put their name forward for election," said Board Chair, Roger Soane. "On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Brenda Baker, for her many years of contributions... Congratulations to Duane Hepditch and Sue Chappel."
Tourism Whistler is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors — five appointed and seven elected:
• Single-Managed Lodging — Large:Norman Mastalir;
• Single-Managed Lodging — Small:Saad Hasan;
• Multi-Managed Lodging —Benchlands:Sue Chappel;
• Multi-Managed Lodging — Village:Jim Allard;
• Multi-Managed Lodging — Other: Roger Soane (Chair);
• Director-at-Large:Tony Cary-Barnard;
• Commercial: Duane Hepditch
• Whistler Blackcomb (appointed): David Brownlie,Stuart Rempel;
• Resort Municipality of Whistler (appointed): Roger McCarthy,Mike Furey
• Tourism Whistler President & CEO (appointed):Barrett Fisher.