CBC Digital Archives

Marketing a ski haven in Whistler

The mountains and spectacular scenery have always been there. But until the 1950s, the Whistler area was just a small collection of lodges and cabins. Then a group of Vancouver businessmen with big dreams built a ski hill. Despite some troubles along the way, Whistler Village was built and became one of Canada's best-known resorts. CBC Digital Archives takes a look at the still-bumpy road to Whistler's international success.

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There's nothing like a helicopter tour of Whistler Mountain to amaze visitors. "I'm really impressed," says ski writer Walter Skol. "It sold me, absolutely." In 1989 the Whistler Resort Association is spending nearly $2 million to lure and electrify influential people in the skiing media. And the effort has paid off: Ski magazine has named Whistler-Blackcomb the second most popular ski resort in North America after Vail, Colorado. According to this 1989 CBC News report, Whistler's massive ambitions include luxury accommodations that are unaffordable for many people.
• As seen in this report, the Whistler Resort Association also hosted guided tours for members of the ski media. In addition, the association was a big player on the ski show circuit, and at travel seminars and promotional events.

• In 1989, a stay at a Whistler resort could be expensive. In this report, reporter Deborah Goble notes "visitors with American dollars and Japanese yen like the $500 rooms right on the hill" and "Whistler Valley is now the favourite spot of skiers who make more than $100,000 a year."

• Whistler's marketing success has continued throughout the years. As of February 2010, Whistler-Blackcomb was rated the world's best ski resort on travelsdigest.com and askmen.com. It was also at or near the top of several other websites' rankings including Ski.com, Outside Online (outside.away.com), lovetoeatandtravel.com, diddit.com, theluggageblog.com, onthesnow.com. forbes.com, thebestskiresorts.info. It was the only Canadian ski resort to be included in each survey.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Evening News
Broadcast Date: Dec. 21, 1989
Guest(s): Glen Chapman, Cathy Dixon, Al Lister, Dave Perry, Walter Skol
Reporter: Deborah Goble
Duration: 4:59

Last updated: February 15, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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