Earlier this week, Whistler Blackcomb announced its new spring operating schedule which involved the immediate closure of the Whistler side of the ski area and the opening of limited terrain at Blackcomb. However, the terrain that the resort expected to run at Blackcomb was much more ‘limited’ than any of the public had initially hoped for, inciting intense backlash on social media. Coincidentally, a significant snowstorm dumped roughly a foot of new snow right as management cut back the amount of available terrain. People were not happy.
Initially, the resort had planned to only run one of its gondolas during the week, Excalibur, with the Blackcomb Gondola to run only on weekends. Glacier Express, which reaches some of the highest, most show-worthy terrain at Blackcomb, was not going to open this spring so that resort crews could perform maintenance on it. With Blackomb’s arguably best chair closed for the season and only one gondola running during the week, the amount of terrain at the resort was going to be severely restricted until its closing date of May 22nd. That was until Whistler Blackcomb’s local population responded aggressively on social media, throwing a fit online that caused the resort to backtrack on its plans.
Whistler Blackcomb has since apologized and revamped its schedule this spring. Responding on Tuesday in a social media post, Whistler Blackcomb explained its reasoning for the lift closures and apologized for not being more transparent in the process. The full post is attached below:
The recent snowstorm only exaggerated the issue, and videos shared by locals on social media showed a tremendously long lift line on the Excalibur Gondola as a result of the closure. This week was a mess for Whistler Blackcomb and its local skiers and riders.
Why is there one gondola open for so many people. The line is taking up the entire village. pic.twitter.com/5T4PetgNr1
— David Hua (@DHua48) April 17, 2023
Whistler Blackcomb has since listened to the voices of its disgruntled local population and taken measures to show it actually cares about the situation, issuing an apology and changing its plan to better serve the public. The resort has proved that it can learn from its mistakes and adjust accordingly so that the needs of its community are met.
“Importantly, Glacier will spin daily through May 22. This means M-F, Excalibur, Excellerator, Jersey, Catskinner, 7th, Glacier & Crystal will spin; Blackcomb Gondola will open Sat. + Sun. Please check the Lifts & Terrain Status page on our website + our Mtn Ops Twitter for real-time updates.
We have ongoing maintenance/safety work through summer underway. We have a lot of lifts to care for + some have little down time due to nearly year-round operations. We appreciate your patience + support!
Spring has sprung in Whistler + we have so much happening as we get ready for bike park opening, summer activities, upgrade Fitz, conduct necessary maintenance, and take our final turns of the ski season. We remain committed to ongoing communication so you know what to expect, too.
We hope you join us soon + we appreciate your passion + feedback.”
– Doug Pierini, Interim COO & Doug Macfarlane, VP of Mountain Operations
The power is with the people in Whistler. After a negative response from the public, the resort openly owned up to its mistakes and fixed them outright, inspiring hope in its community that they can actually be heard. Perhaps there is something to be learned here for other ski areas to better serve their own local communities when questionable decisions are inevitably made by resort management.