As we move forward in 2020, I think of how creative and resilient our community is. As we've faced many challenges over the years, one we did not expect was the lack of engagement with Vail Resorts. The one constant we have had over the years is the participation of the various mountain ownerships with the community. We worked hard to be the premier mountain destination resort.
Vail Resorts focus is on selling ski passes and having guests ski their resorts, the unique events which are part of the Whistler brand do not mesh with the current business plan.
Thankfully, the local business community has stepped up and filled the void. Gibbons Whistler is leading the World Ski & Snowboard Festival into April 2020 and is passionate about the significant part this Festival plays in our mountain culture.
Deep Winter Photo Challenge, after a run of thirteen years, was a casualty this fall. Thankfully, Origin Design and Communications Ltd., a local outdoor sports marketing agency, approached Tourism Whistler and the Fairmont Chateau Whistler to fill the void. Uprising will premier this February pairing established photographers with up and coming shooters to create a winning slide show and share in an $8000 purse.
Finally, Tourism Whistler began a soul searching mission in September 2017, and declared its commitment to responsible tourism and balanced year-round visitation. The study was the most comprehensive research ever taken and the first that engaged the local and business population as well as the visitors. The presentation was at the Rainbow Theatre the week before Christmas. The culmination of this research was Whistler's Place brand.
"Based on online polls, in-person interviews and workshops, many of the findings reaffirmed what many already know about Whistler's appeal: its natural beauty, vibrant village, modern infrastructure and international flair. But TW also gained some insights it hadn't heard before, like how the community inherently magnifies experiences and emotion through its celebratory vibe and "go-all-out" mentality. It also heard how Whistler's environment is a strong draw, but it's the culture of the community that serves as the glue that connects people to this place."
One quote presented was that Banff is beautiful to look at, but Whistler encourages you to jump in and participate in that beauty. We'll continue our goal of being the premier mountain destination, and I'm happy to call this place home, more than ever.
Whistler really is the best place on earth!