Crowds flock to Whistler's early opening weekend
Published Saturday, November 14, 2009 6:31PM PST
Whistler Blackcomb opened to the public Saturday, 12 days ahead of schedule, drawing massive crowds of skiers and snowboarders ready to hit the slopes.
Cypress and Grouse mountains opened Friday, and Whistler, Sun Peaks Resort in Kamloops and Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna followed suit on Saturday.
Officials recorded 100 centimetres of snow on the first day of Whistler's ski season. Four lifts are operating and several runs are already accessible, including one designated for the 2010 Olympic Games.
"Everyone's so pumped right now because of the hill opening," luge athlete Jeff Christie told CTV News. "You realize that this town, it is really meant for the Olympics because they love it when winter comes here."
Whistler marketing vice president Stuart Rempel is hoping the weather will bolster the city's pre-Olympic economy.
"We've got some of the earliest snow in the world right now," Rempel said. "We're expecting this will be good for our businesses."
And some businesses could use the boost. Some fear that tourists will be staying away this winter in order to avoid the pre-Olympic rush.
"It's something that definitely is felt by the village. December is quieter than expected or normal," Aava hotel manager Colin Hedderson said.
So far, just 30 per cent of Aava's rooms have been booked for December, though only four rooms remain during the Olympic period.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Sarah Galashan