After recent years of financial struggle for Intrawest, they have officially ended their partnership era with Whistler-Blackcomb. Earlier this week, it was announced that Denver-based KSL Capital Partners acquired the remaining 24 per cent of shares in Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc – 9,092,500 common shares at a market value of 12.75 per share, price tagging the acquisition at $116 million.
Although this marks the end of an era for Whistler-Blackcomb, the future couldn’t be brighter given the recent years of snowfall and resurgence against a global recession. The key benefit of this acquisition is that all senior management and decision making for the resort will be centralized entirely in Whistler. Dave Brownie has been promoted to president and chief executive officer from his current role as president and chief operating officer. Mr. Brownie has also been added as a director on the board. He’ll take over for the outgoing CEO, Bill Jensen, who was with the Intrawest team in Colorado and resigned as part of the sale with KSL Capital Partners.
Whistler Blackcomb Looking Forward To Its Future…
Whistler Blackcomb, as we know it, was formed by Intrawest after acquisitions of Blackcomb Mountain in 1986 and then merged with Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation in 1996 to unite what has become one of the most recognizable world class ski resorts. The 1996 merger also united the mountains into the largest North American ski resort with 3,307 hectares of skiable terrain. In the past decade, Whistler Blackcomb has also become a world class summer destination with the attraction of mountain biking, golfing, and popular summer events, such as, Crankworx, Tough Mudder, and recently, Ironman Canada.
KSL’s investment in Whistler Blackcomb couldn’t come at a better time with record snowfalls in recent years. In fact, Whistler Blackcomb was one of the only resorts in North America to receive large snowfalls in the 2011-2012 winter season. Things appear to be no different this year as Whistler Blackcomb has received over 337 cm of snow since its official opening on Nov. 22, and now the top ski resort in North American is on the verge of breaking its own snow base record.
Given that the Christmas season is only two weeks away, most resorts in eastern North America are struggling to start this season due to a lack of snow. In fact, in Europe, only one mountain resort in France is reporting a snow base of 100 cm. Currently, Whistler is on track for another amazing December with some help from Mother Nature. If you haven’t got your Whistler accommodation yet, there may still be one or two properties left for the winter holiday season.