Whistler plans roller coaster, water park in new development plan

Whistler Village in summer
Whistler Village in summer

The resort’s Renaissance development plan focuses on new four-season features to attract visitors year-round 

Whistler Blackcomb has plans to increase its non-skiing attractions as part of a $345-million development plan with a focus on year-round activities to be built out in three phases, starting with $90-100 million for new features that include an indoor water park, roller coaster and two new high-speed lifts.

While the plan calls for an alternative for visitors “when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate,” weather isn’t the only reason for the expansion: as winter visits levelled off, summer visits grew dramatically between 2003 and 2012, according to the resort’s 2013 master plan. Summer sightseeing visits more than doubled from 147,500 in 2003 to 315,700 in 2009. Whistler has also made efforts to attract conference visitors in the summer months.

“It’s a combination of how do we make our business more resilient and stronger, how do we leverage the infrastructure that we have in places that certainly has led to a focus on these weather-independent attractions not only from a weather perspective but also from a broadening of the market perspective,” says Dave Brownlie, president and CEO of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings.

The plans also include 60 new ski-in ski-out townhomes, to cost approximately $80-85 million, and a luxury real estate development project, to cost approximately $90-95 million, plus an upgraded day lodge and skiers’ plaza and a new snow school facility at Blackcomb’s base area.

“We’re seeing a fairly robust real estate market and strong demand for townhome type of product,” says Brownlie. “The boutique hotel residences is a little bit unique but we think that it’s an exciting new product.”

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