Whistler Cypress?

Hoo-boy, now HERE’s a PR challenge I bet no one considered. The Globe & Mail reports today (story by Dave Ebner – all round good guy and splitboard backcountry rider) – that ‘confusion’ about snow conditions during the 2010 Winter Games might be hampering early season bookings at Whistler Blackcomb. Quoting: The Olympics brought Whistler tremendous television exposure. But those images of the mountains, which enjoyed their second snowiest winter ever, are getting mixed up in tourists’ minds with pictures of the winter rainstorms and lack of snow at Cypress Mountain, two hours south of Whistler, near downtown Vancouver. Cypress was home to freestyle skiing and snowboarding.

“It’s something we absolutely have to counter,” said Arlene Schieven, vice-president of marketing at Tourism Whistler.

Hmm, that is a bit of a stretch, to me. During the Games, with commentators shifting back and forth between Whistler and Cypress, the non-serious skier or boarder might have confused the two venues.

I’ll say it here and I’ll say it loud – “if you can’t tell the difference between Whistler and Cypress, then you don’t really belong at Whistler…”

In fact, let’s get a few things out of the way, here. a) the Games were awarded to Whistler because the runs for the alpine events at Cypress were too short b) Listen up! Whistler is a wild-ass mountain resort with s**t kicking terrain and fabulously expensive dining and accommodation. I appreciate that TW and WB wants skiers and riders of all budgets to enjoy their mountains (and at many times of the year, it is fairly affordable…) but get over it! Hammer away at the kids attending business schools (everywhere in the world), sponsor all the big air/big mountain contests you possibly can, and go fishing where the sharks are! Single people have only themselves to look after. What Whistler offers, frankly, is lost on most families. Go to Big White (disclaimer: I used to work for ’em) and you’ll see what I mean.

What Dave’s story did NOT mention is this: whether you’re flying from Seoul, Munich, Tokyo, Dallas (especially Dallas) or New York -getting to YVR is a REALLY expensive air ticket and the schedules suck. The sooner that Transport Canada ends the farce that is cabotage and allows foreign carriers to fly domestic routes, the better. We need more direct flights and charters into YVR, but right now the prime gate spots are all taken up by your wonderful Air Canada

Look, the Olympics were a great party, but it’s yesterday’s news from a tourism standpoint. Bring on the big snows and the keen riders will come!

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