You don’t have to tell a Whistler resident how important the ski industry is. No matter what you do in this town you are somehow connected to “snow business.”
However, this business has changed immeasurably over the years. Changes in technology such as high-speed lifts, grooming equipment and snowmakers make the mountain we ski today a very different experience to when it opened in the 1960s.
Changes in the culture have also been huge — hot doggin’ may have been hot stuff in the ‘70s but you aren’t going to impress anyone with your ‘worm turn’ today!
The industry is still changing and new challenges such as climate change, shifting demographics and emerging markets will all force the ski business to evolve and adapt.
This month for our January Speaker Series we have three leading experts in the ski industry, Peter Alder, Roger McCarthy and Don Murray, who will be addressing the past, present and future of the business of skiing.
Peter Alder managed Red Mountain in Rossland, Silver Star Resort in Vernon and worked for the Ministry of Transportation in the lift inspection department. He also was a key player in creating the BC Alpine Commercial Ski Area Policy, which governed the development of mountain resorts and had a huge impact on the success of the ski industry in B.C. In 1978 he managed Whistler Mountain, and for the past few decades he has been working as consultant helping resorts all over the world create master plans and fulfill their potential.
Roger McCarthy’s career has taken him from working as a lift operator to managing lift operations, and overseeing both safety and lift operations departments at Whistler Mountain. In 1990, he joined Blackcomb Mountain as Director of Human Resources. He was also part of a team that transformed the Tremblant resort from a bankrupt enterprise into a world-class resort. Since 1991, he has held senior management positions in major ski resorts in Canada and across five states in the U.S. Roger currently owns and manages a resort consulting company with clients throughout North America and sits on the board of Alpine Canada — as well as Whistler Council.
Don Murray has over 30 years of experience in ski resort management and operation. As Ecosign’s Vice President, he has been directly involved in all aspects of the resort design, operations planning and consulting. He has worked on mountain and base area planning for major competitive events at Sierra Nevada (1996 World Championships), St. Anton (2001 World Championships) and Snowbasin at Salt Lake City (2002 Winter Olympic Games). Additionally, he was responsible for the layout and design of all ski trails at the 1988 Winter Olympic site, Nakiska Ski Resort, and assisted in the design of terrain modifications required for the Olympic events.
The event will start with some prearranged questions to the panel and then move on to open questions from the floor. If you were ever interested in understanding more about the business behind our town — this is your chance. Between them the panel has over nine decades of experience in the ski industry!
The event will be held on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets to this special event are $7, or $5 for museum members. Purchase a new museum membership for the year for just $25 and we’ll include a ticket for free!
Get your tickets early as only 50 seats are available and speaker series events tend to sell out fast. Complimentary coffee and tea will be provided courtesy of the Whistler Roasting Company and Namasthé Tea Co., in addition to a cash bar.
Sara Drewery is the executive director of the Whistler Museum.