Water park part of Whistler’s ‘Renaissance’ plan for weather independence

$345-million redevelopment centred on Blackcomb follows approval of rival Garibaldi at Squamish resort

Whistler Blackcomb has unveiled plans for a $345-million redevelopment of the resort to shift the focus further towards activities that don’t depend on snow or an ability to ski.

Dubbed the Renaissance project, it would bring new high-end real estate development as well as several new attractions – many aimed at attracting non-skiers and making the resort “weather independent.”

The $100-million first phase is to include The Watershed, a 163,000-square-foot indoor water-based adventure centre at Blackcomb’s upper base that would include slides, a surfing simulator, caves and cliff jumping experiences.

The new plans aim to “provide a more accessible introduction to the mountains to more people,” the project website says. “A focus on bringing the outdoors under cover also means guests won’t have to stop playing when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate.”

Also promised are a four-season mountain coaster, an outdoor tree-top ropes course, electric ATVs and snowmobiles for children, a night skiing zone and a sightseeing suspension bridge connecting the Whistler Mountain peaks.

A ‘mountain coaster’ is envisioned for Whistler Blackcomb – one of several planned new attractions. YouTube/Whistler Blackcomb.

The resort also intends to add new hiking trails and 50 kilometres of new downhill mountain biking trails that will now extend into the Creekside zone.

A replacement high speed lift is to connect the Blackcomb lower and upper bases.

The second phase is to include a new day lodge at Blackcomb as well as 60 high-end townhomes, while a third phase promises further revitalization of the Blackcomb base area and an action sports complex.

President and CEO Dave Brownlie said the initiative will increase year-round visits to Whistler, insulate the resort from variable weather conditions and strengthen Whistler’s position as one of the world’s leading four-season resorts.

The plan hinges on municipal and provincial approvals, and consultations with first nations. It could take up to five years to complete.

The Renaissance plan comes less than three months after the province approved the planned Garibaldi at Squamish mountain resort that threatens major competition for Whistler Blackcomb as well as North Shore ski hills.

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