Whistler Blackcomb will host a partial opening this Thursday as it welcomes skiers and snowboarders to its newest chairlift for the first time.
The ski resort’s 2018-19 season will kick off with the launch of the new Emerald 6 Express lift, which can carry six people on a chair at a time and will move 3,600 per hour.
The lift is one of several on-hill upgrades being introduced at Whistler Blackcomb this season, part of a $66-million investment that will also see a new gondola for Blackcomb Mountain. Other improvements include the new Roundhouse Umbrella Bar, with a 60-seat patio, the Cloudraker Skybridge and Raven’s Eye viewing platform, and expanded Creekside’s bike park terrain.
Minimal snowfall, however, means only some runs on Blackcomb and Whistler will be available Thursday. There will also be no backcountry skiing and no beginner skiing available on opening day.
“Early season conditions are never predictive of the season’s overall outcome, but we do want people to know we’re ready for when Mother Nature sends winter our way,” said resort spokesman Marc Riddell.
“Whistler Blackcomb is known for its consistency of snow, we have strong snow-making capabilities and an army of people working to prep the hill. So we ask our guests to be patient, book their Christmas holidays and get ready for a great season.”
Here’s what will be open on Thursday at Whistler Blackcomb:
Whistler Mountain: The Village Gondola, Emerald 6 Express and Franz’s Chair will be open to allow access to Ego Bowl and Upper Whiskey Jack.
Blackcomb Mountain: The Jersey Cream Express, Excelerator and Excalibur will be open, however, guests on Blackcomb will be asked to download via the PEAK 2 PEAK and Village Gondola.
The Whistler resort typically sees an average annual snowfall of 1,056 centimetres.