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Whistler Blackcomb Announces Major $18 Million Capital Expansion For 2013.2014

Stocks in this article: WB

Lift Expansion Includes New Whistler Mountain Harmony High-Speed Six-Pack Chairlift And New High-Speed Quad Chairlift In Blackcomb Mountain's Crystal Zone

WHISTLER, BC, Jan. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. announced today that Whistler Blackcomb has unveiled plans for a major lift expansion. Whistler Mountain's Harmony high-speed, quad chairlift will be replaced with a new Doppelmayr high-speed, detachable, six-pack chairlift capable of transporting six people on each chair. Blackcomb Mountain will see a lift enhancement with a high-speed quad chairlift going into a new area in the Crystal Zone, currently accessed by a fixed-grip triple chair.

"This lift expansion clearly demonstrates our commitment to continuously enhancing the skiing and riding experience on both mountains," says Dave Brownlie, President and Chief Executive Officer of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc.  "This project will increase lift capacity in some of the most desired terrain on the mountains by 56% and we expect it will contribute to the growth of our business."

The new high-speed quad chairlift in the Crystal Zone will be 1,708 metres (5,604ft) in length, with a vertical rise of 535 metres (1,755ft). Skier carrying capacity will increase by 65% over the current lift to 2,400 skiers per hour.  The new quad will deliver skiers and riders to the same location as the current triple chair next to the Crystal Hut. However, the aspect of the new lift line is dramatically different, and will originate 158 metres (518ft) lower than the old Crystal lift. The bottom elevation will be 1,292 metres (4,239ft) and the top elevation of the lift will be 1,827 metres (5,994ft).

This bottom terminal location along the Blackcomb Glacier Road ski-out eliminates the need to utilize the Excelerator Chair to access many Crystal Zone trails including Ridge Runner, Rock 'N' Roll, and gladed trails like Outer Limits. It will also be even quicker to return to the Glacier Express chair to access Horstman Glacier and Blackcomb Glacier. The increased length of the chair's line will give skiers and riders the opportunity to enjoy the entire Crystal Zone - from undulating cruisers to gladed zones riddled with natural terrain features and snow-caked trees straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. The name of this exciting new quad chairlift will be determined through a competition to be announced by Whistler Blackcomb later this winter.

The Harmony Six high-speed chairlift will replace one of Whistler Blackcomb's most popular lifts and will dramatically improve the uphill capacity by 50 per cent; going from 2,400 skiers per hour to 3,600. The Harmony Six will service terrain spanning from the edge of the Symphony Amphitheatre all the way over to Glacier Bowl, adjacent to the Peak Express. This area, known as the Harmony Zone, makes up over 485 hectares (1,200 acres) of Whistler Blackcomb's 3,306 hectares (8,171 acres) of total terrain. With a wide variety of beginner to expert terrain options, the Harmony Six will ensure skiers and riders are able to spend more time on the mountain exploring the spectacular, powder-covered alpine for which Whistler Blackcomb is celebrated.

The Harmony Six has the same alignment as the current Harmony quad, spanning 1,729 metres (5,672ft) in length, with a vertical rise of 525 metres (1,722ft). The top elevation of the lift is 2,107 metres (6,912ft); the bottom elevation is 1,582 metres (5,190ft).

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