Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden announced at Tuesday’s council meeting that a Whistler delegation will journey to Colorado this October on a fact-finding mission to learn best practices from other mountain resorts.
Scheduled to take place from October 12 to 16, the mission will involve a packed itinerary of meetings with officials and business leaders in Vail, Aspen, Breckenridge, and surrounding communities.
“We know it is critical for Whistler to stay competitive with resort communities in the Northwestern United States. Vail and Aspen in particular are two of our main competitors and have been around longer than Whistler. We can learn many lessons from them, as well as share our best practices as part of a collaborative, two-way dialogue,” said Wilhelm-Morden. “Our findings will be integrated into our broader economic, social and community planning to continue to position Whistler for success well into the future.”
The itinerary begins with a visit to Aspen to focus primarily on arts and culture. The delegation will meet with elected officials, as well as visit the Aspen Institute, Aspen Art Museum and Theatre Aspen. The group will also meet with representatives from Aspen Music Festival.
Next the delegation will tour Vail, with a focus on economic redevelopment and rejuvenation. Among the planned meetings is a tour of Vail’s airport in Eagle Creek County and Beaver Creek. They will also meet with officials in Snowmass Village.
The final stop on the mission will be Breckenridge to learn about their practices in sustainability and multi-modal transit incentives, as well as marketing. Topics for discussion include Breckenridge’s sustainability plan, single bag use ordinance, responding to AirBnB and VRBO, lodging tax, measuring and reporting and more.
The mission is closely linked to the RMOW’s Economic Partnership Initiative work, and insights and information gathered from the excursion will contribute to benchmarking and planning around Whistler’s future competitiveness.
"A mission to Colorado’s mountain resorts was discussed in the previous council, but we were not able to find time during the term period for such a trip,” said Wilhelm-Morden. “I am pleased we were able to find time with the current council so early on in our mandate, and the lessons we learn from the mission will inform the decisions we make throughout this term and beyond.”
Members of the delegation include the mayor and six council members, four senior staff members from the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), Val Litwin of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and a representative from Tourism Whistler.
Following the mission, the findings will be compiled and made public.