Whistler (BC), Canada – The Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival is entering a new chapter of ownership and production with the announcement that Tourism Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb have purchased the 25% ownership stake held by event founder Doug Perry. The transaction was concluded this past Friday.
As announced earlier this year, Perry is relocating the head office of his company W1 to Vancouver, where the company is developing a range of new projects in the areas of sports and entertainment marketing.
Coinciding with the change in ownership, Tourism Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb have entered into a new five year management contract with Sue Eckersley to lead the Festival into the next chapter. Eckersley has worked on the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival since 2000 and has produced Whistler’s First Night since 2005.
“Doug’s contribution to the resort has been tremendous with the immense success of this event,” says Dave Brownlie, Whistler Blackcomb’s Chief Operating Officer. “His vision, passion and tireless energy for the Festival have driven its growth and we thank him sincerely for what he has built. We’re very disappointed that Doug will no longer be producing the Festival, but we are committed to carrying out the tradition he has established and have great confidence that Sue Eckersley and her team will deliver. As Doug isn’t going too far away, we hope there will be an opportunity to work with W1 again in the future.”
Perry created the Festival 11 years ago and is responsible for growing the event into a premier snowsports, music and arts event in the ski resort industry. Perry’s vision has transformed a once-upon-a-time shoulder season into a 10-day economic boom for Whistler, and has provided a forum to showcase the spectacular spring snow conditions that Whistler delivers in April. Snowsports enthusiasts from around the world flock to Whistler each April to be part of the action.
“I’d like to thank the countless individuals who, each in their own way, have made immense contributions of support and creativity to the Festival over the years,” says Perry. “The Festival has tremendous momentum, and I have no doubt its future is brighter than ever.”
Perry was a 23 year resident of Whistler, moving to the resort in 1983. As a past Whistler Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year (1998), and a SAMMY Future Leadership Award winner (presented at the National Ski Areas Association national conference in 2004), his contributions to the resort community will be missed.
“Doug’s impact in every aspect of the Festival will indeed be missed as we move forward into this new chapter,” says Barrett Fisher, President of Tourism Whistler. “The Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival has been one of the resort’s most successful events in attracting visitors, celebrating community spirit, and furthering Whistler’s leadership position in the resort industry. We are committed to ensuring Whistler’s spring event remains at the epicenter of the snowsports world in order to continue Doug’s legacy for Whistler.”
The Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival is now owned in full by Tourism Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb. The new event producer will continue to report to a Board of Directors who will oversee the various aspects of event development, as has been the case during the past 11 years.