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Two million people entered the backcountry last year—how do we control that kind of growth?

In Whistler Blackcomb‘s third episode of its four-part video series, The Big Picture, the question at-hand is, “Is the pull of the backcountry pushing our limits?”

That’s a tricky one. As the biggest resort in North America, with two gates that access endless backcountry opportunities, the Canadian powerhouse is in a tough position. According to Snowsports Industries America, two million skiers and snowboarders entered the backcountry last year. That number will only grow, so now it’s up to Whistler Blackcomb, other resorts of the world and, most importantly, individuals, to move forward responsibly.

“You’re inevitably, regularly going to see people who are there probably [in the backcountry] for the first time who are, in all likelihood, really underprepared,” says Keith Reid, operations manager at Extremely Canadian, a well-known guiding service in British Columbia. “And the question that comes back to Whistler Blackcomb is, ‘Is this something you should be managing?'”

There is no clean-cut answer to Reid’s question but, in this episode, the resort explains the efforts it’s making to keep guests as safe as possible. For the most part, it turns to two different resources: highly-experienced search and rescue teams, as well as a public information provided both online and on-resort. Whistler Blackcomb is doing its very best to keep up with this increasingly popular sector of our sport. But, at the end of the day, it always falls on skiers to make the right decisions and stay safe out there.


The Big Picture: Episode 2

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