Blackcomb Ski Corporation

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Type of entity

Corporate body

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Blackcomb Ski Corporation

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Description area

Dates of existence

fl. 1970s


Blackcomb Ski Corporation was a potential operator that bid for the rights to build and run the ski area on Blackcomb Mountain which opened in 1980. Originally, Al Raine envisioned a village rising where the garbage dump sat between Whistler and Blackcomb, and it was Al who saw the potential of Blackcomb as a ski mountain and the potentially-great combination Whistler and Blackcomb might create. In his role as provincial co-ordinator of ski development, Al Raine sold the NDP government on the idea, and kept the flame burning when the Socreds took power. Hugh Smythe decided put in a bid to build Blackcomb, in partnership with his friend and owner of Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners, Paul Mathews. Hugh and Paul formed Blackcomb Ski Corporation, and tried to get Aspen interested in 1976. At first, they were skeptical, and encouraged BSC to look for financing elsewhere. They found Allan Graham, a multimillionaire who owned the Cascade development and insurance group out of Calgary. Aspen, however, was still interested, and after meeting with provincial cabinet ministers, they had been convinced the province wanted strong Canadian involvement. With Fortress's involvement and operations ostensibly spearheaded from Alberta, it only made sense to set Fortress up as the bidder. Fortress was one of only two bidders for development rights on Blackcomb Mountain, Blackcomb Ski Corp. — a B.C. company owned and bankrolled by a Calgary conglomerate — was the other. The two bids (the former headed by Hugh Smythe with his former employer, Aspen/Fortress and the latter headed by Paul Mathews and Alan Graham), finally submitted in the waning weeks of the summer of 1978, were remarkably similar: both foresaw the same number of triple chairs, same base area, same skiable acreage and the importance of a primary lift coming out of the yet-to-be-built Whistler Village. Both had ideas about how the adjoining real estate would be developed, but had competing philosophies on how it should be developed. The provincial government had hired management consultants, Woods Gordon, to work up an independent financial management report assessing the two proposals. Meanwhile, Hugh and Paul had agreed preliminary work on Blackcomb couldn’t wait for the outcome. The two agreed to split the costs of hiring Seppo to cut a road up, with the bid winner agreeing to reimburse whoever didn’t win. On October 12, 1978, Hugh got the phone call in Calgary: his Fortress bid was the winner. So, Blackcomb Ski Corporation never got to build its mountain - that was in Hugh Smythe's hands.


Blackcomb Mountain

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Functions, occupations and activities

Ski Corporation

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Revised July 2018.




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  • Clipboard

  • Export

  • EAC

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