You may have seen the cast and crew around town, capturing footage for the second season of our Gibbons docu-series on Bravo. Filming has now wrapped up and post production is in full swing. While it may not be called Après Ski this time around, the basic concept remains: a network show documenting our high-end concierge business as guests come to experience all Whistler has to offer. This year there will be a twist.
I can’t wait to see the final product when it airs this fall on Bravo.
I know that more than 100 people have poured their heart and soul into this second season so far. This cast and crew are passionate about Whistler and they want to tell the world about it too. That’s the business we’re in, after all. Every single set of guests that came through “The Lodge,” where the show was based, left happy and pumped up about their experience. They’ll be back in Whistler, of that I’m sure.
So, despite some of the blowback last year, I’m happy with our decision to continue the show for another season. What I’ve finally come to understand is this: Whistler means so many different things to so many different people. We can never reflect back to the world what Whistler means to everyone. Whistler is a completely different world for a 19-year-old Australian stopping in for a year or two, compared to a 40-year-old mom raising a family here. It means something else entirely to an old hippie who moved here in the seventies and watched Whistler transform from the ground up. Weekend warriors, who drive up to the mountains from Vancouver and Seattle once a week, have their own unique take on Whistler too.
This is perhaps one of the beautiful things about this place — a town of many faces, offering so much to so many, a town that inspires passion about the very place itself.
The only thing we can do at Gibbons is to be authentic about who we are as an organization and stay true to what Whistler means to us. We love Whistler. We love the community that is the backbone of this town. We’re proud to call this place home. Gibbons is a young, thriving company, on the cusp of much bigger and bolder things, geared to people who are looking to have the time of their lives when they come to Whistler. The show is simply a reflection of that.
Bravo’s target market is a 25 to 55-year-old audience, mostly female, and more of an upscale viewer with disposable income. More than 90 million American households receive Bravo. So, do I think this show is a good thing for Whistler? Well, I don’t know much about how the TV experts edit and cut the show to appeal to their demographic, but I do believe the audience will be influenced by the beauty of Whistler reflected back on their small screens; I think they’ll be entertained by the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of this one slice of Whistler life. And, ultimately, I believe it will put Whistler on the map for some people and entice them here.
This was a calculated decision for Gibbons; a business decision, plain and simple. This winter saw the most paid room nights from U.S. visitors in a decade. While the dollar was a huge factor and the snow conditions another awesome contributor, I can’t help but think the beauty shots of Whistler beamed into millions of homes via Après Ski played a role too. How big? Well, our own stats show that people booked Whistler because of the show; they used our services to do it. Another season on the air just seems like an obvious choice. Bravo wants to tell our story to the world. Why wouldn’t we join them in doing just that?
Last year, admittedly, I was out of my comfort zone, a little scared by the whole thing, worried about pleasing everyone, trying to convince people of the merit and value in this project, constantly defending our choices. Everyone, as it turns out, is an armchair critic. Not everyone, however, has the guts to go for it, to put themselves out there, opening themselves up to critique and derision.
This is our Whistler. We’re in the business of fun. And we get to show the world just how much fun it can be.