With files from Niamh Anderson
Grouse Mountain is up for sale.
After more than 40 years in the business, the private owners of the much loved resort are selling up to ‘pursue other interests.’
It’s selling its operations, along with 1,200 acres of privately held land.
Communications manager for Grouse Mountain Resorts, Julia Grant, says its business as usual as far as the public’s concerned.
“The current owners have decided to pursue other interests, so have decided to make the resort available for sale. Our operations will continue business as usual. We’ve got a lot of longstanding staff here and we’re all looking forward to a great winter ahead, we’ve been investing in getting ready for that and the forecast is shaping up to be an excellent winter.”
Grouse Mountain is the number one visitor attraction in the Lower Mainland, with 1.3 million annual visitors.
Similar events took place back in August, in terms of popular B.C. resorts changing hands, when an American company struck a deal to acquire Whistler-Blackcomb.
Looking back on Grouse Mountain: a timeline
1910: Plans to build a railroad to the mountain’s summit came as early as 1910, in an effort to make the mountain more accessible. The project was scrapped due to a lack of steel during WWI.
1929: Tyee Ski Club was formed, which is now one of the oldest ski clubs in Canada. Later that year, Grouse Mountain hosted Winston Churchill for dinner in the original chalet, who was at the time England’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, but would later become Prime Minister.
1939: ‘Cabin at The Cut’ gained popularity among Vancouver residents who preferred to live there than the city during the Great Depression. Another proposed railway was also suggested at this site, but was also scrapped due to material shortages.
1949: Grouse Mountain sees the world’s first double chair lift. The first chairlift for The Cut was built in 1951, allowing for skiers and visitors to reach the mountain in a two-stage trip for the first time ever.
1965: The Grouse Mountain Snow School opened, only increasing the popularity of skiing, ski clubs, and attention from world champion skiers.
1966: On December 15, the 45 passenger Grouse Mountain Skyride opened. Along with it soon came a new mountain station equipped with two restaurants, gift shops, and enough parking to fit 1,000 vehicles.
1974: The McLaughlin family purchased controlling interest in Grouse Mountain Resorts Ltd. and gave funding to construct a second tramway — the 100 passenger Red Skyride. This made the Grouse Mountain aerial tramway system the largest in North America.
1989: The McLaughlin family purchased 100% of all Grouse Mountain shares. The year after that, the Theatre in the Sky was built and became the first year-round attraction on Grouse Mountain.
Changes and upgrades
Since 1990, $25 million has been spent in renovations to Grouse Mountain. Among the many changes and additions are the following memorable ones.
- 1999 – The Observatory Restaurant opens.
- 2000 – Grouse Mountain invests in enhancing its winter operations, creating Vancouver’s first high-speed quad chair the ‘Screaming Eagle.’
- 2001 – The Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife launches. Grinder and Coola, two orphaned grizzly bears, are the first to make it their home.
- June 2008 – Mountain Ziplining arrives at Grouse Mountain, allowing guests to careen through the air at speeds of more than 50 km per hour.
- 2009 – Phase two of Mountain Ziplines opens, expanding the circuit to five lines. Speeds on the tour reach 80 km per hour.
- 2010 – Grouse Mountain opens 24 hours a day for the duration of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games as Canada welcomes the world to Vancouver and Whistler.
- Winter 2011 – Grouse Mountain launches the Snowshoe Grind, a challenging snowshoe trail.
- December 2015 – Grouse Mountain debuts the Light Walk, featuring light installations around Blue Grouse Lake.