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Places & Faces: Grouse Mountain

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The tram up Grouse Mountain is a brisk 4 minute ride from North Vancouver to the subalpine of the Coast Mountains above the city.  Grouse has become an iconic player in the Vancouver tourism industry and is as much defined by its summer attractions as its winter activities.

In July 2017, Grouse Mountain announced its purchase by CM Canada from the McLaughlin family. Kenny Zou (left) Director, CM Canada, and Michael Cameron, (right), President of Grouse Mountain welcomed guests to Summer Celebration 2017 to ‘honour the past and celebrate the future.’  Click to see Purchase Announcement

Grouse is the Alma Mater for many industry folks. And the team at Grouse continues to be a big part of its success. The fellow I am standing with (photo taken winter 2016/17) is Paul Harkins. A long time contributor to CWSAA and current Z98 and CSA Helmet committee member. This November, he will have been at Grouse for 25 years.

 

The team at Grouse has a lot of expertise. Grant, Dino, and Tyler handle Ops, F&B, and Rentals respectively. The large scale of summer and winter operations (1.3 million guests) demands diverse management skill sets.

 

Guess who I found. Mr. Safety and Risk Management himself. Erik Bowkett has been a huge asset to Grouse and CWSAA best practises for many years…now counted in decades.

 

 

The signage denotes the diversity of summer activities.

 

 

As almost always the bears steal the show and are major attraction and destination for summer guests heading to Grouse.

Bear Paw route finding for guests. Fun, effective, and inexpensive.

 

In addition to the many revenue activities (zipline, generator tour, heli ride, etc), Grouse is attentive to animation to retain and entertain. Wooden building blodks and wooden Tic Tac Toe are no cost items that entertain families. Bear heights capture interest for the cost of a 4×8 sheet of plywood.

 

Grouse has partnered with a Lumberjack production crew for over 10 years. They performs multiple times per day in the summer has has become a Grouse staple that thrills guetss every show. A Birds of Prey demonstration has also been added to the summer offering.

 

I suspect Grouse may provide the first introduction to a campfire sing-a-long to many visitors. 7 – 9 pm every day.

 

The iconic Grouse Grind (run or hike up the mountainside from Vancouver to Grouse) has time displays in the top lodge.

 

The 4 minute tram ride passes 2 rather impressive lift towers.

 

Ski Patrol Hut. The Grouse Mountain ski patrol is made up of paid and volunteer patrollers.  The voly patrol is a group called First Aid Ski Patrol  that services Grouse mountain alpine and Cypress cross country.

 

I had a chance to meet with Tom and the gang in the maintenance shop, and felt at home hanging around the snowcats. The fleet of 6 or 7 includes Piston Bully and Prinoth. I even found two Thiokols.

 

Tyler McCulloch is the rentals manager at Grouse. The department includes its primary rental shop, and a dedicated group building.

 

Group rental building.

 

Snowshoe rentals have expanded dramatically. Its fleet now exceeds 600 units.

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