Think of it like this…Intrawest, WhistlerBlackcomb’s operator, rolls a six. Intrawest bounces its pewter cannon forward a half-dozen spaces before halting on Chance. ‘Pay each player $50’, reads the selected card.
“Ohhh…I don’t have enough to pay everyone right now.” cringes the cannon. “But, I’ll be passing GO soon and I own Boardwalk and Park Place…You guys know I’ll be good with the money next roll, right? Right?”
But this isn’t some post-Thanksgiving dinner family game. This is real life. Those at this table want the cannon’s cash, now. “Looks like you’re going to have to mortgage your properties.” suggests the thimble, eyeing the metal mortar’s navy blue cards.
Reluctantly, the cannon mortgages its luxury properties. But just a Short Line ride later, the cannon is again in need of revenue. This time though, if the rent can’t be paid, it’s the auction block for WhistlerBlackcomb.
This game’s scenario is playing out for real in the Park Place of ski towns, Whistler. What’s more, these late-game antics are happening just as the rest of the family is gathering back at the table for desert.
Breifly, in 2006, when the cannon needed to pay everyone that Chance card money, assets like WhistlerBlackcomb were dealt by Intrawest to a New York based player, Fortress. Fortress gave the cannon a $1.7billion bail-out, allowing the cannon to stay in the game. But for Fortress, finding a return on that investment has been more difficult than searching for a lost ski in Blackcomb’s deep pow.
For the past few rounds, those that lent Fortress their money have wanted to start building hotels of their own. Now, those owed creditors say they will auction away Whistler Blackcomb and a handful of other ski-properties under the Intrawest emblem, in order to find their funds.
Auction day is set for Febuary 19th, 2010. That also happens to be the date of the Men’s Olympic Downhill race, being held on Whistler’s worried slopes. As a Venue-Village, Whistler’s slopes are scheduled to serve the alpine ski events and Blackcomb’s flanks house the Sliding Centre. With the grandkids and the in-laws all watching, this fiduciary family feud could not have come at a worse time.
But both Mom and the Olympic Organizers, VANOC, insist that dessert will taste just as sweet despite the Monopoly mayhem and tightened belts. VANOC has been assured that it will still be able to host its Games even if the Olympic Venues become part of bankruptcy proceedings. At least through the Winter Olympics and Paralympics it seems, no matter how much red Whistler sees, the only colour on display will be white.
Split-seconds will determine Whistler’s Olympic champions. Time will also tell whether or not the cannon gets out of jail free.