The largest ski and outdoor sports resort in North America required a high-performance HD video surveillance system that can ensure visitor and employee safety, protect company assets and reduce theft in its retail and rental division.
Located just 125 km north of Vancouver, British Columbia, Whistler Blackcomb is a worldclass ski resort that accommodates over two million skiers and snowboarders annually. One of the main venues during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America and home of the world-record breaking “Peak 2 Peak” Gondola.
Security personnel at Whistler Blackcomb manage the Avigilon high-definition security system from their control room using the Avigilon Control Center (ACC) 5 network management software (NVMS) with High Definition Stream Management (HDSM) technology. The resort uses over 100 Avigilon HD Dome and HD Bullet cameras, ranging from 1 MP to 5 MP in both indoor and outdoor settings, to monitor retail and rental stores, inventory locations, public loading areas, financial vaults, employee service areas, and numerous doors and gates.
Whistler Blackcomb uses Avigilon video encoders to leverage the resort’s 100-plus existing analog cameras
Whistler Blackcomb uses Avigilon video encoders to leverage the resort’s 100-plus existing analog cameras. The team also uses ACC Mobile to view live and recorded images remotely and Avigilon Network Video Recorders (NVRs) to store up to 30 days of continuous surveillance footage.
- Create a safe environment for visitors and staff
- Cost effective installation
- Prevent accidents and theft
- Meet insurance requirements
- Reduce investigation time
Upgraded video surveillance
In recent years, the resort had relied on an outdated, largely analog-based video surveillance system to oversee its security initiatives. But with 8,171 acres of skiable terrain along with over 100 buildings and facilities on the property, it was inevitable that Whistler Blackcomb would need to upgrade to a versatile, high-performance video surveillance solution that can efficiently manage the area. “Our video coverage for viewing was antiquated and not effective,” said Carl Rochon, IT Systems Administrator at Whistler Blackcomb.
We felt that Avigilon offered the complete package of quality cameras at a good price"
“The number of buildings, the terrain and the multiple business units that we operate certainly posed a challenge and made it difficult for us as a security department to analyse footage right away.” With the assistance of the Vancouver-based security integrator, BMS Integrated Services, the resort considered several surveillance camera manufacturers before ultimately selecting Avigilon. “We felt that Avigilon offered the complete package of quality cameras at a good price and an excellent interface to maximise the effectiveness of those cameras,” said Rochon.
600 cameras and NVR installation
“We are continually impressed with this combination.” Whistler Blackcomb has been so satisfied with the Avigilon system, the resort has plans to install over 600 more cameras and 12 NVRs in the next few years. “We are moving closer to our goal of greater employee safety, external guest safety and the protection of company assets by utilising surveillance technology with better evidence,” Rochon said. “We are certainly moving in that direction with our Avigilon solution.”
Security personnel at Whistler Blackcomb use the ACC 5 software to efficiently manage the resort’s HD surveillance system. Due to the scope of Whistler Blackcomb, the resort has multiple users within each business unit (60 in total) that have 24-hour access to cameras within their designated area. Whether security personnel are monitoring from their desktops or from their smart phones and tablets using ACC Mobile, they can quickly locate and assess certain incidents.
HD video surveillance has enabled security officials at Whistler Blackcomb to monitor large outdoor areas with greater efficiency, which has been a key asset in locating lost skiers or assessing any incidents.
Avigilon Control Center software
“The Avigilon Control Center software is a tool that enables our security and management team to be more efficient in their jobs,” said Rochon. “Our staff can view video, both live or recorded, and immediately address situations.” Rochon attributes the software’s ease-of-use and advanced playback and search functionality as the ACC software’s key benefits. “We used to literally spend hours searching individual camera footage on local DVRs to hopefully find anything useful,” Rochon said. “Now, it takes less than a minute to achieve significantly greater evidence. The search capability is mind-blowing to say the least.”
Given the vast terrain and multiple business units that Whistler Blackcomb is home to, ensuring the safety of guests and employees can be challenging for security officials at the resort. Each separate division within Whistler Blackcomb’s umbrella of operations has their own security and safety concerns. “Our Guest Services Division would cite employee and guest safety as their top priority,” Rochon said.
The Avigilon solution has also proven to be a cost-effective surveillance solution for the resort
HD video surveillance
“It is from this perspective that we endeavor to leverage practices and technology to minimise these concerns.” HD video surveillance has enabled security officials at Whistler Blackcomb to monitor large outdoor areas with greater efficiency, which has been a key asset in locating lost skiers or assessing any incidents. “As we upgrade our cameras across our mountain operations, the only question I am constantly asked from the various business units is, ‘When can we get that new camera solution installed at our location?’” said Rochon.
“It makes a much-needed difference for improved safety, security and protection.” Despite the size of Whistler Blackcomb, the Avigilon solution has also proven to be a cost-effective surveillance solution for the resort. “We were always told that Avigilon was too expensive to install for a site like ours,” said Rochon. “We found the opposite to be true.”
With over two million annual skiers and snowboarders, as well as 1500 full-time and 3500 seasonal employees, minimising theft was a challenging task for Whistler Blackcomb. Since deploying the Avigilon HD solution, the security team at Whistler Blackcomb has been able to effectively protect the resort’s retail and rental stores, inventory locations, public loading areas, financial vaults, employee service areas, and numerous doors and gates.
The resort has also been able to use the high-definition footage to identify and prosecute individuals who commit theft
Aid in crime-prevention
The resort has also been able to use the high-definition footage to identify and prosecute individuals who commit theft. “With each camera installation, it gives us greater evidence to apprehend the culprits as well as deter those that may be contemplating such actions,” said Rochon. “Our local RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) detachment doesn’t hesitate to request video evidence anymore since we have installed our Avigilon cameras.”
Almost immediately after deploying the Avigilon solution in the ski rental shop at the resort, the security team was able to catch two individuals stealing expensive snowboards and equipment. “Because of the clarity of the image captured, we were immediately able to clearly identify our suspects and push that picture out to all our managers in the area,” said Rochon.
“The perpetrators tried to flee Whistler quickly and it didn’t work for them.” The Avigilon solution also positively impacts the resort’s ability to affect the costs associated with vandalism and theft. Once the resort completes its Avigilon camera expansion, Rochon estimates Avigilon’s end-to-end solution will help Whistler Blackcomb recover $250,000 worth of product per year. “All in all, we probably have half a million dollars worth of theft or damage to property that shouldn’t occur,” said Rochon. “Avigilon will not only help us cut that cost in half, but it will also lower our liability insurance cost.”