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 July 31, 2014
Whistler Goes High-Tech With GROW Conference August 20-22

 From four-season mountain playground to the place where great minds come to connect, innovate and recharge -- Whistler is about to host a high-tech conference that may very well be a building block to becoming the world's most connected destination.

Whistler will host the annual GROW conference August 20-22. This year marks the fifth year for GROW, but the first year the conference will be held in Whistler. Billed as "an experiential playground exploring the fun of innovation, growth and entrepreneurship", GROW draws between 800 to 1,000 delegates from Silicon Valley and beyond for three days of panel discussions and networking opportunities with some of the world's leading tech entrepreneurs, investors, executives and creative leaders.

"Over the next five years, the Grow Conference, through its community of entrepreneurs and innovators, wants to help Whistler become the first connected resort in the world. GROW brings together the technology leaders who are building our connected world and innovating around the Internet of Things," said Debbie Landa, Executive Producer, GROW conference. "We are experiencing a massive explosion of data being generated by sensors, connected devices and wearables. By 2020, some 35 billion "things" will be connected to the Internet, generating deep insights for marketers in turn offering more personalized customer experiences."

Featuring all things related to connected homes, retail and health and wellness, GROW will take place at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and will include a Startup Smackdown, giving a select group of companies the opportunity to pitch their ideas to media and potential investors from North America. Companies go head to head with one minute to impress the judges. The highlight of the conference is the impressive lineup of speakers from forward-thinking companies such as:

- Google
- Mondelēz International
- SmartThings
- Strava
- lululemon
- Qualcomm
- Yahoo Tech
- Recon Instruments
- Skycatch
- GoPro
- Coin

As an event partner, TELUS is excited about the possibilities that innovative technology can bring to Whistler. "Since 2009, TELUS has invested more than $7 million to bring the world's fastest wireless technology to Whistler," said Jim Senko, Senior Vice-President of Small Business and Emerging Markets. "The Internet of Things is transforming our society and, with extensive wireless coverage throughout the resort, there's enormous potential for connected devices and wearable technology to greatly enhance the Whistler experience."

Barrett Fisher, Tourism Whistler's President & CEO, says the GROW conference is not only a natural fit for Whistler but is also important for the resort as it helps to solidify Whistler's position as an exceptional and "connected" conference destination.

"Creative, leading edge conferences like GROW align with the Whistler brand as a place that also embraces, encourages and inspires forward-thinking, innovation and creativity," Fisher said. "Events like the GROW conference help us achieve multiple goals: they drive business to the resort, of course, but they also help raise the profile of Whistler and expose the resort to groups of highly influential, engaged and talented people. In the case of GROW, we are excited that the event organizers are looking to Whistler as the most connected resort and that they recognize the opportunities here."

GROW comes on the heels of the successful TEDActive conference that was held in Whistler in March, 2014. TEDActive is held simultaneously with the flagship TED conference, which took place this year in Vancouver. Like GROW, TED and TEDActive draw some of the world's most creative thinkers and influential leaders.

The GROW conference builds upon the legacy of the 2010 Winter Games, which saw the construction of an impressive fibre optic network at Whistler.

"The 2010 Olympic Winter Games laid the foundation of fibre optics, and the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is building on this legacy by investing in future technology, helping to position Whistler as the most connected resort in the world," said Victoria Dyson, the Chateau's Director of Sales and Marketing.

"Recent upgrades to our infrastructure have made our internet the fastest and most sophisticated system in Whistler," added Dyson. "Upgrades such as these are critical in attracting conferences such as TEDActive and GROW. There is no doubt that Whistler has the perfect alchemy of innovation and natural beauty to bring in - and inspire - the biggest tech minds in the world."




Whistler is Canada's premier year-round leisure and meeting destination located in the Coast Mountains 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Consistently rated the top ski resort in North America, Whistler was the Host Mountain Resort of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The resort offers an extensive range of accommodations totaling 10,000 bedrooms among 24 hotels as well as townhomes, condos, B&Bs and chalets. Whistler also boasts more than 100 restaurants and bars, 200 retail shops, 25 spas and countless activity options from world-renowned skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking and golf, to hiking, rock climbing, and watersports. The Resort Municipality of Whistler is home to a diverse community of more than 10,000 permanent residents.

Tourism Whistler is the member-based marketing and sales organization representing Whistler, operating the Whistler Conference Centre, Whistler Golf Club, Whistler Visitor Centre, as well as 1.800.WHISTLER and - Whistler's official source for visitor bookings and information. As the convention and visitors bureau for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Tourism Whistler represents more than 7,000 members who own, manage and operate properties or businesses on resort lands including hotels, restaurants, activity operators and retail shops.