Cold weather and snow are no match for Whistler Mountain Bike Park crews that are using machines and hand tools to clear trails in time for opening day on May 15. The list of open trails won't be available until next week, but manager of business development Jeremy Roche says the plan is to open as much of the park as possible.
"We want to see how the weather goes and the progress made by crews before we announce anything, but things are looking good to be able to open a good range of trails for opening day," he said.
Whistler Blackcomb has also announced a party at the GLC on the evening of opening day, including a second screening of Follow Me - the Anthill Films mountain bike movie that premiered during the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival. Following the movie the mainstage will belong to Metallica cover band Damage Inc.
The following weekend, on May 22, the bike park will host the return of the Crud 2 Mud, a race that includes an on-mountain giant slalom for skiers and snowboarders and a rip through the bike park to the bottom. You can race solo or as part of a team of two.
Registration is available at www.whistlerblackcomb.com/bike.
The weekend after that is the Fluidride Cup May 29 to 30, part of a pro-am racing series based in the Pacific Northwest. This is the first time the event has made it to Whistler and it should bring a large number of riders to town to race.
Freeride pioneer John Cowan also arrived in Whistler this week to begin work on the Boneyard at the base of the mountain and the giant slalom course.
Pass prices are up $25 from last year, but early bird pricing - $459 for an adult - is available until June 19, when it increases to $499.
Whistler Blackcomb is also bringing back the Triple Play card, good for three days in the park for $119, plus additional discounts off lift tickets through the season. A regular adult lift ticket is $45 per day until June 19, when the price goes up to $53.
The park will open daily from May 15 at 10 a.m. with Extended Play summer hours to 8 p.m. starting on June 19.
Essentially Blackcomb is in the process of being converted to the Garbanzo Bike and Bean for opening day, even as the new fleet of Kona park bikes arrives for the season.
"It's all looking good," said Roche. "This is an early opening for us, but we can't get the park open soon enough for some people, which is always a good sign. Everybody is just excited to get going."