While the final user numbers wont be known until the end of the season, numbers for the Whistler Mountain Bike Park could be up as high as 50 per cent overall, and between 20 and 30 per cent on any given day.
According to Rob McSkimming, the managing director of sports programming for Whistler-Blackcomb, the overall growth is partly attributable to the earlier opening as well as the use of the Fitzsimmons Chair, which allowed the park to operate during the annual maintenance period for the gondola.
As for the higher daily numbers, McSkimming says more people are into park riding than in the past, and Whistler has a reputation as being one of the top parks anywhere. He also gave credit to bike park initiatives, such as extending operating hours on Tuesday and Saturday nights and continuing to upgrade trails and facilities.
"More people are coming out, and were continuing to give them reasons to ride in the bike park," he said. "The camps are also going pretty good right now."
Upgrades to the bike park this season include the new Richie Schley run, which is partially complete and is expected to be finished in two weeks; a new practice drop-off area; enhancements to the top and middle sections of the downhill course; more stunts in the parks three skills parks; and sections of Easy Does It, a new trail that is being built for absolute beginners.
"Its taking a little longer than we thought to build a trail with a lesser slope, but when its finished it will be a super easy trail down for beginners," said McSkimming.
Last season the bike park played host to a record 30,000 rider visits, a 55 per cent increase over the previous year.