By Andrew Mitchell
Numbers were significantly higher than last year. On Saturday, opening day, about 600 riders rode the park, compared to 400 the year before. On Sunday there were about 500 riders, compared to 300 the year before. Since it first opened in 1999, the park has seen about 700 per cent growth, including another 33 per cent increase in ridership last season.
Because of the low snowpack on the lower slopes, crews were able to open almost all of the lower park for opening day, except for the biker cross course and Boneyard, which were still under construction.
ÒIt was a phenomenal weekend, and a great start to what should be another awesome bike park season,Ó said Rob McSkimming, vice president of business development and one of the driving forces behind the evolution of the bike park. ÒMost of our trails are buffed, including our signature A-Line, and riders hitting the GLC drops are back and amazing the GLC patio patrons.Ó
Unfortunately the decision was made to cancel the annual Crud to Mud race this year in March due to the low snowpack. Details are still being finalized on the Phat Wednesday freeride series.
The bike park is currently open weekends, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until May 20, when the park will open seven days a week.
Among plans for this year are a beginner Magic Park under the Magic Chair, the Kona Jump Farm at Olympic Station, the completion of Freight Train in the Garbanzo Zone, Pro lines which will only be open to riders who fill out a special waiver, a built-up Boneyard, additional Extended Play nights, and more pass options.
Hours of operation and plans for the park are available online at www.whistlerblackcomb.com/bike/