Tourism Whistler is estimating that room nights will be up six per cent for the winter of 2009-2010, with the resort almost at capacity through much of the Olympic month of February and strong bookings through most of March.
While November and December numbers were down and April bookings are about eight per cent down over last year, a good early-season snowpack meant early season bookings were better than expected.
Heading into the spring Whistler continues to have one of the best snowpacks in North America. The annual Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival should help boost visitor numbers. The Olympic aversion effect, where people avoid resorts before and during a Games because of perceived obstacles, will also be in decline.
As well, given the tendency of travellers to book closer to their travel dates, Tourism Whistler believes that April will likely finish just two per cent down compared to 2009, which was itself four per cent ahead of 2008.
"People are booking so close in that we are forecasting a decline of two per cent year over year for April, although we're pacing more than eight per cent at the moment," said Louise Walker of Tourism Whistler. "It's pretty much flat compared to 2009, but a little ahead of 2008.
Bookings for March are seven per cent ahead of 2009, with the Paralympic period trending 26 per cent ahead. The pick-up in room nights starts around Saturday, March 6 and peaks on Saturday, March 20.