The long-awaited study detailing the economic impact of mountain biking in Whistler was released today showing an almost $59 million impact throughout the resort
The 2016 Whistler Mountain Bike Tourism Study revealed the combined spending of all mountain biking visitors last year totalled $47 million, supporting $75.9 million in economic activity in B.C., including $58.6 million in economic activity in Whistler.
"(The numbers) truly indicate the amount of money that mountain biking brings into this town," said Grant Lamont, representing the BC Mountain Bike Tourism Association.
"And I think it clearly articulates the type of value the community is receiving from WORCA as the steward for the trails in the valley."
WORCA - the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association - manages the vast majority of the cross-country trails in Whistler on a mostly volunteer basis.
The 2016 season saw 533,000 rides in Whistler from the bike park to the cross-country network that spans the valley. More than half of those rides were made by visitors to Whistler with the bikers indicating in the survey that the bike trails were an important factor in their decision to come. Half were from destination markets, the other half were regional from Washington state and B.C.
"We basically have a $50-million resource that's being managed by volunteers," added Lamont. "It's truly quite an exemplary job that's being done by many, many in this community over the 25 years we've been running WORCA in this town."
Lamont was quick to give praise beyond Whistler too. "I say this to our brothers and our sisters in Squamish and Pemberton and on the North Shore (too) who have really helped put us on the map and really with little or no cost to the provincial taxpayer."
Lamont, however, added that these are compelling numbers as Whistler looks to the future. "I think we've really got to look at this and say: How are we going to support this in the future, how are we going to progress this in the future and how are going to make sure that we don't cook the goose and we allow it to continue laying golden eggs?"
For more on this story pick up next week's Pique or go to www.piquenewsmagazine.com