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two million

Whistler-Blackcomb has become the first mountain resort in North America to host two million skier visits in one season. The historic mark was passed on Tuesday, considerably earlier than expected. "We didn’t expect to reach the two million mark until mid-May, but the incredible success of this past week’s World Ski and Snowboard Festival quickly made a mockery of our predictions," said David Perry, vice president of marketing and sales for Whistler-Blackcomb. The two local mountains totalled 1.854 million skier visits last winter, which was the previous record. Perry said Breckenridge, Colorado will likely finish number two among North American ski resorts for visits this year, with about 1.4 million. Vail, which had 1.5 million visitors last winter, is down significantly this winter. Snowfalls were below average for most Colorado resorts this winter and many resorts are already closed or will be closing in the next week. By contrast, Whistler has received 1,624 cm of snow this winter, about one-third more snow than usual. In addition to having abundant snow while Colorado and Eastern resorts were suffering, Whistler benefited from the very favourable exchange rate on the U.S. dollar. But perhaps more important than the exchange rate itself was the publicity that papers such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and even the Aspen Times gave to the dollar difference. The World Ski and Snowboard Festival is credited with helping draw more than 124,000 skiers and boarders to Whistler during the April 9-18 period. Whistler-Blackcomb will be holding a contest for locals to guess the final visitor total for the season when it winds up on June 11. Whistler-Blackcomb will give away three season passes as prizes. Meanwhile, Whistler Mountain will be hosting Soleil 6000 through May, a series of Alpine events including concerts, slush cups and barbecues. Blackcomb closes for the winter season on Sunday, April 25. The Creekside of Whistler Mountain will be open on weekends only for the rest of the winter season.

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