Tough Mudder fills resort 

Pre-registration already underway for 2013, though date may change

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOERN ROHDE - Electric avenueCompetitors in the Tough Mudder electrified the village at a time when the resort is usually much quieter.
  • Photo BY joern rohde
  • Electric avenueCompetitors in the Tough Mudder electrified the village at a time when the resort is usually much quieter.

The strolls, hotels and eateries of Whistler weren't exactly full the fourth weekend in June last year.

But fast forward to the fourth weekend of June this year and it was a whole different story.

There is strong evidence to suggest Tough Mudder, a mass participation event that brought tens of thousands to Whistler to take part or watch, had a "significant" impact on accommodation levels in the resort last weekend, said Breton Murphy, Tourism Whistler's director of partnerships.

"The same weekend last summer, for Friday and Saturday, occupancy was hovering around 60 per cent," he said. Final numbers aren't available yet but Murphy said it looked like at least 90 per cent of the resort hotel rooms were booked.

"When you look at such a stark difference between last year and the same weekend this year there's no doubt that this event had a very significant impact on visitation."

With early reports suggesting the event was a success discussions are already under way to bring back the event for 2013 and even beyond.

However, a change of dates may be in the cards. Tough Mudder officials are looking at August 10 and 11 rather than the June weekend with pre-registration already being accepted on the event's website.

"We won't be able to talk to you about it until contracts are signed," said Tough Mudder communications manager Jane Di Leo.

Tourism Whistler's Murphy said June is the perfect month for Tough Mudder and he would rather stick with an early summer date. The timing of the event next year, he added, would be discussed in a debriefing meeting.

"June is a great time for us because it is not a peak period. We've got the capacity in June," said Murphy.

Tough Mudder fits well with what Whistler is about and it attracted a demographic that worked for the resort.

"Events like this, of this genre, we're hoping to see some additional growth for us moving forward," said Murphy.

Part of that growth is catering not just to the competitors, but the spectators who come as well.

Highway 99 was busy throughout the weekend and the Whistler Farmer's Market was filled with shoppers, many of them wearing the Tough Mudder shirts and headbands given to all those who completed the event.

Farmer's Market Manager Chris Quinlan said he worked long hours at Black's Pub, where he is also the general manger, because the pub was busier than usual. He said his pub was filled with Tough Mudder participants.

Zogs Dogs had line-ups till dawn and Moguls Coffee House stayed open later too. And it continued into Sunday with most eateries enjoying a brisk breakfast business well into the day.

"Tough Mudder took the tough out of June," said Quinlan.

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