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Whistler Blackcomb expected to reopen for mountain biking, sightseeing on Monday

The resort is targeting May 31 to reopen for summer operations
Whistler Mountain Bike Park - garbanzo zone - by Jeremy J Saunders
Mountain bikers are set to return to the Whistler Mountain Bike Park as Whistler Blackcomb targets Monday, May 31 to reopen for summer 2021.

If all goes according to plan, B.C. mountain bikers could hit the Whistler Mountain Bike Park trails as soon as Monday.

Whistler Blackcomb is targeting May 31 to reopen for summer operations, including biking and sightseeing, the resort announced Wednesday.

The update comes following the B.C. government’s announcement of its four-step restart plan on Tuesday. It will mark the first time Whistler Blackcomb welcomes guests back after B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered the resort to close in March, amid skyrocketing COVID-19 case counts.

“Certainly we didn't rush to get it going,” Vail Resorts’ West Coast director of marketing Marc Riddell told Pique on Wednesday.

“I think that's the key point, is that we wanted to make sure that our approach to opening was fairly measured, that it was consistent with the recommendations of Vancouver Coastal Health, the province and the Provincial Health Officer. And so for us, that was the most important thing to get right. We’ve seen other examples of people chomping at the bit to get going, and in our opinion, the measured approach is the way to do it.”

Passholders will not be required to make reservations as they were throughout the winter, but will be required to adhere to health and safety protocols.

“It's not going to be a change from what we've done all year,” Riddell explained.  

“As we go through the restart program, we'll assess all of those protocols and make determinations on what we do going forward. But if you're coming to the bike park on Monday, expect to wear a face covering, expect to be with your cohort and expect to be physically-distanced in the lineups.”

Along with lift-accessed biking and sightseeing, the GLC in Whistler Village will reopen for walk-ups and reservations, while the Rendezvous and Roundhouse will offer grab-and-go options and espresso beverages from coffee bars. After cutting down operating hours in 2020, the Bike Park is set to welcome riders from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, upon reopening.

The Bike Park’s Creekside Zone is expected to open on June 12, along with Dusty’s for table service.

Whistler Blackcomb will be exclusively reserved for guests from the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions for at least the first two weeks of operations, as the B.C.-wide travel ban remains in place until June 15 at the earliest. Travel throughout B.C. health zones is set to be permitted under Step 2 of the province’s restart plan, before opening up to Canada-wide travel later this summer.

“We felt that there's an opportunity for us to be able to open for our locals, as well as for those folks who have been OK’d by the province to travel up from Vancouver, or travel up from Burnaby to come and enjoy what we have to offer,” Riddell said, adding, “Hopefully we get through the restart plan and we're able to open up to more folks in B.C.”