Bike park numbers up for opening weekend 

The actual number of visits to the Whistler Mountain Bike Part hasn't been officially tallied, but according to Rob McSkimming, the managing director of sports programming for Whistler-Blackcomb, it shattered the opening weekend record set the previous year - which shattered the record of the year before that.

"With all that was built last year as we added new trails and features, I think that momentum just carried over from last year to this year," he said. "Particularly I think that A-Line has been a real winner, and I think people were excited to come out and ride it."

McSkimming also credits the Crud to Mud race and Mud Fest for bringing in visitors, and the natural "pent up" enthusiasm that people have for the park.

Last season the bike park hosted a record 30,000 visits, a 55 per cent increase over 2000. In 2000, the number of visits increased 60 per cent compared to 1999.

"We'll be opening more terrain this weekend as things dry out, and some new terrain in he next few weeks. Our construction schedule is already well underway," says McSkimming.

"We're definitely committed to maintaining the trails to make sure they can handle the traffic. I thought B-Line was exceptional. A-Line definitely took a pounding and I thought we responded well on Sunday by putting down some decking.

"This thing is growing so fast that we have to keep adding new trails, first to make it more interesting, but also to spread the load out a little bit."

The next new section to open will be an off-shoot of A-Line to the jumps and stunts on Crabapple. It includes a 40-foot bridge over a creek, banked turns, steeps and jumps.

Other new additions planned for the park include E-Z Does It, a new novice trail with some uphill sections; G-Force, a new expert trail with North Shore-style stunts and obstacles; an upgrade to adapt the downhill course to World Cup standards; and new flow riding centres designed by North Shore trailbuilder "Dangerous" Dan Cowan.

The Fitzsimmons Chair is also being adapted to allow mountain bikes, increasing lift capacity by 50 per cent.

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