Outerbike adjusts in second year 

Demo event looks to localize more in the future

click to enlarge PHOTO BY MIKE CRANE/TOURISM WHISTLER - Outer limits Outerbike participants take a break from riding with a quick chat in Day Lot 2.
  • Photo by Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler
  • Outer limits Outerbike participants take a break from riding with a quick chat in Day Lot 2.

Whistler's Outerbike event, in a multitude of ways, is significantly different from the longtime Moab, Utah event from which it spawned.

And after its second go-around north of the border, held June 2 to 5, it's become clear the local event is differentiating itself from the original. In future years, Outerbike Whistler will look to further celebrate B.C.

Organizer Grant Lamont of Whistler Trail Solutions said in the event's first year, some exhibitors underestimated the draw of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. They learned from their 2015 experience.

"It turned out pretty good because the manufacturers brought a lot more downhill bikes this year because of the popularity amongst the people last year," he said. "We had quite a few people spending quite a bit of time in the downhill park on Thursday and Friday. That's how we program it because it's too busy on the weekends with the lift lines."

Lamont also noted the manufacturers were allowing a variety of bikes to go into the park, which could help sell a rider on a bike.

"People who were doing enduro testing were able to say, 'This thing rides really nice in all the rough crap so I've tried it three or four times and it's very popular,'" he said.

Outerbike saw one fewer manufacturer in attendance this year, slipping to nine from 10, as Kona found itself shorthanded and was unable to make the trek up.

"We were just one down, but we had 20 more bikes than last year," he said. "Of all the brands, I'd say, that came in, Yeti and our two local guys Norco and Rocky (Mountain) really knocked it out of the park.

"They brought a significant amount of bikes. A lot of people had never ridden bikes from British Columbia."

One other element that developed more this year, Lamont explained, was getting the 250 individual participants to ride together.

"The guided tours went really well. Our numbers were up for the amount of people we had participating," he said. "We did six tours a day — a beginner, intermediate and expert ride each day. I think we had close to 900 participants in all those rides.

"Last year, most people were going off on their own into Lost Lake and testing bikes there and then coming back and grabbing another one quickly."

Lamont hopes to further "Whistlerize" the event next year, but stayed mum on what that might entail.

"We're reassessing for what we're going to do for 2017. There's definitely going to be a major demo event for this time of year. We're just looking at a number of options that are being presented to us right now," he said.


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