Mike Parry travelled from Penticton and Zac Holmes from Bellingham. The pair were amongst the first 2013 bike pass holders to ride the Peak Chair with their bikes to descend Top of the World on opening day of the alpine bike trail.
Top of the World was completed last bike season and it added an additional thousand feet of vertical drop to the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.
Parry was equipped with a borrowed camera containing his own memory card. He said he planned to record his first ride of the new trail and add it to his collection of trail videos from the lower parts of the bike park.
“I’ve heard it’s long and rough but it’s something that has to be done,” said Parry on the ride up the Peak Chair.
With the camera strapped to his chest Perry was getting set to descend when another solo rider, Zac Holmes of Bellingham, rolled up and said he too was at the beginning of Top of the World for his first descent of the trail.
Holmes said he heard the trail was awesome.
“It’s all super single-track and 5,000 feet descent,” said Holmes. “That sounds pretty wicked.”
The trail includes built up berms, switchback corners and flowy descents. According to Whistler Blackcomb, the trail is the first lift-accessed alpine biking trail built in North America and it has a vertical drop of 333 metres (1,091 feet). From the Peak Chair summit it drops down the backside of Whistler Mountain and dips into areas that aren’t open for skiers and boarders in the winter. The trail bisects Highway 86 and rolls along Peak to Creek then cuts back over to Highway 86 where it joins the Garbanzo bike trails.
The trail is rated for use by experienced riders and protective gear is recommended.
Brian Finestone, Whistler Blackcomb’s bike park manager, described the riding in the alpine below the Peak Chair summit as top notch and like nothing else in the world. He added that his alpine biking vision is a limited one that won’t see masses of people descending on the alpine with their bikes.
“The idea of it is that it isn’t going to be inundated with people,” said Finestone.
The alpine bike trail is scheduled to be open until Sept. 22. Use of the trail requires the purchase of a special one-time use lift ticket and only a limited number are sold each day.