The Whistler Mountain Bike Park continues to be a work in progress, getting bigger, more diverse and arguably better every season as visitor records are shattered. This year promises more of the same as the bike park gets set to grow in several new directions even crossing over to Blackcomb.
The Bike Park opens this Saturday, April 30, with most of the trails below Olympic Station. Crews have been hard at work over the last couple of weeks grooming the trails, and getting the bikercross course and Boneyard built at the base of the mountain.
Its a big job this year although there wasnt much snow at the lower elevations this winter, the heavy rains in the fall and November did more damage than a slowly melting snowpack.
This year the crews hope to get the Boneyard ready as early as possible, allowing crews to plant grass and improve the look before the start of the Crankworx mountain bike festival.
Once the lower park is up and running, crews will get to work on several new projects for beginners, intermediates and experts.
For beginners, the bike park is expanding to Blackcomb with the Magic Park under the Magic Chair. This park will include two trails for basic beginners, a contoured trail like B-Line and a singletrack trail through the trees.
"Weve been talking about this for a while as something that was needed," explains Rob McSkimming, vice president of business development for Whistler-Blackcomb.
"One of the things weve always wrestled with in the bike park is the perception. It has an extreme look and feel to it, and we definitely get the pro riders out there in some pretty large numbers, which is great, but at the same time its quite intimidating to your average Joe.
"Look up at the park from the bottom, the bikercross, the Boneyard, the drops and you think oh my God, these people are insane, I cant possibly do that. All the people in the lift lines have big helmets and big bikes, and it probably scares a few people off.
"But when you get up into the park its not always that extreme. Theres a full range of riding thats available, and thats what we want to get across with the Magic Park."
With only 300 feet of vertical, compared to 1,100 to Olympic Station, the trails will be made with beginners and children in mind, says McSkimming. "This is the right amount of vertical for riders to get used to it," he added.
The cost is under $10 per day, and riders can upgrade their tickets to ride the main park if they choose.