By Andrew Mitchell
A week of sunshine is helping crews get the Whistler Mountain
Bike Park ready for the season, and most lower mountain trails are expected to
be open by Saturday.
Still, while the sun is doing its part, many of the trails have
been cleared by hand.
“We started clearing off the snow a few weeks ago, shoveling
off the singletrack and cleaning snow off A-Line and B-Line with machines,”
said bike park manager Tom Prochazka. “Now we’re buffing the trails, and most
of them should be ready to go by Saturday. There’s been lots of blow-down this
year that we had to clear, but if any of the trees are cedar we’ll be able to
put them to use. We built one new bridge on Schleyer to replace an older bridge
that collapsed over the winter, so there will be something new up there for
Work on new trails will not commence until the existing trails
have been maintained, although crews are clearing snow on Crank It Up. Crank It
Up is an intermediate skills-based trail that is currently under development.
Despite some wet spots, Prochazka says most of the trails are
in good condition coming into the weekend.
A partial list of trails expected to open this weekend includes
Angry Pirate, Crack Addict, Karate Monkey, Heart of Darkness, A-Line, B-Line,
Schleyer and Monkey Hands. The boneyard at the base of the mountain is also
under construction, with park pioneer John Cowan overseeing the work. The base
of the mountain will also see the return of a bikercross course.
Only the Fitzsimmons Express chair will be available on opening
day, with the Whistler Village Gondola still closed for repairs and upgrades
through the end of June.
The hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and
from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays until early summer, when the park will open
from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Pass prices are up this year, to $359 until May 31, and will be
$399 after June 1. Winter Season Pass and Edge Card holders can get passes for
$349 at any time.
This year the bike park is offering a Triple Play Card that
includes three days of riding and discounts for additional days, which works
like the Edge Card. The price is $109 for adults, $96 for seniors over 65 and
youth 13 to 18, and $54 for children 10 to 12. Daily rates for cardholders will
be $35 for adults, $32 for seniors and youth and $18 for children. Extended
Play passes will once again be available once the mountain extends its hours.
In addition to camps and programs for youth, Women’s Wednesdays
will return this season, with guided sessions from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., as well as
the Phat Wednesday Downhill Series co-hosted by the Whistler Off-Road Cycling
Association. Dates will be announced in the next few weeks.
For more information and updates on the park, visit www.whistlerbike.com.