Left to nature it could have taken weeks for the snow to melt enough to open the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, but two dozen trail crew workers and patrollers — aided this past Saturday by a 30-member volunteer crew armed with shovels — were able to get two trails open for Saturday, May 17.
Only A-Line and Crank It Up will be open when the park opens on Saturday. While that’s only a small percentage of the bike park’s 250 km of trails, they are also the top two trails in the park when it comes to rider numbers.
“They are by far our busiest trails, and they can also handle the most people,” said Bike Park manager Brian Finestone. “They’re both wide, excavator-built trails that allow passing, are easy to maintain, and can handle thousands of riders an hour.”
Not that the park operators are content to open with just two trails.
Other trails close to being opened for this weekend include Heart of Darkness, Crack Addict, Devil’s Club, Hornet and Old School, and possibly B-Line if the weather co-operates. Volunteers spent part of their time on Saturday shoveling more than 90 centimetres of snow off the bridges and singletrack, and with some warmer weather they should be open soon, along with other trails below Olympic Station.
“We’ll take everything we can get,” said Finestone of Tuesday’s rain shower. “Right now we’re promising two trails and we’re going to try to deliver more. With this weather we’re having, and the warm stuff in the forecast, I know our trail crews and machines will be working like crazy to get as much open as possible.”
To celebrate the opening of the park, Whistler-Blackcomb is hosting the premier of Kranked 7 “Cackle Factor” at the Garibaldi Lift Co. on Saturday night, followed by live music by Shane Philip.
Early bird passes to the park are $409 until May 31, and then go up to $449. For Edge Card and season passes holders, the price is $399.
Other options include the Triple Play Card, available for $105 until May 31. Additional days are discounted 25 per cent.
Single day lift tickets are $42 until June 13, or $37 for youth and seniors. Children aged 10-12 can ride for $22. On June 14, prices increase to $49, $43 and $27 respectively.
The park will be open daily through Oct. 13, and during the early season it will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Extended Play starts right away, however, and the park will be open to 8 p.m. on opening day, May 17, as well as on May 24, May 31, and June 7. On June 8, Extended Play hours will be nightly before the hours are scaled back on Sept. 1.
For more information, and updates on the park, visit www.whistlerbike.com.