After years of lawlessness, the municipality has at last made an honest trail out of Foreplay, an as yet unfinished bike trail that climbs the flank of Blackcomb Mountain and overlooks the north end of the Chateau Whistler Golf Course.
The Resort Municipality of Whistler received a Section 102 approval under the forest practices code, which essentially legitimizes the trail. It is one of the first in the province to receive the designation.
"We applied last year and just got the go-ahead to build it," says Keith Bennett, manager of parks operations for the RMOW. "Now the entire trail will be sanctioned, running from the Green River crossing at the start of the Green Lake Loop and finishing where the existing section of trail comes out in Lost Lake Park. The section that has been built is only about a quarter of the whole trail."
Now that its legitimate, the municipality will build a suspension bridge over Wedge Creek. The Whistler Off Road Cycling Association will use a $10,000 donation from a local land developer to hire trail builder Chris Markle to complete the remaining section of trail.
"Its pretty cool. This is the first new trail thats gone through the approval process and now Im getting some money to help build it too," says Markle. "I have to thank Keith for that and the Parks department. They got the approval, and theyre building a bridge. How many towns would get behind a rogue trail builder like that? Its a real compliment.
"Mountain biking is a draw for Whistler, and its great to see the muni getting behind it."
Markle started the trail four years ago and has spent the last three years building "what Whistler was missing a true epic single track trail for Whistler that takes three or four hours to finish."
He did most of the work himself, and estimates that it will be between 20 and 25 km long when he is finished. The last piece, which drops into Lost Lake Park, is already finished, and he has completed a loop out of the first piece off of a new logging road by the Green Lake Loop. It will eventually start from Wedgemount Road.
He estimates that he has completed about 12 km of the trail, but probably wont be able to finish this summer.
The $10,000 was donated by real estate developers Duane Jackson and Bill Kunzweiler to compensate for the bike trails that were impacted by construction within an area known as the B.C. Rail Lands. Sections of Danimal, Beaver Pass and 99er on Whistlers west side were lost to roadways, but will eventually be reconnected by an interpretive trail.