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March was only one of dozens of pro riders that came out to ride Garbanzo with the media on Friday. The invite list included names like Ritchie Schley, Gareth Dyer, Dave Watson and Thomas Vanderham.
According to Bike Park manager Tom Prochazka, who oversees the day to day operations and construction of the park, the Garbazno expansion was made possible by roughly 4,500 man hours, 500 machine hours, and another $100,000 worth of materials. They milled more than 40 cubic metres of logs for the area with a portable mill set up in Lot 8.
"You could build about three houses out of that and all of thats pretty much all gone, its all in the park," said Prochazka.
"The last month was incredible. I cant believe how fast they put it all together."
There are four main trails off of Garbanzo, two of which are intermediate and follow ski runs. The main singletrack trails, No Joke and Original Sin, are the main arteries of the new park, and two new trails are planned for the end of the summer that will branch off these arteries.
Dave Kelly himself has a full-time staff of 23 trail builders this year. Although his trail construction has been praised in bike magazines and by his co-workers, Kelly credits the hard work to his crew of builders.
"It really isnt me," he said. "Right now we have 23 guys working as hard as they can, all day, every day, to get these trails done. They came up with a lot of the ideas and they deserve a lot of credit for that."
Kelly says No Joke and Original Sin are mainly expert trails, with some optional double black diamond sections thrown in for good measure.
The work is currently restricted to the riders left side of the Garbanzo Express as the mountains environment group completes a bear study on the opposite side.
"That still leaves us with a lot of options," said Kelly. "By the end of the summer we will have two new top to bottom trails completed. Theres the whole Dave Murray area, the area directly under the Garbanzo. Theres a lot more potential coming."
Not only are the trails long and technical, the Garbanzo zone has a different look and feel than the lower park.
"Our new terrain has a distinctly different flavour and feel from the trails on the lower mountain, and the two complement each other beautifully," said McSkimming. "The Garbanzo trails are much longer than trails on the lower mountain, the view of surrounding peaks are more spectacular, the forest is mostly old growth fir and hemlock, and the trails have an old-school singletrack feel.