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Onward and upward for bike park

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Expansion to Garbanzo Chair, new trails planned for next year

Bigger and better things are on the horizon for the Whistler Mountain Bike Park next season, with the announcement that the park will be extended even higher up the mountain by using the Garbanzo Express lift.

According to Whistler-Blackcomb, the expansion will add another 2,200 feet of vertical to the park, bringing the it to 3,400 vertical feet.

The addition of the Garbanzo Express will also double lift capacity, reducing lineups, while expanding the park’s offering of more than 100 km of descents. The first three trails being built by Dave Kelly and his four-man crew are being designed for experts, and are scheduled to open for July of 2004. More trails will be built next summer and for the 2005 season.

Over the past five years, the park has seen the number of rider visits increase by 500 per cent. Trail builders have kept pace in the park by adding new trails every year, but the Garbanzo zone will give the park room to move in the future.

"With riders of all abilities flocking to the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, we wanted to provide a new and unique experience for our guests," said Rob McSkimming, the director of sports programming for Whistler-Blackcomb, and the bike park manager.

"The Garbanzo expansion provides more vertical, more challenge and more terrain; just what our riders have been asking for."

The Garbanzo area includes old growth forests, rocky areas, open sections and more. With the added vertical, descents could take 20 minutes or more.

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