Every year the two-day, 150-kilometre Sea to Sky Trail Ride has gotten a little more complete as new trail sections and alternate routes replace highway sections linking the town of DArcy to the town of Squamish.
This years Ride is no different, with a new section of trail near the basalt columns to the south of Whistler that were opened before the 2001 Cheakamus Challenge bike race, and a new route into Squamish through the Cheakamus Canyon.
"Its never the same ride twice," said organizer Robbin McKinney. "We are always looking for better routes, ways to make it different, add a bit of variety."
Registration for this years ride, July 6 and 7, is already ahead of last year, and organizers are expecting more than 250 people this weekend, with a limit of 500 spots.
On the first day, cyclists start from the Crossroads Mountain Bike Campsite in Devine, just south of DArcy and Anderson Lake. Using a combination of trail systems, dirt roads, deactivated forestry roads and single track trail, cyclists ride approximately 85 km to Whistler, gaining approximately 400 vertical metres in the process.
That night you can camp on the fields or sleep in the gymnasium at the Myrtle Philip Community Centre, enjoying a hot meal. Trucks will carry your bags and personal effects from the start to the finish at Myrtle Philip.
The following morning, the ride resumes as cyclists head south 65 km to Squamish. Day two includes sections of Valley Trail, decommissioned dirt roads, singletrack trails, doubletrack trails, and highways.
The trail ride is run by Great Explorations, a global adventure tour company.
The Sea to Sky Trail itself is the result of over a decade of work by the Sea to Sky Trail Society to create a trail connecting the corridor that you can hike, bike, snowshoe and ski on single- and doubletrack trails.
The recent decision by the Ministry of Forests to halt work on more than 80 per cent of all Forestry Service trails, roads and campgrounds around the province and to gradually decommission those facilities if private investors cant be found to assume liability and the cost of upkeep doesnt worry McKinney.
"There will always be some kind of route there that we can use," he said. "It might stop maintenance, but we already ride on decommissioned roads and trails. We can go anywhere, unless the roads arent public any longer."
For more information on the Sea to Sky Trail Ride, visit www.great-explorations.com/Pages/sts.html , or call 1-800-242-1825.