Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association trail director Jerome David is throwing down a challenge to members and members of Whistler's riding community as a whole. Through late September and early October, WORCA is hosting four volunteer trail days that will focus on building a new trail into the alpine surrounding Whistler, which would then descend on a little used trail back to the valley. It's being called the High Alpine Dream Trail.
"I've been talking to (WORCA trail contractor) Dave Fortier and we've both wanted to make a push for a line up into the alpine for a while," said David.
New trail building is not in WORCA's mandate, David says, although some new trail sections and connectors have been built in recent years as part of WORCA's "no net loss" policy. If any trail is lost or impacted by development, WORCA is committed to replacing an equal length of trail - sometimes working with developers and sometimes accepting cash in lieu.
The High Alpine Dream Project is different, according to David. For one thing, it will be built almost entirely by volunteers at no cost to WORCA. For another, he believes it fills a gap in the resort's trail map, with no other rides venturing above the treeline - something there is clearly a demand for, given the number of local riders that drive over two hours to access other high alpine trails.
In addition, there is already a descent in place that is being used, although the current access is difficult.
Inspired by some recent high alpine riding in Europe, David has been scouting out a route and is spending the next few weeks picking a line that will take riders above the tree line on the west side.
"It's quite a big project, so the more the merrier," said David. "A lot of people say they'd like to come out for a trail day and I say this is their chance to be part of something that will be pretty unique in the valley."
David said the goal is to build a "mellow climb" to the top, as well as a section of trails in the alpine that would lead to the descent. He estimates that a round trip could be five or six hours at a slower pace.
The days are Sept. 25 and 26 and Oct. 2 and 9. Volunteers should meet at the bottom of Stonebridge Road at 8 a.m., prepared to work for at least four hours if not longer. If all goes well then volunteers may spend the whole day.
If you can't make those days but still want to help out then contact firstname.lastname@example.org and leave your phone number - you can join in on other work days between Sept. 20 and Oct. 17.