Mount Washington Alpine Resort’s lift-served mountain biking will open for the summer season on July 15, after a three-year hiatus.
“We have been anxious to bring mountain biking back to Mount Washington, but with the deep snow from last winter, we had to wait to get to the top of the runs,” explained Bike Park manager Mike Manara.
“Our trail crew shovelled the final remnants of snow off the Bike Park terrain last week, so we will be able to finish the earthwork and open our park with some new trails and some old favourites, and we will be opening it in amazing shape.”
The Bike Park will be open six days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Thursdays, the park will extend the hours until 7 p.m. so more riders can get on the trails after work.
Don Sharpe, Director of Business Operations at the resort, touted the Thursday evening lift service. “With the longer daylight hours, it’s really nice to be able to get up during the week and get some riding in later in the day. Those evenings will also feature specials in the restaurant, so it should make for a great way to get the most out of the prime biking season.”
“We are taking a little different approach to the trails this year based on changes in mountain bikes and riding techniques which have occurred just over the past few years,” noted Manara.
“We will have a number of new or renovated downhill trails plus 10 kilometres of cross-country mountain biking trails, and they will all have a smoother flow from one feature to the next and be more integrated into the terrain than in the past,” he said. “This new version of the Bike Park will give riders of all abilities and tastes something to enjoy. It’s all about fun and flowy.”
The Bike Park will open with up to six trails, and more trails will be added during the summer. Among the highlights are the “Green Line,” which is the resort’s easiest downhill trail. It is the longest uninterrupted mountain bike descent on Vancouver Island and all levels of bikers will have fun riding it. The venerable “Back in Black” will re-open with the lower part of the trail having been reengineered by its original builder, Tony Radomi.
Manara seemed particularly pleased to introduce two new trails. One is his trail crew’s newest flow trail, and the other is the resort’s first cross-country trail.
“We have reclaimed and rebuilt some of our past trail system and added in a number of new sections to create a new blue flow trail for intermediate riders named Hwy. 19,” Manara announced.
In addition, after numerous hikes sourcing out a cross-country mountain biking trail, the “Finger Trail” will be designated as the first XC trail in the Bike Park. It is a loop that takes riders out to a spectacular view of the Beaufort Range after a ride past lakes and tall evergreens.
Once the park is open, the trail crew will spend time maintaining the existing trails while continuing to rebuild some of the original trails and creating a few new trails.
Next up on the build list are “Helter Skelter,” a black technical trail, and “Time Warp,” a black flow trail. Each currently has a machine and full crew working on them. Once that work is complete, another one-and-a-half kilometres of blue trail will be added to extend an existing trail. As time and weather permit, the trail crew will then tackle the technical “Monster Mile” downhill trail off the Eagle lift before finishing the summer by adding another blue flow trail and another XC trail.
“We are very pleased to welcome mountain bikers back next week,” said Mount Washington’s General Manager, Peter Gibson. “The effort the trail crew has put in for the last 30y days is astounding, and it shows in the quality of the trails that are ready to ride.”
The Mount Washington Bike Park will open every day from July 15 until Sept. 5 (weather permitting) and for an additional three weekends in September. Accommodation packages, lessons, bike rentals and guided rides are all available. For more information go to www.mountwashington.ca.