It isn’t controversial to state that Whistler’s Bike Park is the best in the world. It certainly has the most trails, the most km of trails and the most variety. Count bike parks with the most trails; Whistler has the most with 107 trails in 2019 (compare to 67 trails in 2013). Total kms of trails increases from 60km to 81.2km (as of the present day) and counting.
Barring disaster, Whistler isn’t going to give up its crown anytime soon. This past year the Creekside Zone alone itself has added three new trails built by two WMBP trail contractors (Elixir by Joyride Bike Parks); Midgard and Missfire by Gravity Logic). In the lower mountain Fitzsimmons Zone, Dirt Merchant has an entirely new half section worked by the WMBPs own inhouse magician trail crews with Rippin’ Rutabaga resurrected and rebuilt as the old Dirt Merchant and the new Dirt Merchant being a Pro-Line. But the maintenance! Blueberry Bathtub and other trails in the Garbanzo Zone got fresh dirt and maintenance. Top of the World is slated to get maintenance as part of Peak Zone maintenance. Oh so much maintenance to make the existing trails run well. Read on…
Pete Matthews taking in the opening day of Dirt Merchant. Watching people make the gap and case the gap with a big grin
The last Dirt Merchant gap
The Rutabaga rock now back in play
A new bridge and new underpass allows Dirt Merchant riders to exit to the last step up without running into other riders using Del Boca Vista
Earth Circus gets a short but sweet new lower section
OH MY GOD LOOK AT THESE BERMS!
By itself, expansion of the numbers and kms of trails explains why the WMBP not only keeps its lead but distances itself from the pack of other bikeparks.
The WMBP Creekside Zone would qualify as a sizeable bike park in its own right. 50km of new trail is planned for the Creekside zone with five added (totalling 15km) in Phase 1 completed in 2018 (Southpark, Earth Circus, Upper and Lower Insomnia). Creekside’s three new trails adds to Phase 2 adding another 6.2 km (Elxiir 1.6km, MissFire 1.4 km, Midgard 3.2 km). Plans are for more trails of course with the Creekside area being the main focus for expansion as per the WMBP master plan.
This means that expansion of Whistler’s Bike Park is not at an end. Riders should look for even more to come.
The endless berms of Elixir
Elixir’s beautiful forest
The black natural surfaced Missfire trail branches off from the blue machine-built and worked Midgard
MissFire will be left as natural surfaced. The plan is to allow riders to bed in the trail surface, then work on some sections as needed. Sound familiar? That’s how the natural tech of Garbanzo was built.
Building huge gaps, massive landings and loamy fall-line draws the LIKES and SHARES. Maintenance is not sexy stuff but is a massive contributor to the immutable fact of Whistler’s best bike park status. Some trails have been so extensively re-worked they almost qualify as new trails. Some existing older trails built off-grid in Whistler’s CRA without authorization have been adopted and incorporated into the WMBP. All these trails (purpose-built and adopted) see maintenance throughout their life-cycle
It’s quite one thing to the biggest and best. It’s quite another to commit the resources to maintaining and improving what you have. Whistler doesn’t break out the line item numbers so there’s no metric as to how much work goes into maintaining existing trail infrastructure but it’s significant.
BC’s trail is a classic Whistler up and down jankfest with steep sections followed by sharp left/right handers requiring good bike-handling slow and fast speed skills.
BC’s trail got some trail maintenance by Gravity Logic to restore the trail to what it looked like a decade ago!. Lovers of jank need not fear as the re-worked sections will no doubt see erosion and the sharp pointy rocks will show their teeth probably sooner rather than later!
Delayed Fuse was a Creekside trail opened following a rather wet period last riding season. Many root trenches and holes appeared. Gravity Logic performed copious amounts of trail maintenance to keep Delayed Fuse’s black character yet mitigate the worse of the damage
Off-camber section of Delayed Fuse is still off-camber and rooty but with the entry and exit a wee less eroded to allow riders to brake and not tomahawk into the woods
Southpark gets a rake by the Whistler Mountain Bike Park trail crew. Left Vaughan Collins. Right Ben MacDonald. Both are from New Zealand and new to the WMBP trailcrew and have worked on trails in their own right
KEEPING THE LEAD
The importance of Whistler’s Bike Park, and its economic impact both to the resort and town can be seen in this 2016 economic impact study. WMBP visitors are high-yield spenders, averaging $90 per person on activities outside the WMBP and $70 per person on bike park activities (lift-ticket, rentals, lessons, etc). 84% of biking visitors cited the presence of the WMBP and its trails as their reason for visiting Whistler. The numbers show that these visitors stay for long periods, staying an average of 7.8 days and spending a lot of money.
Trail expansion and trail maintenance keep Whistler’s profile high for tourism. There’s no doubt that previous mountain managers recognized this. It seems that Vail, as new owners, also are following the path of dedicating resources to the WMBP as one of Whistler’s signature jewels. For all mountain-biking visitors this a good thing that hopefully continues.
Ride Don’t Slide is a trail put in by trials moto bikes almost 20 years ago. It’s steep and got extensively reworked in the recent past when adopted by the WMBP. RDS is still good at the top where Gravity Logic put in benchcut
RDS is also exceptional in many spots (and has reloamed) where the fall-line didn’t catch water damage
However all double-black diamond trails inherently are steep and will get damaged. Budget will have to be found for a RDS fix of some sections where waterflow scoured channels leaving boulders in mid-trail