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On It’s Business Time

Now in its second decade, Whistler Bike Park celebrated another opening day this weekend, where the tireless work from the bike park crew, bike patrol, and staff was on full display.

Despite local trepidation that Whistler might be “Americanized” and dumbed down by waiver-toting Vail lawyers, it seems that all is well. The word is that the Vail overlords see how good things are in Whistler in the summer, and are realizing they can learn a thing or two about keeping summer visitors entertained and the cash flow flowing.

The Creekside expansion proceeds apace. Recent trail work shows bigger, sendier features but also with an emphasis on making sure greens and blues are available for beginner and intermediate riders as well.

The bike patrol can patch riders up.

A phalanx of customer service staff is on hand to field questions, process passes, issue new RFID tickets, and collect waivers.

Of course there’s a pile of snow still up high due to the rather magical winter snow dumps, but that’s to be expected for the early season. The process of early ski season, November snow-making has been reversed by digging out the lower trails to prep them for dirt-thirsty bikers.

The first day stoke is so real. It’s always cool to ask people where they’re from. International visitors tend to be so excited they almost burst with wonder, which is cool as it reminds jaded locals how lucky we are to live here.

Currently Whistler is seeing basic early season conditions with the park neither blown, chundered, or dusted. Here’s what’s new:

  • Fitz Chair goes to 8pm evening hours right off the bat. (More on opening hours here.)
  • Whistler emphasizes bundled lessons and rentals to give first-time visitors a cost-effective experience and to keep them coming back.
  • The park is offering free orientation sessions and guides to help riders get a sense of the size of the park and how to enjoy it.
  • New RFID cards are being issued, which means old park passes no longer work. Leave some time to get the new pass, which must be picked up in person, as a new waiver may need to be signed.

WBP first day video – Angry Pirate saw a lot of trailwork

Crank It Up is always a good warmup first run.

It’s good to see familiar faces and get into the familiar routines. Terry of the WBP instructional crew, Shaun of Fluid Function (your SRAM whisperer), and scenes from the lift line and loading.

Tippie holding court.

The bike park trails seem to be coming along really nicely with A-Line seeing the full treatment and technical trails cleared of the winter blowdown. Work on Dirt Merchant is pending soon. Angry Pirate, Longhorn, Devils Club, and Ho Chi Minh all had new work done for the season. The bottom of Crank It Up is also getting worked on. The rain forecast bodes well for trails to get compacted and settled for the early season.

An old time lapse from 2015 shows trail work on the Golden Triangle, an easier trail designed to accommodate beginners.

Peter, Pat, and Shem (not pictured) walking out a reroute of Dirt Merchant to make the Bike Park great(er) again.

The trail crew is hard at work rebuilding a slopestyle course out of the ashes of the departing ski season.

So many women and kids on the trails! Nice to see the diversity increasing.

Whistler Valley mountain bike trail conditions

Meanwhile, the massive Whistler Valley trail network saw a good chunk of blowdown cleared. Some stream crossings are doubtful due to the recent heatwave which is causing spring freshets to reach biblical proportions. Be sure to check WORCA’s trail conditions pages for updates on routes.

It’s safe to say that the lower trails are running well. Show your appreciation for the work of the tireless volunteers by foregoing a beer or three and donating to local trail advocates.

The dreamy Todd and Dan talk at a WORCA event about the 3+ year voyage to build the alpine Lord of the Squirrels trail. Look for it to open late this season due to snow.

North of Town is clear.

North of Town.

Spring Freshet on the Cheakamus River south of town.

Remarkable contrast of trail useage between the AMPM turnoff and the more committing and technical IBT continuation.

Were you at the Whistler Bike Park opening this weekend? Tell us about it in the comments!

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