Check out the series pilot for more information about bike parks in general.
Hinton Skills Park, Hinton, Alberta
One of the first municipally owned bike parks, the Hinton Skills Park was donated by the Town of Hinton (TOH) to the Hinton Mountain Bike Association (HMBA) in 2008. After two years of construction, the 37-acre park was donated back to the TOH for all to enjoy. Despite its relatively lengthy history (as far as public bike parks go), it is anything but stagnant, with a new trail built recently. The park has also created a Youth Committee to help educate the club and bike park designer Jay Hoots about what they want to see in a park. The program also helps educate the kids about what it actually takes to design and build mountain bike features legally and sustainably.
Currently, the Hinton Skills Park features a skills area with teeter totters, ladder bridges, drops, and other various technical features; a pump track; a dirt jump area with 3-5 foot high and 6-12 foot long table top jumps; a flow trail reminiscent of A-line at Whistler; a drop zone; a shore trail with an abundance of wooden features; a skills progression trail; and about 5 kilometers of cross-country singletrack.
Like many other bike parks in this series, this is a progression park with increasingly difficult features to help youngsters and old codgers alike increase their bike handling skills. Consequently, Hinton Skills Park has had a major impact on the local community. “It is now a main meeting place for riders,” said Tim Trahan, Trails Coordinator for HMBA. “The level of riding from all age groups and riding disciplines has gone up majorly. It has even gotten families out riding together. Parents bring their kids to the park and then hang out in the sun and enjoy the time and day.” Jan Vassbotn, President of HMBA, adds, “it is the center point of all mountain bike riding in the area. Even the cross-country riders will usually meet there to start rides.”
Mountain Air Park, Burnaby, British Columbia
In 2008 the City of Burnaby decided to reclaim an old, unused gun range that had turned into a litter-infested eyesore. Their solution? Build a bike park so the residents of Burnaby didn’t have to travel to other communities to ride their mountain bikes.
They hired Jay Hoots, founder of Hoots, Inc., to design and build the park. “The Mountain Air Bike Park is a MEGA park: it has everything from a 20′ curved wall ride to a wooden pump track and all the jumps you could want for a range of skill sets,” said Hoots. “There are sessionable areas and lines that link everywhere in the park, so when you show up as a beginner you can practice individual features, and once you get better you can link features to create ‘flow’ lines. A slopestyle area includes large jumps and wall rides, and areas within the park create direct practice opportunities for what the local trails will offer in several close communities.”
The park is now a family favorite and a destination for riders from all over the region, including Vancouver. Thanks to the awesome riding facilities, as well as amenities such as lots of parking, a bike wash, potable water, bathrooms, picnic tables, and bike racks, Mountain Air Park was chosen Park of the Year in 2008.
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