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The endless berms of Elixir

At the start of the 2019 season, Whistler claims 107 trails totaling 81.2km of bikeable terrain. Compare that to just 67 trails and 60km of trails back in 2013. Clearly this renowned bike park is getting even bigger and better!

This year, three new trails were added to the Creekside Zone: Elixir built by Joyride Bike Parks, and Midgard and Missfire by Gravity Logic.

In the lower mountain Fitzsimmons Zone, Dirt Merchant has an entirely new half section worked by Whistler’s own in house trail crews with Rippin’ Rutabaga resurrected and rebuilt as the old Dirt Merchant. The new Dirt Merchant is now a Pro Line.

On the maintenance side, Blueberry Bathtub and other trails in the Garbanzo Zone got fresh dirt and maintenance. And Top of the World is slated to get some work as part of Peak Zone maintenance.

Peter 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 is 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!


Earth Circus saw a lower loop added to the existing trails, making for a buttery-smooth, mother of all berms.

Expansion

Already the Whistler Creekside Zone would qualify as a sizeable bike park in its own right. Now, another 50km of new trail is planned for the Creekside zone with five trails added (totaling 15km) in Phase 1, which was completed in 2018. For 2019, Creekside’s three new trails (Phase 2) adds another 6.2km (Elixir 1.6km, MissFire 1.4 km, and Midgard 3.2 km). Plans are for more trails of course, with the Creekside area being the main focus for expansion according to the Whistler Bike Park master plan.

This means that expansion of Whistler’s Bike Park is not at an end. Riders should look for even more to come.

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.

Maintenance

Building huge gaps, massive landings, and loamy fall lines draws the likes and shares, while maintenance is not the sexy stuff. But it’s a massive contributor to Whistler’s reputation. 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 lifecycle.

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 way of knowing 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 plus 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 loamy character while mitigating the worst of the damage.

This 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 trail crew and have worked on many trails over the years.

Keeping the lead

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, are following the path of dedicating resources to the bike park as one of Whistler’s crown 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 bench cuts.

RDS is also exceptional in many spots and is once again covered in loam in places where the fall-line didn’t experience water damage.

Double-black diamond trails are inherently steep and will get damaged. Here, water flow has scoured channels, leaving exposed boulders mid-trail.

Have you been to Whistler Bike Park this year? What did you think?

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