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!
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.
Earth Circus saw a lower loop added to the existing trails, making for a buttery-smooth, mother of all berms.
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.
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.
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.
Have you been to Whistler Bike Park this year? What did you think?