Downhill mountain bike enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park and this week the anticipation comes to an end. On Friday the Whistler Mountain Bike Park will open for the season thanks to the hard work of an army of trail crew. The trail crew battled snow, weather, drainage, and other obstacles to dig, pack, and shape the berms, jumps, and trails. This work will allow for the opening of the majority of the Fitzsimons Zone Friday including popular trails A-Line, B-Line, Crank It Up, Easy Does It, among others.
Whistler Mountain Bike Park Manager, Brian Finestone has put his army to work in preparation for opening day. The troops were rallied and reported for duty. The battle against the elements to perfect the trails has begun.
What does it take to get the park ready to open each spring?
Here is some of what’s involved:
- 12 trail crew members
- 520 man hours
- 2 snowcats
- Two heavy equipment operators
- 4 light equipment operators
- 6 chainsaws, 1 tree faller
- 6 brooms, rakes, shovels, and pick axes
- 3 mini excavators
Starting this Friday, May 16, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park will be open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. On May 18 access into the Whistler Mountain Bike Park will be available via the Fitzsimmons Express, with the Whistler Village Gondola opening May 24. Extended Play hours, 5pm-8pm, will run every Monday and Wednesday, starting May 19. Extended Play hours will begin to run nightly from June 14 to September 1.
Whistler’s new spring festival GO Fest, Whistler’s Great Outdoors Festival will feature a GO Enduro Mountain bike race on Friday, May 16. This mountain bike race will take place in Park and will feature three timed downhill stages as well as two liaison stages featuring uphill or cross country sections. GO Enduro will challenge riders’ technical bike handling skills and test their endurance. Registration is $30, in advance online, and a full face helmet is required.
Riders can also practice indoors in the Air Dome starting May 18. The Air Dome is an 8,400 square foot indoor bike training facility with various jumps, wooden ramps and a foam pit. Full details can be found online at www.whistlerbike.com/information.
For guests looking for rental bikes and gear, Garbanzo Rentals in the Whistler Gondola building will be carrying a selection of Giant full suspension downhill mountain bikes including the Glory I, and Glory II. Meanwhile, Garbanzo Bike and Bean (GBB) in the Carleton Lodge will be open from 10am to 6pm daily. GBB offers rental, repair services and features a retail section filled with top-end mountain bikes, clothing, equipment and a coffee bar.
Returning this year to the Whistler Mountain Bike Park is the Demo Centre which will be located inside the Garbanzo Bike and Bean. The Demo center will allow guests to demo a selection of high performance downhill bikes from Giant, Devinci, Cove, Norco, Santa Cruz, and Scott.
As well as downhill mountain biking as of May 16, skiers and riders can continue to enjoy some amazing spring skiing conditions in Whistler Blackcomb’s snowy alpine. Winter operations continue through until May 26 on Blackcomb Mountain.
To celebrate this remarkable time of year when guests can enjoy snow and dirt fuelled by gravity, the Crud 2 Mud race is back Saturday May 24, 2014. Crud 2 Mud competitors ski or snowboard from the top of Whistler Mountain to the bottom of the snow line, and then continue the race on their bikes through the Whistler Mountain Bike Park to the village below. More information on Whistler Blackcomb’s Crud 2 Mud race can be found here.