A lot can happen in a week, and with the Bike Park opening on Friday, there’s been some major development in the works out on the trails. If you haven’t had a chance to peruse last week’s update, click here to check out the long-term, “big picture” type improvements happening out there that will lay the foundation for future development. With that out of the way, let’s take a visual tour of the park to get you stoked for first tracks!
Last week we shuttled local photographer Steve Riffel and pro shredders Dylan Sherrard and Matt Brooks up the mountain for a couple laps on some of the recently upgraded trails. The stoke was high each time they rolled back up to the truck, and our shovel and rake wielding trail crew got some much overdue props on their hard work.
Dropping into ‘Ain’t No Scrubs’, this step-up is always a favourite to boost. Legend has it that how well you stick this early hit is indicative of how the rest of your descent will go. Looks like Dylan had a pretty rad line from top to bottom.
‘Ain’t No Scrubs’ features a plethora of low-risk hits to get a little sideways. Near the end of the trail, before it meets ‘Route 66’, sits one of our favourites to shoot thanks to its ample wildflower surroundings. Matt’s flashy pink Commencal proved the perfect weapon for this intermediate freeride trail.
Continuing into ‘Route 66’ the boys found a fresh new set of berms below the infamous “dusty berms”. Watching Dylan and Matt flow through them seamlessly, they seem to be right on the money.
The final jumps in the ‘Steam Shovel’ dirt jump set got a major rework, with the step-down into step-up combo performing beautifully and getting rave reviews from our two quality control experts.
Running a little low on time, the boys ripped one final lap down the newly re-worked ‘Home Run’. The new berms manage your speed very well so you can sweep through the trees, berm to berm, and give your brakes a rest.
For the cross country riders out there, ‘Big Rock Ride’ is in great shape and ready for you to ride starting Friday. Heaps of wildflowers are already dominating the landscape and the trail is already in mid-summer, primo shape.
Yeah, yeah, enough with all the eye candy – what you really want to know is what trails will be open to ride when the park officially opens for the summer season this Friday, June 26. Well, thanks to an early summer the general consensus seems to be we’re about a month ahead of the game. What that means for you - Everything in the park will be open on Friday, with the exception of our Altitude XC trail which should be ready to go by early July. Yes, that includes Sweet One.
Oh yeah, did we mention that we’ve teamed up with Molson Coors to include a cold beer at the mid-mountain Sunburst Lodge with your lift ticket over opening weekend? This promotion runs June 27-28 and extends to Bike Park season pass holders as well, we’ve even got freezies for our underage shredders. Hikers can get in on the action as well, just make sure you’ve got your ID.
See you on Friday!
Your Sun Peaks Bike Park Team
It’s a common misconception that many of us working in the resort world are familiar with, that not much goes on behind the scenes between the winter and summer seasons. “You must be looking forward to getting back to work in July, eh?” In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Long before you tackle that first stretch of singletrack, countless hours of hard labour have gone into perfecting each line, berm and jump so your enjoyment is nothing short of sublime.
Our Bike Park trail crew are amongst these unsung heroes and they’ve been hard at it out there since May, making some major updates to the trails. Although these may not knock your socks off quite as much as announcing new trails or massive amounts of added features, and you may not notice much of it from the chairlift, but once you start sampling the goods we’re sure you’ll appreciate their efforts in setting the stage for one heck of a Bike Park season!
Intermediate/Blue Machine Made Trails
The Sun Peaks Bike Park has a pretty gnarly reputation and if you were to boil it down to a single factor, it would likely be the steep mountainside the trails are chiselled into. The result? Pretty darn steep trails which can require a lot of braking to keep your speed in check. Braking translates to brake bumps, which in turn make the trail choppy, harder to break, and overall less enjoyable to ride.
This can be effectively battled by speed management and flow enhancement through strategic berm placement and trail direction. Holy Rollers and Route 66 have both been given considerable work to this end with a plethora of new berms to keep you sideways and off the brakes. Below Route 66’s giant “dusty berms”, for example, you’ll find a new section our trail crew has dubbed “Nicky Nicky Nine Berms”.
Trail Continuity & Flow Enhancement
The long line of dirt jumps on Steam Shovel gets a facelift each spring, and this year we’ve taken it a step further to better match jumps with trail speed. The big ticket item here was an overhaul of the final step-up so you can keep your hands off the brakes through the whole set. Holy Rollers has also been reworked in a few spots to match the trail’s speed, with features resized accordingly, and Arm Pump’s Homerun ski run crossing has been rebuilt with a machine in the same vein.
The lower section of Biker Cross has been reworked with tables, catch berms, and line adjustments in key locations for better continuity and flow. And yes, the shark fin is now a relic of the past. The bermed corners of Home Run have also been built up, widened, and rerouted a bit for better speed management through this high speed section.
Significant brush work has been done to reclaim overgrown trail and improve line of sight, and faster sections of trail have been widened to accommodate high speed descents.
Home Run, Arm Pump, Holy Rollers, Route 66 and Sugar have all seen some aging bridges removed and replaced with culverts and dirt for better continuity and longevity. Water ditching has been a big priority, as well as restructuring, resurfacing, rerouting and reworking sections for lasting trail sustainability. This may seem like a list of "so what" details, but these improvements will have a large impact on how the trails ride through the summer, and into the future.
A Sneak Peak of What to Expect on Opening Day
With summer arriving early this year we’ll be able to open more of the park right off the bat than is usually possible. Cross country riders will find a fun lift-accessed ride on Big Rock Ride and the intermediate DH trails on the northeaster aspect (Mach, Barn Burner, Gummy Bear) are surprisingly dry. Sugar and Sweet One will be offering up some fresh singletrack laps well ahead of schedule and our DH race course is being fine-tuned as I type.
The boys are still hard at it out there so we won’t get into too much detail at this early stage in the game. Things are shaping up nicely and short of our high alpine XC trail, Altitude, not much seems to be off the table for riding straight out of the gate. Stay tuned for next week’s update for a full report of what you can expect on opening weekend, and some photo previews from our local photo duo, Riff Stills and Dylan Sherrard (and friends)!
Leading into the final few days of lift accessed shredding in the Bike Park, Mother Nature has been kind enough to douse the trails with a bit of rain over the past week leaving heaps of moisture trapped in the dirt, and the trails looking better than ever. Our trail crew’s been working tirelessly to buff everything out there for the best possible experience this long weekend. The focus over the past couple weeks has been on completing the lower section of ‘Sweet One’ as well as improving our cluster of intermediate trails on the northeast side of the mountain.
‘Mach’ has been fitted with a new entrance to the lower half, bypassing the old uphill section. Not that it was an especially long or strenuous pedal but it didn’t match the style of the rest of the trail which really embodies the trail’s namesake. You’ll find this new and improved entrance across the road from the rock drop, allowing you to stick the landing and continue directly into the next section. This trail’s in primo shape at the moment and a great progression from its neighbouring ‘Gummy Bear’.
From ‘Mach’ you can flow right into ‘Spicy Taco’, recently equipped with some new berms to keep your speed up through the corners and some selective root removal in spots where dirt had faded away to expose the elements beneath. The whole trail now flows a lot smoother, making for a perfect technical addition to Mach, Gummy Bear, or Barn Burner.
‘Sweet One’ was slotted back into the roster recently after a few years of hiatus, and reviews have been overwhelmingly positive to see this classic trail return. After riding the trail in the trail crew has made many tweaks and adjustments to get the upper section riding flawlessly. Some major steps have been taken towards tackling the beast that is the lower, still closed section. A full line has been cut and trail sculpting is in the works. This lower section has been rerouted to the opposite side of the creek from where the old trail ran, providing an untapped goldmine of ‘hero dirt’*, technical rock, and tons of trail-side blueberries. The full ‘Sweet One’ will be waiting for your tires as soon as the snow melts next summer, and it’s looking pretty darn fun!
It’s hard to believe another summer’s nearly come and gone, however as I type this at 3:30pm on Friday it’s raining lightly outside and a balmy 6°C at mid mountain. Autumn comes early to these mountains and it’s unmistakably in the air today. It won’t be long now until the leaves of our deciduous timbers change colour and retreat, and from there the first snowfall is never far off. All the more reason to get up here this weekend, take in some live music, and throw down your final laps in the Bike Park. Thanks for joining us in the park this summer, enjoy the trails and have a great long weekend!
- Sun Peaks Bike Park Team
*Hero Dirt: Mountain cyclist vernacular referring to soil with the perfect consistency and moisture ratio to optimize traction. In an instance of true ‘hero dirt’, a superhero-esque feeling may invade consciousness encouraging one to push their limits with the only prospect of pain stemming from grinning too hard, for too long.
Sun Peaks Bike Park Trail Crew Update - The Resurrection of SWEET ONE! from Sun Peaks Resort TV on Vimeo.
After reviving ‘Sugar’ last summer after over a year of similarly sitting in limbo loaded with downed trees and debris, it’s received overwhelmingly stellar feedback from our two wheeling comrades. It’s also intensified pressure from these same riders to get our act together in ‘Sweet One’ to complete this full top-to-bottom classic singletrack lap. The initial focus has been on getting the trail rideable and flowing to the same degree as 'Sugar', with the larger features and “expert” stunts still to come once the trail itself is dialed in.‘Sweet One’ is a classic trail in a league with ‘Sugar’ and takes advantage of the natural terrain to wind through the ‘Homesteader Gully’, with tons of old school features and technical sections it’s one of the few remaining gems of this era in mountain biking. Without compromising its core essence, we’ve been able to blend in elements of new school riding to improve flow and keep speeds up. This same approach has been taken to ‘Sugar’ over the past couple weeks as well to increase flow through the corners and open up different line choices in the lower section. We’ll be continuing to touch up spots on both trails to create the perfect balance of old and new school riding, and a 2,000 vertical foot descent you won’t soon forget.The upper two thirds of ‘Sweet One’ are now buffed and ready to ride, and the crew has moved their efforts into the lower section. In the meantime you’ll need to earn your turns with a quick hike-a-bike back over to 5 Mile road, connecting with ‘Root Dog’, ‘Flow Zone’, and ‘Biker Cross’. We know there may be some initial resistance to hike your downhill rig out, but there’s no doubt in our minds the experience is well worth the effort. And hey, “fortune favours the bold”, “the early bird gets the worm”, yada-yada-yada… it’s super fun so don’t be lazy!
-Sun Peaks Bike Park Team
The high alpine at Sun Peaks Resort has been a summer playground for hikers for many years; boasting unique flora, cool mountain air, and absolutely epic views of the British Columbian interior stretching out to neighbouring ranges seen in the distance. This summer we’re excited to open this terrain to mountain bikers, with the introduction of our brand new ‘Altitude’ cross country trail! Officially open to the public on Friday, July 25, our marketing crew hit the dirt with a local guide to show you what all the fuss is about.
The trail begins with a mellow pedal down a scenic mountain road, offering stunning views and a warm up for your legs before the single track climb ahead. A huge diversity of wildflowers can be seen here.
The trail then climbs into sub-alpine forest. You’ll find some of the most technical riding of the entire trail here, with lots of roots and some challenging rock gardens.
Keep pedalling and you’ll find yourself ducking in and out of forested sections and traversing a number of open meadows, offering huge views and tons of wildflowers during alpine blossom season (usually mid-July to mid-August).
Boardwalks have been added as you approach the alpine, crossing streams and boggy areas still draining the last memories of a winter now long gone.
Riding through the last massive cluster of wildflowers approaching Tod Peak, the sun begins to intensify as surrounding trees shrink and disperse, and the seemingly supernatural expanse of this rugged wilderness opens up before your very eyes.
There she is - the very summit of our resort’s original namesake. Mt. Tod in all its glory. As we cruised along this flowy section of single track we reminisced about our favourite days touring around this peak, and what the future may hold for the resort with the opening of some of this backcountry terrain for the coming ski season.
As you approach Tod Lake you can feel its proximity but it’s not until you come around the final corner that it appears in front of you. We’ve reached our destination and on this balmy summer day it’s a welcome sight as we race down to dunk our heads before making the descent home.
After a quick break at the lake we dropped our seat posts a bit and pointed it down! The ride up was beautiful, scenic, and physically challenging… but this is what we’ve come for, the 7km descent back to the top of the chair.
We stopped for a brief rest at the junction with Whyte Bowl hiking trail, where you get a great view of the Top of the World and backside Burfield ski runs like Kookamungas.
And away we go again!
Alas, we’re nearly back where we started at our favourite vantage. What a ride. But as we reach the top of the Sunburst chairlift where the adventure began hours before, reality sets in and we’re faced with the toughest decision of the day… which of the 38 Bike Park trails do we descend back to the village on?
- Sun Peaks Bike Park Team
Sun Peaks Bike Park Trail Crew Mid-Summer Update from Sun Peaks Resort TV on Vimeo.
On top of maintaining our usual roster, we’ve officially finished our brand new alpine cross country trail, ‘Altitude’! The result is a very rewarding ride filled with technical climbs and descents winding through high alpine and sub alpine forest, bringing you to Tod Lake.
Despite torrential rainstorms over the past 24 hours, flash flooding down in Kamloops, and sub-zero temperatures accompanied by a bit of snow at the Top of the World… we put on our rain jackets and got out for some product testing, the day before this epic new trail opens to the public:
The weather was trying out there but stoke levels remained high as we hooted and hollered our way through the alpine. You'll definitely want to add this advanced intermediate trail to your summer bucket list, however probably on a more typical Sun Peaks day like we encountered on our reconnaissance mission last October:
As if that wasn't enough... we’ve been busy brush sawing/grooming multiple trails which have quickly overgrown with all the moisture we’ve seen this summer. And don’t worry, we’ve still been putting in our time on ‘Sweet One’; repairing water damage, rerouting trail, and devising new features to bring this trail back to life. Our vision for this trail is a hand built flow trail, top to bottom (via ‘Sugar’ and ‘Sweet One’). Have fun out there and be sure to check back in a couple weeks for a sneak peek into the new and improved ‘Sweet One’!
July 10, 2014: The weather’s been perfect up here with mostly blue skies and comfortable temperatures, and just enough rain in the mix to keep the trails in primo condition. With a solid opening under our belts and the fresh trail getting ridden in, the past two weeks have been spent tying up loose ends to get the park open in its entirety; fine tuning new trail, water course management, and getting the remaining trails open to the public.
Our trifecta of eastward facing intermediate trails; ‘Mach’, ‘Gummy Bear’, and ‘Barn Burner’, always take a little longer to dry out but are now all open to ride with work done to restore some of the original corners, and cleaning out the regular winter damage.
We were able to open ‘Sugar’ from top to bottom for opening day and have been getting rave reviews flowing in from day one. Now it’s time to continue down the mountain with this classic route and get into ‘Sweet One’! Recent scouting missions down this drainage have given us a chance to begin dealing with logging and water damage, while plotting some reroutes and updates to bring this trail back to its former glory. We’ve got our work cut out for us and it’s been a few years in the making, but it’ll all be worth it with that first ‘Sugar-to-Sweet One’ descent!
Tuning our new lift accessed cross country trail, ‘Altitude’, is next on the horizon. Stay tuned for news on this big development in the high alpine. Best of luck to everyone racing out there this weekend, we hope you enjoy the course and the beautiful weather!
With only a day’s time standing in the way of lift accessed descents, the Sun Peaks Bike Park is ready to ride and we’re chomping at the bit to get out there! Mother Nature has shown her love for her fellow cyclists (we just assume she rides, why wouldn’t she?) providing the perfect amount of precipitation over the past couple weeks, making for perfect conditions for fine tuning all the new features and revamped sections of existing trail.
Sun Peaks Bike Park Trail Crew Update - Park Opens Tomorrow Morning! from Sun Peaks Resort TV on Vimeo.
The old wooden wall ride on ‘Steam Shovel’ has been a fun feature for years, but time had finally caught up with it and an alternative was needed. You’ll now find a drop leading you into a giant berm in its wake, checking speeds before the final jump line which has also seen a complete makeover.
Last summer we were able to completely rework most of Smooth Smoothie with a wider trail full of berms and small features, which has now been completed all the way to the bottom thanks to a couple days of machine time. This buffed and flowy trail is great for beginners to get a feel of the park, and for riders of all levels to shake off the rust before stepping up to more advanced trails.
As always please scope out any new features before riding them, as many of your favourite trails have seen substantial changes since your last ride. We hope to see all your smiling faces out on the trails tomorrow morning, and we wish you all a great first day in the park!
June 19, 2014: After two weeks of seemingly endless berm slapping, picking rocks, and chin scratching in 'Biker Cross', we’re excited to announce the release of a “trail preview” video coming next week before opening day. In the meantime… new additions to 'Biker Cross' include a smaller ‘Bone-Air’ log jump to get riders progressing up to the larger one in the ‘Flow Zone’, as well as rebuilt jumps and transfers. Stay tuned for a full walk/ride through the new and improved ‘Biker Cross’, here’s a little photo magic to keep you on the edge of your seat:
The thrashed and aged exit from ‘Steam Shovel’ and ‘Route 66’ is something we inevitably return to multiple times a season for repairs, so we decided it was time for a new plan of attack. The high speeds coming out of the first berm had riders grabbing a lot of brake coming into the second corner, resulting in berm damage and a serious lack of fun at the end of this excellent section of trail. To address this issue we extended the first corner into another switchback to alleviate the need for so much braking, improving the integrity and longevity of these final corners. That’s right folks, no more dreading that final section before dropping into the ‘Flow Zone’!
One of our most popular stretches of trail, the final straight line of jumps on Steam Shovel, has seen a drastic facelift. Jumps have been adjusted by lengthening landings to better match trail speed. Yes, the jumps were near perfect already, however you needed to know the spots to brake to master the line and those without such experience were left to learn on their own. This improvement leaves the trail more in sync with gravity and links up for a marathon line of jumps and playful rolls you can master without grabbing any brake. For more advanced riders, the final step-up has been redone with more upward momentum and less gap. Running with the theme of minimizing braking, we believe this rebuild will allow a more rewarding end to the trail with less consequence. We recommend riders scope this step-up before sending it, as with any new trail changes you may notice out there.
June 12, 2014: We always strive to bring you Bike Park updates rich in content with as much relevant eye candy as possible, this week we’ve upped the ante and are excited to present a video update straight from the boys in the trenches. They’ll even tell you a bit about the eagerly anticipated return of both 'Sugar' and 'Sweet One', not to mention the newly rebuilt 'Biker Cross'!
Sun Peaks Bike Park Trail Crew Update from Sun Peaks Resort TV on Vimeo.
This past week our popular 'Biker Cross' trail has been the subject of mini excavator assault, delivering a well-deserved total rebuild of this high traffic lower trail. The original 'Biker Cross' was built as a dual slalom course, however in recent years the surrounding vegetation has had more of a singletrack route in mind. The rebuild has focused on bringing the course back to its former glory in this regard, now plenty wide allowing slower riders to take the lower route and more advanced riders to tackle the high line packed with bermy jibs on this flowing roller coaster of a trail. Every berm is being rebuilt with playful, springy transitions, and jumps through the flats have been torn down to make room for creative new features with multiple line options to switch up your descent.
Work has started on upper 'Route 66' as well, rebuilding the classic "dusty berms” section:
Slated for next week is lower 'Route 66' and then on to 'Steam Shovel'. Stay tuned for updates over the next couple weeks as the crew continues to ready the park for opening day on Friday, June 27!
Starting from the top of the course, the upper chute of ‘DH’ has seen corners rebuilt and ruts repaired on the steepest section. This is the fully pinned, ‘hang on for dear life’ section of the course so these updates should allow an even quicker descent without taking such a hard toll on your body.
From ‘DH’ the course moves into the more mellow ‘Holy Rollers’, which will soon see the arrival of a Bobcat in order to replace the existing creek gap with a roller feature that will better handle the high speeds blasting over the creek. In the meantime the crew has been busy with some major berm rebuilds including a “shark fin” berm to add some high speed style to your run.
The race course then finishes with the infamous ‘Arm Pump’ which now boasts increased flow through this technical trail with brand new berms as well as a couple small drops to keep you on your toes.
With the race course full tuned the crew will be moving on to a rework of our ‘Biker Cross’ course. Biker Cross runs under the chairlift and has been our highest volume and most popular lower trail for years, complete with hits top-to-bottom and berms on every single corner. The boys have an excavator on hand next week for a rework, and we’re stoked to see what they come up with!
May 29, 2014: The Sun Peaks Bike Park is slated to open on Friday, June 27, for the 2014 season, and the trail crew has been hard at work rebuilding aging trail, buffing lips and berms, and solving drainage puzzles to manage the tremendous amount of water left from a great end to the ski season.
The crew has some cool new toys to play with this year, amongst them is a motorized wheelbarrow that easily moves large amounts of dirt to stack up more features. It’s been subject to a thorough initiation in the 'Flow Zone Dirt Jump Park'; resurfacing landings and lips, and constructing a new wood “Bone Air” log jump on the left line.
'Root Dog' has been given a spring facelift with the addition of several new berms and significant tuning to improve trail flow, delivering a more technical end to your descent as an alternative to the 'Flow Zone' and 'Biker Cross'. A number of other lower trails in the park are getting their share of love as well; 'Arm Pump' and 'Home Run' have both had berms rebuilt to let riders fly into the corners more confidently as they shred towards the bottom.
Stay tuned as we tailgate the snowline up the mountain and get the park into shape for opening day!
Sun Peaks Bike Park 2014 Teaser from Sun Peaks Resort TV on Vimeo