You’ve been longing for this day nearly as much as the struts on your trusty shuttle vehicle… The Sun Peaks Bike Park opens tomorrow morning, offering nearly 2,000’ of lift-accessed vertical! Long-time local rider and Sun Peaks Bike Park Coordinator James Jeffries says we’re in for a treat this weekend,
Overall trail conditions are great, it’s hero dirt out there! There are a few of the usual wet spots still to dry up. Route 66 is still soft after a full machine re-work but it will tighten up as it gets tires on it and settles with time.” James Jeffries, Sun Peaks Bike Park Coordinator
The Trail Crew’s been busy with a top-to-bottom machine grooming of the park’s signature green route, Smooth Smoothie. This upgrade will improve trail smoothness and flow, while also assessing drainage issues for better trail sustainability. In a similar vein as Route 66’s facelift, Smoothie’s work is toward the end of making the trail more approachable for beginner riders as an introduction to lift-accessed riding, for overall progression through the Bike Park’s many trail options.
Smoothie’s upgrade is still in the works and though the trail is expected to be open to the public, you’ll notice a marked difference as you pass the parked machine illustrating how far the crew’s progress has descended. The full upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of next week and, like Route 66, will be soft for the first little while. Both trails will tighten up as they get tires on them and settle with time. In case you're wondering about the process; after the initial machine build is complete on a section of trail, the Trail Crew moves in to manually remove large rocks, rake the surface smooth, and shovel-slap pack/tamper-pack as terrain allows, all before it sees the first rubber.
The new race course for the 2016 Canadian DH Championships is shaping up nicely, new trail components Sticky One and Resurrection are still works in progress and will complete the new top-to-bottom singletrack assault once finished.
The new race course is nothing like the track used in the past, it will test racers’ bike handling skills for the fastest times. The new course is 100% singletrack, with a select few machine built features and segments to keep things interesting, starting from the top of the Sunburst chairlift on Insanity One right to the base of the mountain.” James Jeffries, Sun Peaks Bike Park Coordinator
Bicycle Café ripper and Trail Crew 9-5’er Kurtis Walton shows us the race lines on Insanity One, part of the 2016 Canadian DH Championship course, in June 2016.
Beyond focusing on improvements to the mountain’s beginner and intermediate machine-made flow trails, the trail crew has been tending to the usual pre-season maintenance that often gets glossed over, but make the biggest overall difference to your ride out there; repairing water damage, brush cutting singletrack, general trail surface buffing and jump lip/landing shaping.
The Sun Peaks Bike Park is home to 40 lift-accessed trails – check out the trail map here and trail status and descriptions here – from those 40 options 36-38* will be open to ride, with the exceptions being:
Get yourself to the bottom of the Sunburst chairlift and enjoy as much riding as you can handle, with a day stretching from 10:00am through to 7:00pm (last lift up at 6:45pm) you can get your fill of DH with plenty of time to swap out for the trail bike and explore the mountain’s lift-accessed cross country and all mountain trails, or earn your turns with a pedal on the Mt. Morrisey XC trail network.
Bike Park season is finally upon us! We hope you enjoy the trails this weekend and that hero dirt that us interior riders usually only dream of. If you see the trail crew lads out there be sure to toss some extra high fives their way for all the blood sweat and tears they’ve put into making your day in the saddle a rad one.
See you on the trails!
The Sun Peaks Bike Park is set to open for lift-accessed riding next Friday, June 24, and the hard-working and hard-shredding lads of the trail crew have been busy making moves for some time out there! After an epic winter snowpack seemed to quickly melt from the mountain, we’ve all been curious how things have been shaping up on the trails.
Outside Operations Director Barney Mouat was one half of the original 2-man Bike Park trail crew back in the late 90’s, responsible for Kaboom, Keener and the original Barn Burner with the assistance of other local riders exploring the trails at the time. He oversees a much more evolved crew these days, with resources that he would have dreamed of back in the era of borrowing quads and skidding logs for bridges, and put our minds at ease with a positive update before heading out to take a look first-hand,
There are some areas that saw heavier than normal erosion but the way the trails were put to bed helped ensure erosion was minimal, and overall the trails are in good shape. We only had a few hot spells in May that rapidly melted the snow and from what the trail crew has reported, there’s nothing much out of the ordinary that will delay trail openings.” Barney Mouat, Outside Operations Director for Sun Peaks Resort
After chasing the trail crew down a selection of bumpy shuttled descents, it’s a bit wet in the expected spots but overall the riding is already excellent and looking very promising for opening. At this point most trails are expected to be open to ride next Friday with the exceptions of our high alpine XC trail Altitude, Sweet One and Gummy Bear which usually take a little more time to dry out, and new trails Sticky One and Ressurection which are currently being built (more on these below).
Facelift for Route 66
Route 66 is Sun Peaks’ quintessential machine-made intermediate berm trail and, running under the chairlift for the bulk of its tenure, if you’ve ridden the Bike Park you’ve witnessed every manner of rider railing (or attempting to rail) these corners over the years. Trail building techniques have come a long way since Route 66’s inception and the trail crew came up with a reroute to the existing track that will increase flow and make the trail more approachable for a wider range of riders, by reducing speed and the associated excess breaking, skidding, and hand cramps that were commonplace on the old trail. The new work begins below the popular “dusty berms” (don’t worry, these are still intact), creating a winding serpent of fresh trail under the chair.
Bike Park progression as a whole is at the heart of this re-work, with the new Route 66 offering a bridge between the green Smooth Smoothie and Lever Lovers, and Sun Peaks' more advanced blue trails. It’s a great option to get used to riding berms and higher speeds before introducing the more technical aspects of rocks and roots that many more advanced intermediate trails offer. Read descriptions of the Bike Park trails here.
The trail crew led the way down for the trial run, claiming the very first tracks on the fresh dirt layed down by the excavator. Although the skies temporarily closed in with a quick June flurry for the first few turns and the dirt was still a little soft to really pin it, the route felt great and we were all excited to give it another go once it’s firmed up.
The Sun Peaks Bike Park is poised to host the Canadian DH Championships for the third year running on July 23-24 and this summer, racers will find an entirely new race track awaiting their arrival. The new course utilizes two legendary pieces of Sun Peaks singletrack that have seen race tape in the earlier years of downhill madness on the mountain; Insanity One and Honey Drop. We took a run down Insanity One earlier in the week and it’s looking great for opening day.
New to the roster to complete the top-to-bottom assault is Sticky One, which will connect Insanity one to Honey Drop, and Resurrection which will pick up where Honey Drop ends with singletrack through the trees with some man made features to accommodate the higher race speeds. Both trails are in the works at this time so stay tuned for updates as they come together! Check out the Sun Peaks Bike Park trail map here to see where these new routes fit into the big picture.
Extended Lift Hours for Summer 2016! New this summer, the Sunburst chairlift will be running an extra two hours every day, from 10:00am to 7:00pm. That's two extra hours to sneak out for a ride after work, or to enjoy the cooler hours on the trails. New discounted “Twilight” tickets offer mountain access from 4:00pm to 7:00pm which, in addition to Season Passes and Peaks Bike Cards, gives you tons of options to explore the mountain more, for less this summer. Shop online 24/7 here.
Stay tuned for next week’s update for a more detailed report for opening day of the Sun Peaks Bike Park – Friday, June 24. See you on the trails! - Sun Peaks Bike Park Team