It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the first mountain bike trails were scraped into the side of Tod Mountain by hand, marking the birth of the Sun Peaks Bike Park. Those early trail building pioneers, who toiled through long days of digging while pulling double duty as our first Bike Patrol crew, never dreamed they were building the first stages of a world-class bike park.
Now, in 2019, what started as a passion project by a dedicated few has grown to take its place in the legendary lineup of Canadian bike parks. While the iconic steep and technical singletrack trails that kicked things off remain at the core of the Sun Peaks riding experience, we’ve also been embracing the machine built revolution in recent years to provide opportunities for newer riders to feel welcomed into the world of mountain biking.
This summer we’re taking the next big step in this evolution with our most ambitious season of trail building ever. Over the spring and early summer we’ll be sinking $350,000 into new trails and updates to existing ones, totalling close to 12km of new work. Once we’re done, riders of all levels and ages will find their new favourite trail in Sun Peaks.
Want some more details on these ambitious plans? Here’s the breakdown:
To help us shed our ‘experts only’ reputation and ensure we do our part to welcome young shredders and newcomers to the sport, our focus this summer is on progression. This means a solid chunk of the work is going towards further improvements to our beginner offerings. Last summer we opened a new top-to-bottom green trail to rave reviews and we’re stoked that Level Up (its official new name) will see its first full season. This year, our attention turns to our other green trail Switcheroo (formerly Smooth Smoothie), which is getting a new section and additional upgrades to make it even more beginner friendly.
We’ll also be continuing the work we started last year on the new surface lift-access Progression Park, which we believe is one of the only bike parks in North America served by a carpet lift. The Progression Park is particularly exciting due to its uniqueness and the possibilities it opens up for getting new riders started in the sport. Taking a carpet to the top of the hill gives a taste of the lift-access experience while removing the intimidating (at least for kids and first timers) process of loading your bike on the chairlift racks and having to commit to a long ride down the mountain. Our Trail Crew have done an awesome job designing the Progression Park trails and features, providing a taste of the style of trails found in the main Bike Park but on a smaller scale, as well as providing plenty of room for our instructors to teach.
The biggest of this year’s new projects is a brand new, top-to-bottom jump trail aimed at intermediate level riders. The goal for this trail is to improve the layers of progression in the Bike Park and provide a stepping stone to the bigger features on trails like Steam Shovel. Winding its way alongside local favourites Sugar and Sweet One, this new line will be a blast to ride as you huck your bike through some of the coolest sections of forest on the mountain. We’ve christened it Canada Line, in a nod to our friends on the coast, and we’re sure it will see plenty of July 1 long weekend shred sessions in the years to come.
Next on the list is Bermalade, another blue machine-built newcomer. A mix of brand new trail and an extensive reworking of the existing Home Run, Bermalade will bridge the gap between our beginner trails and existing intermediate trails, while providing plenty of practice at railing berms. A cruise down the fast, flowy corners on this guy is sure to leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling like breakfast in bed.
The team behind both of these trails is Lifetime Outdoor, who did an amazing job with Level Up last year, so we’re excited to see what they deliver.
While the majority of this year’s work is focused on beginner and intermediate trails, we haven’t forgotten our dedicated shredders out there. We’re stoked to be adding to the work we did last year on our signature black machine trail, Steam Shovel, by building a brand new middle section and turning it into a true top-to-bottom jump line. With the talented crew from Landmark Trailworks returning to continue the work they started with lower Steam Shovel last year, expect more of the same: plenty of big features and lots of air time for those that like to keep their wheels above the dirt. Once Landmark’s work is complete we’ll have a truly iconic addition to the Bike Park on our hands.
Most of the work should be complete by the time the season starts, or soon after, except for the middle section of Steam Shovel which will be closer to mid-summer. Be sure to follow along on the Bike Park Instagram and Facebook as we post updates on construction this spring.
To ensure you have plenty of chances to lap these new trails this season we’ll be open 10:00am to 7:00pm daily from June 21 to September 2. That’s 9 hours of lift-accessed riding per day! We’re also making it our longest season yet, by adding not one, not two, but four (four!) Bonus Weekends, which means the lifts will be turning Friday to Sunday all the way through until the end of September.
Stoked on the new trails? You can check out our new trail map to see where they’ll be going here. Season Passes, Bike Peaks Cards, and lift tickets are all on sale now, so lock in your summer riding plans and come join us to celebrate 20 years of the Sun Peaks Bike Park. See you Friday, June 21 for opening day!