It was a busy pre-season for Sun Peaks’ bike patrollers as they readied themselves for another summer on the trails ahead of the Bike Park’s opening on June 24.
In addition to the signposting of trails and management of hazards needing to be completed, new and returning members attended training over the course of a week
“Our main focus is to create well-rounded patrollers,” said patrol director Jason Benoit, of the varied and in-depth training.
A wide range of skills were revised to be utilized throughout the year. One day was spent with a BC Ambulance training instructor, and former Sun Peaks patroller, practising with major bleed simulators. Another day was spent with a rope rescue company, training on mechanical advantage, access and retrieval. One day of mountain bike training was also incorporated by local certified instructor, Jase Peterson, who enthused about the progression and confidence of the new crew.
“The session went really well,” he said.
This year there will be additional unique hazards and challenges for riders associated with the ongoing construction around Sunburst Lodge.
Communication regarding the increased traffic and contractors on the mountain will be streamlined with the addition of a seven-days-a-week summer patrol dispatcher.
“There’s a lot happening on the hill these days,” said Benoit.
The growth of the biking scene is also likely to keep the mountain busy this season.
“We’re seeing more numbers on-hill,” acknowledged Benoit. “So it was necessary to bump our numbers up.”
Bike patrol now boasts its largest team ever, having increased from six to 11 staff members in the last two years.
The department is also scheduled to move into the new medical clinic building in September. The current patrol clinic is still operational, in one still-standing portion of the Bento’s renovation site, with the department’s office and locker space now transferred to Ski School’s building.
Clearly, their busy pre-season is set to transition into a busy summer for bike patrol.
“The turnover into summer is always quite different. It’s exciting,” said Benoit.