Two new beginner riding areas have opened in the Bike Park in the latest on-hill developments intended to entice more novice mountain bikers to the resort.
Open to riders since mid-July, the currently unnamed terrain opened a swathe of different riding for Bike Park users. Created over a two-month window in spring and early summer, the trail building was a combined effort by the Bike Park trail crew, under the direction of James Jeffries, and externally-hired trail builders.
The primary new fixture, the ‘new green trail’, as it is currently known as, extends from top of Sunburst chairlift and weaves down through the glades of Sundance mountain. It is well laid out and scenic, and builds rider confidence as it goes, with the terrain demanding enduro-style pedalling at the beginning, progressing to downhill braking further along.
The trail is also lengthy; taking double the time to cycle than the Bike Park’s pre-existing, and only other beginner freeride (or, ‘flowy’) trail, ‘Smooth Smoothie’.
On the mountain’s trail progression boards, which list all downhill trails by level of difficulty, the new trail ranks as the easiest freeride option on the mountain. While it is certainly smoother than ‘Smoothie’ (bovine migration notwithstanding), it still comprises some testier sections.
George Terwiel, senior mountain bike coach with Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR), suggested some bike experience is needed before riding the trail. “The rolls and frequency of turns make riding very fun but some of the tight, bermed turns are challenging for beginners,” he said.
Terwiel tends to take his beginner classes to the new trail only after “warming up” in the new riding skills area – the other beginner terrain recently opened.
This new learning area, located by the schoolhouse, is accessible by riding the village carpet and consists of three short trails – one green and two blue – designed to test and improve rider skills in managing corners and berms, rollers and drops before hitting the lift-accessed terrain.
Evidently both newly opened areas, while intended as introductory, offer something for riders of all abilities.
Aidan Kelly, chief marketing officer for SPR, commented that both areas will continue to be tweaked through the season and asked riders to “provide us with feedback as we make continued improvements for full launch in summer 2019.”
He also indicated that discussions around adding “more progression flow trails” to the network will happen soon. The continued goal of the resort, Kelly said, is “to improve the park for riders of all levels … to increase bike visitation and guest satisfaction through continual improvements.”
“We really wanted to bridge the gap between what Sun Peaks is known for and how the industry has trended in recent years,” he added, referring to the Bike Park’s past reputation as advanced terrain that allowed for experienced riders only. “A big goal was to build a better level of progression into the Bike Park at Sun Peaks and I think the trail crew has nailed it 100 per cent with the new additions.”