According to both ancient tradition and modern science the summer of 2013 will officially kick off on Friday, June 21st at 1:04am EST which, in a way, means that summer starts a day earlier on the west coast as the Solstice strikes on Thursday, June 20th at 10:04pm PST. This is only the beginning of the confusion regarding this celestial point in time, because the Solstice not only marks the beginning of summer and all of the good things associated with it, it also is the precise moment on the calendar when days in the Northern Hemisphere begin to get shorter. I am never sure whether to celebrate summer’s start or dread the beginning of its end.
One thing that is clear is that this weekend also marks another, and much less confusing, sign that summer is in full swing: Garbanzo will open on Saturday, June 22nd at 10:30am PST (3 hours later if you are on eastern time). By all reports, it will be one of the best openings in years. 100% of Garbanzo’s trails will be ready to ride from the get-go with excellent conditions from mid station down. And, if that is not enough to get your summer mojo flowing, you can look forward to a summer long Garbanzo makeover. The trail crew will be investing significant time and resources into smoothing out some of Garbanzo’s rough edges.
So, as the days are getting shorter riding on Garbanzo will be getting better – hopefully that clears up the confusion.
Have you looked around this place lately? The place is slowly being taken over by kids and crows. Take Wednesday this week for example. I was eating lunch on the GBB patio and observed the local crow cartel working the scene. The common crow is considerably smarter than the average dog and it is said to have intelligence akin to dolphins. I would say they are probably smarter than both as they have not been domesticated or recruited to do deeds for clumsy humans that dolphin and dog-kind have. Instead the crow works the lunch scene poaching the odd muffin crumb or entire burger if left unattended without having to lift a flight feather for man.
Later that same Wednesday I noticed the presence of a lot more kids in the Phat Wednesday Race lineup. These ingenious little humans have figured out that downhill riding is fun but racing is better! What other time do you get all of B-line -HOD to yourself with no one in the way so you can ride as fast as you want? It appears this new breed of small human has the level of intelligence akin to a crow as they seem to be aware that labor laws prohibit them from working for the man yet they too take advantage of him by poaching the very dollar from his pocket to fund their gravity need (and the slice of pizza to fuel it).
Each and every one of these kids has a bike and likely a father. (although some Google work has indicated that the later is not completely necessary due to modern science) Which brings me to the point of this here post which is Father’s Day is coming up on Sunday so it’s time to give back to the dads that have spawned you and fed the crows your pizza crust. Take dad out for a ride in the Park and be kind to him, let him keep up for a lap or two, make him feel special because one day the tables will turn and you too will be forced to eat crow when your kids are better than you.
Extended Play starts this weekend so enjoy the long hours of daylight and ride until 8pm!
Garbanzo opens June 22nd and it is going to pop with almost every trail in the zone.
With the Fitz Zone open and the trails in pretty good shape, we have changed our focus on securing Garbanzo for it’s scheduled opening on June 22nd. Once again Mother Nature is on our side with prep conditions we have seldom seen in the past ten years. Again we are aiming at getting as much trail as possible ready to ride when we flip the switch in a few weeks.
The main target we are working towards is the last section of Blue Velvet. This final link will bring a machine build blue line from top to bottom of Garbanzo, adding another super flow section of intermediate rollers, berms and jumps to the line.
Another important event on the horizon is, of course, Fathers’ Day! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate dad than some good ol’ fashion park laps. If dad doesn’t ride yet, maybe set him up with the equivalent of the man-spa in the form of a Bike Park 101 day.
See you in the Park. BF&F
We have closed the last section of A-Line in order to do a major overhaul of the lower section. This icon of the WMBP will be closed for a few more days while we complete the mission which includes a reroute of EZ Does It through an underpass under the step-down and some feature enhancements to the other tables and berms (you are going to love it!).
We also have a plan to reroute the section through the shale straight away through a new zone that would add 4 to 6 new features and a few hundred meters of length to the trail! That project will begin shortly and come on line mid June if all of the approvals come through. This evolution of A-Line will take this iconic trail and push it further into the realm of legends. It also means Stevie Smith’s record time in the Air DH will stand for all time and a new test piece will drop this summer at the Crankworx 10th anniversary. Who will post the new fastest time? Let’s wait and see.
It has long been said that the only thing better than A-Line is MORE A-Line! See you in the Park. BF
Okay four more sleeps and this thing is a go. The hype video is out and racking up the views and everyone is stoked and ready. Problem – not everyone has Fridays off (I know right?) so I have come up with a solution to get you off work, school or other social engagement so you too can get up here and enjoy the unprecedented 35 trails we will have on opening day!
Just print this legal (in some countries) document and fill in your details. Hand it to the appropriate authority figure in your life and you have a statutory day off without pay!
Now can someone write one up for me so I can ride? Oh wait never mind I’ll see you in the lineup. BF
One more week and we flip the switch. With the amazing spring we have had, opening the Park has been easy, well not easy but easier. If you recall the past two spring seasons we were dealing with record mid mountain snow-pack in 2011 and record snowfalls in March in 2012. We also had May and June last year which were the coldest and wettest on record. This year the record is the complete flip-side, record high temps for the month of May with the mercury pushing well into the high 20s and even 30s for a number of days.
We have used these conditions to our advantage, allowing lots of the snow to melt on its own while we concentrate on getting as much of the lower Park open and buffed as possible. Our goal is to open with a record number of trails on the first day of operations to give you folks the best kick off riding ever!
I won’t list all of what will be open but you can count on the favorites being ready to roll. It is looking like most of the singletrack is good to go, A-line, B-Line, Crank-it-Up, Ninja Cougar, Karate Monkey and even Crabapple Hits!
The ultimate goal is to have Dirt Merchant for day one. The snow has been removed and it is drying out nicely, if it continues to be warm and mostly dry we should be able to make that a reality setting a record for its earliest ever opening.
If you want to keep tabs on things over the next week as we get closer follow us on Instagram @whistlerbikeprk where we will be posting the progress daily.
See you in a week!
The other day during a short lived spring cleaning event at my desk I stumbled upon a Blackcomb summer brochure from 1996. While I was present at the time I don’t recall In Line Skating being such a big deal? Mountain biking gets a cameo on the brochure with guided descents on “Rental bikes WITH front suspension” promising rides of 12km through forested double track trails (read Fire Roads).
The Glacier was open with two half pipes albeit tiny little ones compared to the 22′ stunt ditches of today.
The nostalgic walk down memory lane (although I can’t say I remember that much) got me amped for summer none-the-less as it coincidentally fell on the same day I was proofing the 2013 WMBP trail map. Crazy how much has changed in a short 17 years. I think when the new map comes out I will seal a copy of it along with the 1996 version in an envelope that says do not open until 2030 and file it back in the desk.
Less then 30 days to go!
It is hard being a double agent, sitting through conversations in March about how people want more snow. Any time after about the 12th I’m just thinking about melting snow and opening trails. Don’t get me wrong I love a pow day as much as the next guy and the bluebird spring shred is something I enjoy but there is a tipping point in every multisport enthusiasts mind when the seson needs to at least look like it’s trying to change.
As it happens this year below 1000m the snow seems to be evaporating at a rapid pace which bodes well for trail openings in the Park. Time to swap out winter radials for all season’s on the truck and make sure everyone in the house has a sweet ride figured out for the summer. May 17th is fast approaching so we will see you in a matter of weeks.
Pray for melt. – BF
I guess you could call this the halfway mark. Maybe not the true mid point of winter but certainly the mid point of time when the Bike Park is closed. Whistler Blackcomb is locked into full steam winter operations but a small cadre of dedicated WMBP folk are already working on and planning for summer 2013. The equipment decisions are made, the Crankworx events laid out with a loose build plan and the people responsible for all of the snow removal are watching the snow below 1000m to keep tabs on just how much we will meet when we start shoveling in early May.
The management team at WMBP are also looking further into the future with brainstorming sessions in full swing as we develop a new road-map to expansion via an updated 5 year and 10 year action plan. Stay tuned for more news about where this is all going and start planning your trips to WMBP now, this is going to be the best summer ever! BF
Event obligations – Done
Camps – Done
Woman’s (and Men’s) Nights – Done
Phat Wednesdays – Done
Bike Park Season – Not Done Yet!!!!
I have no idea how many retinas will focus on the jumble of text I post up here every week or so but I assume it is somewhere north of two since my friend Ron always heckles me for what I write and my mom always sends the copy back to me with grammatical errors corrected. Those two are not even on the list of four that I send a direct link to, so on a good week it may be as many as 6 people.
Right now the Park is as good as it gets! The temps are perfect, the trails are tacky and best of all the Trail Crew have had a lot more time to buff and repair all of your favorites. Late this week Crank it Up (now likely well into it’s millionth descent of the year) got reworked in the lower reaches with some new rhythm and jump shapes and it is so good that I spent one afternoon product testing it five times.
We only have a short month left to ride so carpe diem and get up here because soon enough you will be sitting on the same chairs with the wind freezing your face until it’s as tough as wood pecker lips. See you in the lineup – BF