Mountain Biking Is Here To Stay... and Grow.
“We’ve had a bigger response to the Bike Park than we thought we would when we re-opened three years ago,” says Mike Manara, Director of Sports, Retail and Guest Services.
The Bike Park crew continues to move forward, having spent the summer of 2018 working aggressively on trail work.
The Bike Park has had shared groups using the trails and they decided they wanted to separate them into three or four distinct lines that come to the lodge, then four lines going off the top of the mountain.
The separation is designed to give users a better experience and to give some variety. “Really it’s to separate the ability levels,” Manara said. It will also mean they can open the Park earlier.
The Monster Mile reopened for summer 2018, and was accessed off the Eagle Chair. “Monster Mile is a Double Black Trail,” Manara said. “Its style reflects the origins of the Mount Washington Bike Park and early downhill mountain biking.”
“The Monster Mile is a steep and challenging Trail. It is known throughout the industry and was selected last year as the course for the B.C Provincial Cup Finals.”
“It has been exciting to witness the improvements in the trail system including the completion of a new Black Diamond flow trail, Lower Time Warp, and an overhaul to both the Monster-to-Hawk connector trail and our beginner trail, Greenline,” Trails Supervisor Paula Moore said.
The Bike Park made a couple of key hires this year that worked out well, Manara said. Moore is the new Trails Supervisor, who also manages the Resort’s Terrain Parks in the winter.
Beth Novak has also joined the Bike Park team as Summer Programs Manager with the intent of growing events and the Mountain Bike School.
“We’d like to add women’s camps and kids’ camps, and continue to evolve the events portion of the summer,” Manara said.
“We recognize the value of events and they’re value-added for our guests. It’s great to have specific stuff like the B.C. Cup but with our Guides School…you could make an event like a women’s weekend.”
While Bike Park crews concentrated on the Park’s advanced runs and preparing the Park for an early opening, they haven’t forgotten intermediate and beginner riders. They are trying to bring up a new generation of mountain bike riders at Mount Washington.
“One of our focuses is developing our Guide School and making the mountain a place you can come and learn to ride a mountain bike with a guide,” Manara explained.
The ownership group has committed to expanding the mountain bike product at the Resort. Mount Washington is considered a “small” Park but it’s busy. “We are a small Park but…we’re getting in the 6,000 range in visits. We need to spread people out (on the trails),” Manara said.
The mountain bike crew will also feature this winter as they introduce fat biking at Raven Lodge.
“It’s a niche product we feel it’s something that will grow,” Manara said. They will have five fat bikes available - they’re hardy mountain bikes with fat tires that are ideal for traversing snow. There are almost 20 kilometres of trails that fat bike riders can use on mountain property.
“It’s going to be a cross-country focused product,” he says. “I’m pretty excited for it. It’s an evolution of our winter activity offerings.”