Jul 1, 2004 | Marmot, Summer 2004

Mountain Biking Terrain accessed from the Hawk

Mountain biking continues to grow at Mount Washington, as the Resort is poised to open the Hawk chairlift for mountain bikers this summer.

The Resort’s newest high-speed, six-seat chairlift will deliver visitors to new novice and intermediate terrain for cyclists.

“We needed to open it up to more people,” Director of Business Services Don Sharpe said. In the past, mountain biking off the Eagle chairlift was for seasoned cyclists – extremely seasoned. “It was full body armour and high-end brakes,” Sharpe said. “I wouldn’t ride the Eagle because I’m not experienced enough. But I’ll take my family biking off the Hawk.”

The second chairlift opens up about 15 kilometres of new trails, virtually doubling the number of existing trails, Sharpe said. One new trail, dubbed “The Finger”, is 7.2 kms with amazing views. Crews worked hard on developing that trail last summer, he noted.

The Hawk will run for six weeks in July and August; demand will determine whether the chairlift remains operational for September and October. Despite the fact that the new terrain will cater towards the novice, the Resort is not forgetting about its faithful following of hardcore cyclists.

“This year we’ve got a pro rider that’s going to be managing Mountain Tek, and a certified instructor,” Sharpe said. Mitch Diem works for the Resort in the winter as a patroller, but he’s been on cycling’s World Cup circuit. Now 40, Diem’s riding resume includes overall B.C. Cup circuit winner (1995), bronze medallist at a Canadian national mountain biking event (’95) and world team selection in ’95. Diem will help the Resort in its new goal of developing mountain bikers right from the beginning, through a progression to where they’re passionate about the sport. In the summer Mountain Tek carries a line of high-end bikes for demo and sale; additionally, the Resort has increased the number of Norco VPS Atomic bikes in its rental fleet.

This year the snow is melting faster than last season, and Sharpe predicted the mountain could be open for mountain biking by mid-July. A number of mountain bike events have been planned for the summer, including Norco VPS Fest July 17 and 18, The Brick No Limits Mountain Bike Clinics (July 31-Aug. 1 and Aug. 21-22) and the Humpday Race Series, Wednesday nights from Aug. 4-25.

Mount Washington has also been named the host venue of the SISU B.C. Cup Finals Aug. 28-29. The Resort will host riders that will compete in one or more of the three mountain bike disciplines of the B.C. Cup: downhill, bikercross and cross country.

For the past two seasons, the Resort has worked closely with Cycling B.C., the provincial sanctioning body for the sport, in developing the terrain and expertise at the Resort. Mount Washington ran Level C-sanctioned events.
Jonathan Bonk is the chairperson of the Race Organizing Committee at the Resort and he brings myriad mountain biking experience to the project. “We are so stoked to be hosting a race series of this magnitude, especially the finals of the B.C. Cup,” Bonk said.

“The mountain is going to be graced with some of the best riders in the Province and it’s a great chance for us to gain from that expertise as well as the guidance of Cycling B.C.”

Breathtaking views of the riders in action are an integral component of hosting a large mountain bike race. The Island Triple Throw Down is expected to attract a huge number of riders; early estimates peg the number somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 competitors.

More from this Issue