Bike Parks BC has this contest every year, The Ultimate Summer of Free Ride! Where the Winner gets to shred the 5 Bike Parks that ‘Bike Parks BC’ is associated with. Mt.Washington, Whistler, Sun Peaks, Silverstar and Fernie Alpine Resort. 2010 saw the contest rolling in again. And I casually posted a few o my riding images along with a brief description on why I should be the chosen winner. Little did I know that I would really win this contest until I found an email in my Inbox from the contest organizers stating that I had won the ‘Ultimate Summer of Free Ride Contest’!
I’m Vinay Menon from Pune City, India. Been spinning my mountain bike wheels for over 11 years now. Living in a country where this sports non-existent, it has always been bike videos and magazines that I would follow. Visiting B.C and riding the major Bike Parks had always been on my wish list for years. And I woke up to this reality, thanks to the contest win!
The next step was to get the Canadian Visa figured. After having booked the flight tickets for 29th July from Mumbai, India. The only thing left for me was to anxiously wait for my passport to arrive from the Canadian Consulate. And it did, just 6Hrs before my scheduled flight! Finally made it to the Vancouver Intl Airport after an ankle numbing flight. Few things one needs to get used to for being a bike bum, traveling Economy!
As I was visiting Mt Washington during the BC Cup DH race, I decided to race in the amateur category. Riding a rental Rocky Mountain Flatline, provided by the good folks at the resort, I managed to complete my first ever DH race in one piece, after a nasty slam just 200mts before the finish. The two days at the resort, I was Time Warped as I rode Back in Black, Wizard, Monster Mile, Helter Skelter, Big Brother, Scratch n Sniff, … Rode with my buddies till the lifts closed! A wicked playground the guys at Mt.Washington have for sure, a must visit for any mountain biker.
Next it’s off to Whistler for the Crankworx week. The second Bike Park on my list was THE Whistler Bike Park. And what better time than during the brain warping Crankworx festival. True to its name, Whistler Bike Park sure is the Mecca of mountain biking, especially during the Crankworx festival. The who’s who of the sport form the crazy crowd in Whistler village during the fortnight. Overwhelming for a guy like me whose only seen pro riders in the Videos. To top it all, I got to ride with the crazy FRO rider, Brett Tippie! Definitely the trails I got to shred with the tippster and crew were “Sicktacular!” Being able to ride the infamous Garbanzo, A-line, freight train… was intense. Can’t get enough of it! After the Crankworx madness, with Air DH, Garbanzo DH, Canadian Open, Slopestyle… It was time for me to head out to Sun Peaks Resort.
After absorbing all the Crankworx energy, reaching Sun Peaks Resort was different. The park has a laid back vibe. No queue at the lifts, no dogs to run into in the village! Sun Peaks sure is like a mountain bikers vacation home with beautiful trails right out side the front door. Being used to riding in dry weather in India, I felt right at home while at Sun Peaks! The trails have been named right on, Hi Octane, Arm Pump, Steam Shovel, Barn Burner…. Any body visiting Sun Peaks Bike Park should check out the trail, ‘Insanity One’. Its been named so for all the right reasons. Hold on to the bars and be surprised! Don’t forget to hit the massive Dirt Jumps at the bottom half of the hill. Insane!
Next stop, the Kamloops interior! Hit the Rio and Harper trails with the Spoke N’ Motion crew. Being able to ride the trails Id only seen in the Videos before, was a surreal experience. Kamloops sure is the birthplace of Freeride mountain biking. The trails, jumps, road gaps, built by the local riders defines the true spirit of freeriding! Visiting Kamloops and riding the legendry loops dirt made my entire B.C visit worthwhile.
After a wicked weekend riding out side the Bike Parks, it was time to leave for Silver Star Resort. Fewer people, bright sun, crisp trails, perfect set up for a shred mission. The Bull Dog Hotel serves Indian Butter chicken! That’s a great thing to know. Riding down the World Cup DH, Dags DH, Downtown, is a delight. Pro Star with its hip jumps and step-ups would surely be the highlight of the Silver Star Bike Park trail network. After the summer sun temperatures at Silver Star, its time to head to Fernie next.
The Fernie Alpine Resort is like one of those hidden trails that you always know exists, but never really go out and explore. Riding the trails at Fernie Bike Park feels like riding in your own backyard. Trails are super wide and super fun with the trail building crew doing a great job with incorporating natural features into the trails. Riding the trails, Aggravated assault, Playground, Phat Larry, Top gun… is something every mountain biker visiting Fernie should experience. I sure did that and some more. Got to ride a few of the XC loops and DH trails hidden across the Fernie area.
Visiting Fernie would sum up my B.C Bike Parks Summer of Free Ride trip.
Theres a lot more riding that went down at the local skateparks, Merritt, THE North Shore, that’s for later!
Thanks to ‘Bike Parks BC’ and the Judges for giving me this opportunity to ride the best bike parks in the world! A big shout out to all the 5 Resorts for their wonderful support and accommodation arrangements. Thanks to all the guys involved with making this road trip a success. Especially to my friends from Victoria, Denise Howden and Derek Kidd (Oak Bay Bikes), Thanks a ton guys!