Big White plans to more than double its current mountain bike trail network | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Big White plans to more than double its current mountain bike trail network

FILE PHOTO - Big White is looking to expand its mountain bike network.
Image Credit: Submitted by Big White
January 03, 2021 - 9:26 AM

Big White Ski Resort has big mountain bike plans that are in alignment with its goal to become an all-season destination.

Construction on Big White's mountain bike park began in the summer of 2016, according to Big White’s 2020 Master Plan, which details plans for the ski resort in the next 60 years.

In 2017, Big White opened the Big White bike park and in 2018 developed the Big White Slopestyle Course and announced its completion by hosting the inaugural Big White Invitational.

READ MORE: Zip lines, alpine coaster, winter camping in Big White’s big plans for expansion

A review process is currently ongoing for the resort's new master plan, and public feedback is being collected from the province until Feb. 26.

The resort’s bike park currently uses the Bullet Express chairlift which has an hourly capacity of 586 riders. 

Current proposals include adding more trails for bikers at an intermediate level as 60 per cent of bikers ride at that skill level. The new trails would add an extra 18,000 metres of bike trail to the initial ones, bringing the total length of trails to 46,000 m. There are currently 26 trails, and the newest additions would bring that total to 61 in the first phase of the project, according to Big White.

These trails will be developed within existing gladed ski runs to minimize disturbance to the environment and existing ski runs.

In the second phase of development, the Black Forest Express area will be developed directly from the Bullet Express biking area integrating these two zones together, according to the plan.

The Black Forest base area, lodge and parking area will act as a satellite hub for mountain biking activities, rental and retail facilities and services including ticket purchasing and lessons.

A paved connector trail will link this area to Big White Village and allow access for mountain bikers and other guests.

In the third phase to develop the mountain bike trails, the Ridge Rocket Express/Snow Ghost Express area will be developed and one of these lifts will be retrofitted with bike carriers and will act as the resort’s primary bike park facility.

Future plans for mountain biking at Big White.
Future plans for mountain biking at Big White.
Image Credit: Big White Ski Resort

The Ridge Rocket pod contains 438 hectares of terrain with potential for bike trail development and the resort plans to capitalize on its direct access to the Village to create a high-quality bike park.

The planned trail network for the Ridge Rocket pod will be designed around the natural features of the site while also offering connections to and from the trails of the Bullet Express pod.

Finally, the future Ridge Rocket lift extension and the planned retrofit of the Lara’s Gondola with bike carriers will connect mountain bikers to the lower parking lots in Happy Valley.

Big White will also be looking at cross-country mountain biking options for the resort.

The cross-country trail network will include approximately 20% beginner trails, 60% intermediate trails, and 20% advanced trails, in line with the mountain bike marketplace.

The rating of cross-country mountain biking trails is based on the length of the trail, the elevation gained and lost, and the challenge presented by man-made and natural features.

Currently, a temporary location for the beginner skills park was established on the Hummingbird ski trail, below the skier bridge, close to the Village. The goal is to give first-time users the ability to test and practise their skills before heading up the chairlift.

Another more advanced skills park is planned for an area higher on the mountain which would allow intermediate and advanced riders to practice and progress through a range of more difficult and technical features. The skills parks will play a key role in the learning and progression of the riders of all ages at Big White Bike Park.

"The location and size of the skills parks will be adjusted as the needs of the bike park school expand as further bike park development takes place," according to the resort.

To view the plans for yourself, see the Big White Project Review online.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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