Valemount bike heroes: trail system underway

Submitted by Curtis Pawliuk

Construction of Phase 1 of the mountain bike trail system on 5-mile in Valemount is well underway.

Two crews have been battling the heat and swarms of mosquitoes for almost a month now as they work to clear, construct and shape Valemount’s first official mountain bike trails.

Robson Energy Services (RES), owned and operated by local biking enthusiast Andreas Thoni, has started work on the trails currently known as the Swift Creek Southern Traverse and will soon be moving on to some major reworks of the existing Swift Creek main trail. The company has kept their working group small, tight and efficient, mostly operating with just Thoni and one other long-time Valemount local, Ross McKirdy.

Cornerstone Excavating & Contracting operated by Jeff Cook out of Kimberly, BC, was brought in to complete some of the new builds such as the currently named Intermediate Downhill Trail, Climbing Trail and Swift Creek Technical Zone. Cook brought two strong backs along with him, Brett Saunders and Michelle Fletcher and has also hired local assistance from Randy Pruden and Dylan Cuming.

The trail project has been coming along nicely and The Valemount & Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA) could not be more proud of the work that these two great groups have done to date. If you are a trail enthusiast and you happen to see any one of these great peeps out and about show your appreciation by buying them a nice cold beverage as they are up there slugging
away for our future good times!

This is only Phase 1 of what will be a three phase project and we intend to keep the momentum going. We are actively searching out sources of funding to ensure we have a smooth transition into Phase 2 in the 2015/2016 season.

Funding to date has been supplied by many great groups such as the Northern Development Initiative Trust, Columbia Basin Trust, Valemount Community Initiatives Program, National Trails Coalition, Yellowhead Outdoor Recreation Association, VARDA and it could not have been accomplished without strong support and cooperation from Recreation Sites and Trails BC.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind people that these new trails will be closed for most of the summer and ask everyone to refrain from venturing onto them, even if they look buttery smooth and complete. Until the trails are 100% completed, any use of them can cause serious damage to the newly set raw surfaces. We are all excited and eager to get out and ride but we hope everyone can respect this request as it is only for the betterment and long term sustainability of the trail systems. The completion date will likely be late September.