Valemount Bike Park adds shuttle service

A shot of the new bike park shuttle, named, the Vanborghini. / AARON ERMANTROUT

by EVAN MATTHEWS

A new idea is sure to take the Valemount Bike Park — and its users — all the way to the top.

Peak Shuttle Service, owned and operated by Aaron Ermantrout, will be taking bike park users to the various trailheads for $3 per half lap or $6 per full lap, versus $20 for 8 half laps or 4 full laps. Private group pricing is also available.

Ermantrout says he hopes to have the service available by June. 2.

“I’ve been coming to Valemount for about 10 years now for snowmobiling in the winter and camping in the summer,” says Ermantrout, an Edmonton native.

“I saw an opportunity, and the community is great, everybody at the bike park is great to deal with, so I figured why not just make something happen?” he says.

Earlier this year, Peak Shuttle Service asked for the public’s help in order to name its Valemount shuttle, with the company now calling it the Vanborghini. The shuttle can accommodate a maximum of 14 riders at any given time.

A trail map of the Valemount Bike Park with attached pricing. / AARON ERMANTROUT

After experiencing the bike park for the first time last summer and loving it, Ermantrout says he found a summer hobby he enjoys.

In relation to his business, Ermantrout says he’s just happy to have found an opportunity to incorporate an entrepreneurial idea with something he loves.

“We’ll get to enjoy it, plus provide a service to the community and to everyone else who comes out to the bike park,” says Ermantrout.

And the service really will provide a bonus to the community, according to VARDA General Manager Curtis Pawliuk.

“I believe in a few years time if things keep (growing) the way they are with extensions on the bike park, and community involvement making the bike park a central activity, while bringing tourists in, I see it as being a full-time thing,” — Aaron Ermantrout, owner and operator of Peak Shuttles

The shuttle will save a lot of wear and tear on the road by reducing the vehicle traffic, he says, while providing more people access, as not everybody has a pick-up to get to the top of the mountain.

“We think it’s going to be a really good addition,” says Pawliuk.

“Aaron (Ermantrout) is a really good guy… and he’s been working with the club and doing things the right way,” he says.

While Ermantrout started to think about the business last August, he says it wasn’t until February that he committed to the idea.

Not everybody has a pick-up truck, so the shuttle is expected to provide access to people who may not have access otherwise, while reducing the number of trucks on 5 Mile Road, saving wear and tear on the infrastructure, according to VARDA manager Curtis Pawliuk. / AARON ERMANTROUT

Since then, he’s been navigating bureaucratic hurdles such as government approvals and obtaining the proper documentation.

“It’s been a learning curve,” says Ermantrout.

“I believe in a few years time if things keep (growing) the way they are with extensions on the bike park, and community involvement making the bike park a central activity, while bringing tourists in, I see it as being a full-time thing,” he says.

Given the business isn’t operational yet, Ermantrout says he hopes the amount of inquiries and interest he’s already received is indicative of what’s to come.

“We’re super excited to get up and running, and be a part of this. We’ve got some good ideas here for additional services next year, too, so hopefully everything goes good,” says Ermantrout.

“I’m just excited to be able to do something I enjoy, and spend time with people that have similar interests.”