VARDA gets set for Phase 3 of the bike park

RMG file photo

by EVAN MATTHEWS

Summer is almost here, and so too is Phase 3 of the Valemountain Bike Park.

“We have three trails being built this summer,” says Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA) General Manager, Curtis Pawliuk.

One of the trails is a 6 KM climbing trail spanning from the park’s staging area to the top of Tinfoil Hat, then intersecting with Bacon Trail, according to Pawliuk, noting various points to jump off the trail and ride back down.

“A well-built climbing trail is a lot of fun to ride,” says Pawliuk.

“It’s for all the people who do like to pedal up the mountain off the main access road.

“It’s a big safety feature, but a climbing trail is a big draw as well. Not everybody likes to shuttle, some people like to earn their turns,” he says.

But the climbing trail shouldn’t be too challenging, Pawliuk says, with a gradual grade up at an incline between five and seven per cent.

In addition, Pawliuk says VARDA is also constructing two downhill sections of trail.

“One is 1.5 KM hand-built, and one 1.5 KM machine-built, stunty-type trail,” he says.

Funding is coming in the form of $45,000 from the Columbia Basin Trust’s (CBT) Community Initiatives program, $50,000 from CBT’s Recreation Infrastructure Grant program, $30,000 from NDIT’s Community Halls and Recreation Facilities Program, $4,000 from Recreation Sites and Trails B.C., $4,000 from the Yellowhead Outdoor and Recreation Association (YORA) and $4,000 from VARDA, with the amount totaling $137,000.

Not everybody likes to shuttle, some people like to earn their turns,” — VARDA General Manager Curtis Pawliuk

Photo: Michal Marcol

In early April, Valemount Council approved $45,000 to VARDA for the Valemount Mountain Bike Park’s Phase 3 Development via CBT’s Community Initiatives program.

But Phase 3 is not the only upgrades VARDA is working toward.

In March, during the Valemount Glacier Destinations’ Resort’s Master Development Agreement signing announcement, incumbent MLA Shirley Bond announced an additional $25,000 to VARDA.

“We were asked if we had any really important projects on the back burner that we couldn’t really afford or that were hard to justify the expense for, but that would add value to the community,” says Pawliuk.

“Our board decided on a groomer for the Crystal Ridge sled-ski facility… a real groomer. It’s a unique area.

“The bridge is only 12-feet wide, but we need a full-size machine, so we have to get a specialized piece of equipment in order to maintain that trail properly,” he says, adding that while the $25,000 is a significant step toward the upgrade, VARDA will have to find a way to match the amount.

“It’s a big step toward having that groomer for next year.”

The secondary option was a webcam for one of the sledding areas, according to Pawliuk, but the cams can be expensive and a bit of a hassle to maintain.