New flow trail opens at bike park
by EVAN MATTHEWS
It’s official: Valemount’s newest mountain bike trail is open to the public.
The trail is described as a low-risk, gravity assisted trail, which users of variable skill levels can use to develop their skills, says Curtis Pawliuk, GM of the Valemount Area Recreation Development Association.
“It’s designed to have beginner riders get used to berms, rollers and jumps, so (beginners) can move into more downhill terrain if they want to,” says Pawliuk.
“But it’s got features even the advanced riders will find somewhat challenging, and a lot of fun,” he says.
The ridership diversity Pawliuk speaks of was on full display Friday morning, as roughly 40 people — young and old — came out in the rain to experience the trail in its first full day of action.
The bike park had never seen a crowd as large all at once, according to Pawliuk, and he says it’s encouraging to see the high level of interest.
Karita Hunt, one of the trail’s first ever users, says it’s the most open trail she’s ever experienced.
“It was amazing. It’s a lot less steep than say, Tinfoil Hat,” Hunt says.
“We have a seven-year-old daughter, so we’ll be taking her down there for sure. It’s perfect for her,” she says.
Trails are typically recommended by the builders, according to Pawliuk, with this most recent trail being named, Bacon. The name was fitting because “it’s that damn good,” and “everyone loves bacon,” says Pawliuk.
Pawliuk says Cornerstone Excavating completed construction of the trail in about a month.
“It’s incredible — they build very fast,” says Pawliuk. “Cost for the trail averaged at about $18 per meter, but we have surcharges for danger-tree removal and all that stuff too.”
The total cost of Bacon Trail totaled $46,331.25, Pawliuk says, but there are still many trails to be built this summer.
Bacon Trail is paid for fully, in part by a $28,000 grant from the Northern Development Institute Trust Northern Development Initiative Trust and by the Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association, according to Pawliuk.
This spring, VARDA received $50,000 from CBT’s Community Initiatives Program and another $82,000 toward this summer’s developments from the new Recreation Infrastructure Grant Program.
Contributions from CBT and NDIT totaled $160,000, Pawliuk said, and the overall contribution total is slightly more with additions from some of the bike park’s other supporters.