by EVAN MATTHEWS
The Valemount bike park is gaining notoriety in the mountain biking community, as the number of riders coming to town continues to climb.
Bacon trail is one of the park’s most popular, and saw 2,000 users in May, according to Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association’s General Manager, Curtis Pawliuk.
“Trail counter numbers have been incredible this summer,” says Pawliuk.
For context, Tinfoil Hat — another of the park’s more popular trails — saw 500 users last year between Apr. 27 and May. 17.
Trail counters identify individual passes down the trail, not individual riders, so when a counter reads 2,000 — it means 2,000 passes, not 2,000 individuals in the park.
The new Swift Creek trail — called Southern Traverse — has seen roughly 450 users since the installation of the trail counter in early May.
“But Bacon is likely our busiest trail as it pleases all ability levels, and isn’t too much of a grunt for people pedaling up from town,” he says.
“The buzz of bike park is out there, and we are seeing many people who would never normally travel to Valemount come try out the new trails. It’s inspiring to see how biking has developed and brought such and great summer activity to Valemount,” — VARDA General Manager Curtis Pawliuk
The trails are a fun and exciting summer recreation activity, but the park is also adding economic value, and people, to the town.
Two new businesses have opened up in Valemount in direct relation to the bike park’s rapid expansion.
Aaron Ermantrout is the owner and operator of PEAK SHUTTLES, which is now giving rides to Valemount Bike Park users as of Jun. 2. Ermantrout purchased a property in Valemount to live at full-time after being a long-time seasonal visitor.
Jeff and Debra Jewett own and operate Bikes and Bites, a bike rental and repair shop, while also offering snacks. Though the building isn’t yet constructed, the duo is open for business. They too will now be living in Valemount full-time.
“The buzz of bike park is out there, and we are seeing many people who would never normally travel to Valemount come try out the new trails,” says Pawliuk.
“It’s inspiring to see how biking has developed and brought such and great summer activity to Valemount,” he says.
The most recent trail to open this summer is Stumptown, initially completed by Robson Energy Services last summer, according to Pawliuk. However, the trail needed some repairs this past spring due to water runoff, he says.
“It’s now open for public use,” says Pawliuk.
“It’s a very flowy trail with huge berms and smooth hits. Currently it ends on 5 Mile Road, just below the Bacon staging area,” he says.
One of the new trails to be added this summer — and is yet to be named — will begin from the “termination of Stumptown” and will complete a full run down to the lower staging area, according to Pawliuk, saying it will round out the park’s infrastructure for a full top to bottom experience.
“We are quite excited for this one,” he says.