Building black diamond trails by hand: the Golden Dirt Boys

Travis Kroschinsky, Bill McLean and Patrick Podolski look like a band, and if you consider shovels to be guitars and earth as an amp, maybe they are. Golden Dirt Trails are building the latest and greatest trail at the Valemount Bike Park… by hand. / ANDRU MCCRACKEN

by ANDRU MCCRACKEN

Patrick Podolski, 32, has been building trail for more than half his life, and he is jacked about his new creation in the Valemount Bike Park.

“It’s different than anything on this mountain,” said Podolski.

Podolski and his crew from Golden Dirt Trails (based out of the North Shore) are building the new handbuilt single black diamond trail that parallels the Andreas’ Downhill, constructed in 1999.

“It has my own flair and I do some signature stuff,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.

For root weary riders, Patrick and his team have delivered up a treat: they began by removing all the organics. Getting down to mineral soil is going to make it smooth, but local riders shouldn’t expect another bermy rollercoaster like Bacon, Tinfoil or Turducken.

The idea of hand built trails is to use the terrain.

VARDA Manager Curtis Pawliuk said that for many riders machine-built trails can seem quite similar.

“A berm is a berm,” said Curtis. “Handbuilt is harder to build. They use more natural features of the terrain.”
“We’re excited to have another new flavour,” he said.

Podolski said the trail will feature fall away berms.

Machine built trail construction features banked corners that allow folks to careen around corners safely at high speed. Fall away berms take a lot more skill to ride, said Podolski.

“You have to have bike skills to be able to drop into it,” he said. “It is a black diamond trail.”

Podolski said it will be most similar to Andreas’ Downhill, but very different.

One of the ways it is different is that it is built to minimize erosion and environmental impact.

Folks eager to ride will have to wait for mid-September.

This is the third trail that will have opened this season. The climbing trail and another advanced downhill paralleling Bacon, Moby Dick also opened this season.

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