by Andru McCracken

Valemount Bike Club gets ready to break in Stinger, Valemount’s newest trail. It’s different than other trails: it follows the terrain, incorporates trees and roots and has some fairly gnarly rock descents. / ANDRU MCCRACKEN & BYSTANDER

The Valemount Bike Park has added another trail and its name comes from the slings and arrows suffered by the workers who built it. It’s called Stinger. It’s a tribute to the pain endured by trail builders due to a calamitous wasp season.

The trail was designed by Andreas Thoni and built by Brady Starr of Starr Trail Solutions.

There are a couple key features that make this trail different from others in the area, according to VARDA Manager Curtis Pawliuk.

“It’s meant to be narrower, a little bit rougher. It’s rated a blue trail but at the high end of blue for sure.” said Pawliuk.

Several cobbled rock sections challenge riders on steep and sometimes slippery-when-wet descents.

The trail follows the natural shape of the mountain. Tree roots and rock features, sharp twists and turns give the trail a unique flavour.

Bikes in the back of Zac Ruttiman’s truck bump around on the beautiful ascent.

For riders hitting the park more than a couple times a week, it’s a nice change.

Only a select group of riders were invited to the inaugural ride: Valemount Bike Park members only.

Christopher Read knew something was up when he pulled into town. His friends asked if he had purchased his membership yet and reacted strongly when he said he hadn’t.

“Buy it now,” they demanded.

“Can’t I do it later, after I ride?” asked Read, casually.

His friends reeled, but when he asked why he received only stony silence.

One friend started chanting ‘Fight club, Fight club.” (a reference to a 90s era movie about a secret society of the same name. The first two rules of the club were not to talk about fight club).

Read bought the membership and was permitted to the top secret event: riding Stinger for the first time.

Read hails from Alberta and he’s stoked on Valemount Bike Park and the outdoor lifestyle developing here.

“I wonder what job I could do here”¦,” pondered Read after a thrilling ride down the Stinger.

Curtis Pawliuk hits the ribbon on his way down. Trail opened!