Whistler Riding, A Short History
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I saw my first mountain bike in Whistler in the spring of 1984 when Dores Burma, rest her soul, wheeled a brand new hand crafted green Ritchey up to my front door. She knew that I rode an old tenspeed Raleigh around; up to Lost Lake when it was truly lost and to Loggers Lake when it was a disintegrated 4x4 logging road. Always trying to find beefier rims and tires to take the abuse. She knew I would appreciate this fine piece of machinery and indeed I was jealous as hell. I had often imagined some sort of a bike that would be more suited to this punishment and there it was. There had already been some trail building happening in the Valley as Bill Epplet and Jon Anderson who were avid trials riders were figuring a way to get their un-licensed bikes from the bottom of Lorimer Road up into the Rainbow Mountain drainage. This was the precursor to River Runs Through It. They were also poking around the granite bluff s at the top of Cut Yer Bars and mountain bikes were soon to follow. Once mountain bikes had become established the trail builders were not far behind. Dan Swanstrom was easily the most prolific of the pioneers with Westside epics like Danimal, Industrial Disease, Beaver Pass and River Runs Through It. He soon set his sights north and joined together Alpine Meadows and Emerald Estates with the whole Shit Happens complex of trails. These days he's still building trails but in the more rarified world of trials bikes.
Around about this time Binty had gotten too old for scratching his name on Gondola windows and was horrifying old school hikers as he packed his chainsaw by dirt bike high up above Alpine, above the current Flank Trail, to carve out some wicked descents, one of which still bears his name. Boyd McTavish learned his chops laying out and building legal trails like the Rainbow Trail and the top of Blackcomb and still is active with Big Timber and the great little connector that joins Spring Creek subdivision to the Riverside Trail at Function
Chris Markle is the current guru of single-track construction and has managed to reach total respectability. But it wasn't always so. As society was beginning to frown upon people willy-nilly carving up the wilderness, Chris was hard at work. But it was a secret. Yeah right! A secret in Whistler? Directions were given in hushed tones, under promises that you were not to tell another soul. You had to carry your bike for the first few meters into the woods where the disguised Secret Trail began. He worked from both ends and from sections in the middle where he had to camp to avoid the arduous commute to his current building site. His work ethic was undeniable - his vision was spot on. His unpaid travail ultimately became Comfortably Numb which is our official, municipally sanctioned and deeded for life epic.
Since the late 90's we have seen a great deal more involvement from passionate people wanting to build trails that suit their style of riding. We have seen incredible trail built in a manner that will last for a long time and ask you to respect our resource.
Ride it as much as you like and maybe event buy a membership online at worca.com
Love the trails, respect the trails.