Kicking Horse Bike Park - Trail Crew Update #4 - 2012

Aug 9, 2012
by Steve Crowe  
The straight goods on Kicking Horse Bike Park, straight from the trail crew's fingertips.

The snow finally melted and it was time to show some love to the alpine.

Northern Lights was a scene of darkness this summer. Wiped out. Decimated. Ground to dust. Pulverized. Forcibly evicted. These are the ways to describe what happened during the latest freshet (which is pretty sissy way to say 'feverish melt-off'). As soon as the snow melted we knew we were in trouble. In every year past the trail has rutted deeper by way of tire and water, but we had always managed to salvage enough to recreate this alpine high-speed zinger. Alas, in 2012 this was no longer so. The top half was in fine shape, but where the gradient tips a bit steeper, the trail simply wasn't there anymore. It was lying spread all over the bottom of the bowl, whilst a deep trench had taken its place. And here it was, nearly August, with the Western Open crowds soon descending, and we had to give riders an alternative to the 10 Road toute de suite before they strangled us.

So we built a reroute. We picked a suitable path through the debris of a past glading project for the winter product. Looks kind of crappy in the summer, but I have to admit, the skiing is much better here now.

middle of the new reroute. a few years ago this alpine area was gladed for the ski season. underneath the debris is a lovely alpine meadow.
Underneath the debris is a lovely alpine meadow.

We will have to return to make repairs once the rains return moisture to the soil, but overall we are pretty happy with the result. It's not as fast as the original, but at least it should still be here year after year.

top of the new reroute. Can you tell where the old trail used to go
Top of the new reroute. Can you tell where the old trail used to go?

top of the new reroute. the idea was to make it as low profile as possible. Is it working
Top of the new reroute. The idea was to make it as low profile as possible. Is it working?

bottom of the new reroute.

middle of the new reroute. some nice soil in there.
Middle of the new reroute. There is some nice soil in there.

Believe me he wasn t smiling for the 30 minutes it took to wrest this little beast from the ground with the world s dullest pulaski.
Bbelieve me, he wasn't smiling for the 30 minutes it took to wrestle this little beast from the ground with the world's dullest pulaski.

Here's what the rerouting would have looked like if you watched us with blinking eyes and a very fast wristwatch:

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This is a pretty cloud:

From the Kicking Horse Bike Park parking lot.
We could use some of what that thing is laying down.

This is part of a small reroute on Chute to View:

Reworked a section of trail to get around a massive pile of snow. And to make jumps.
Reworked a section of trail to get around a massive pile of snow. and to make jumps.

A little big event called Western Open just came and went. I have trouble fathoming the speeds some of these guys are going. Not sure it is even the same sport. Respect.

Hardtail champion dropping in to defend his title.
Kicking Horse's own Mike Parson: hardtail champion dropping in to successfully defend his title.

Dropping into White Knuckles

Sender near the ender

Finally, management asked us to fill in all our gap jumps. So that is done. The two unknowns are the fate of Spiral Tap and Stickrock. Spiral Tap cannot exist without gaps as it would otherwise cut off the trail for non-feature riders. So that may be the end of Spiral Tap (which, to be honest, is showing her age). Efforts are underway to find a solution for Stickrock that will both satisfy management and still keep its safety record almost impeccable. In the meantime, Stickrock has a yellow closed sign across the top. On a similar note, please keep in mind that there are gates across the alpine scree run with red Closed signs. Riders will lose their passes if found riding there.

Remember we are closed after Labour Day weekend this year. So don't wait too late to come up. August won't last forever!

Ride on.


  • 17 1
 "Finally, management asked us to fill in all our gap jumps. So that is done. The two unknowns are the fate of Spiral Tap and Stickrock."

Are you kidding me!?! Does this mean we've finally been RCRed?

R.I.P. K-Horse Bike Park. It was a blast while it lasted.
  • 6 0
 Stickrock isn't going to be permanently closed, so don't fret that. The question is whether or not to close the gaps. The builders feel that they are an effective filter to keep less skilled riders off the trail, thereby reducing accidents on this challenging trail. We just have to see how management feels about this consideration. But to balance that, RCR is delivering a mini-ex to us this week to start a month-long campaign of trail redesign and even some new building. So don't write us off yet!
  • 4 1
 It's great to hear you are getting a mini-hoe of your own finally! This bids well for the trails. I would have to back up the idea of "filter features" as all trails I have seen that lack them end up with people riding them in way over their heads and getting hurt. Hope management listens to this. The gears of change are turning that's for sure.
  • 3 0
 If only trail work went that fast
  • 4 0
 To bad foshizz it's not skiing, trails don't fall from the sky like snow. Good (sustainable) trails take some time to build, even years to build, and all trail can be sustainable. To bad about having to fill in, sterilizes the bike park, sounds like Canada bike parks are heading in a US dumbness direction. mtbing is not a sport for the laymen masses like bike parks want it to be. Stop dumbing down stuff so the laymen people can ride every trail in the park but educate them to how real mtbing is and that bike parks arent Disney land.
  • 5 0
 PB petition here to show support for Stickrock. call it a quadrouple black diamond with high chances of Death and doom but dont close it rcr, some trails are the reason one may choose to ride your hill and not the many shuttleablle hills on any given day.
  • 4 0
 Stick Rock is an iconic trail, unlike any other I've ridden. The key is signage...look to Whistler, where the challenging "gap jump" trails are simply well signed. People assume their own risk when properly informed. Please, keep Stick Rock, Kicking Horse!
  • 2 0

that about sumises my feeling to gap filling. Spiral tap IS showing a bit of age but is still bomber I have hit it at least a dozen times this year, it would be possiblle to fill the gaps but would change the stunt obviouslly.

Stickrock, I am uber sad to hear its closed as it is an awesome trail and i guarantee if you fill in the gaps people will end up on stickrock that shouldnt be there.

Stoked to hear you guys have a mini hoe, but not sure if jumps built by that hoe are gonna be awesome as I suppose they will all be tables :s I guess time will tell.

sad today. Gotta ask.......... The slabs, are they going to survive ?
  • 2 0
 yeah, i suppose it would be a low bridge. Why dont we cut down all the trees cause people might suddenly stop if they hit them and stop selling burger's at eagles eye cause somebody might have a heart attack..

I'm not intending this sarcasim to be aimed at you or the crew who i think have done great work and are dealing with rediculous new management. just frusterated with the "safety" issues. my deciphering skills however are immaculate. Wink
  • 2 0
 The Kickinghorse crew is doing a great job with all the trail work this year. it has been really nice to see. The new Northern lights is pretty cool. Hopefully showdown is on the wish list for some attention, Its impossible (for me) to keep enough speed to get through all the uphill sections. Anyway, kudos guys, good work! And yes RCR sucks so far. Im still super pissed about my Winter pass going up so much in price!
  • 1 0
 Agreed. I rode there today and had a blast. Liked the reroute on Blaster. Thanks for all your hard work, team - it's really appreciated.
  • 3 1
 To be completely honest with you, yes losing stickrock (for now) is a shame, but realistically closing all the gaps doesn't really alter kicking horse all that much. It's still the steep rocky, loose, gnarly, untamed mountain that we love. Silverstar had to fill in their gap jumps a few years back too. Pipedream used to be all doubles and now its tables and everyone still loves it. No, this isn't comparable to the loss of stickrock, but you get my point that Kicking Horse are not the only ones to experience rule changes. Stickrock and Spiral Tap are the only largely affected trails.

Hours on the diggers could open up a whole new run that is rumoured to potentially include good sized jumps. Would that happen without RCR, who knows? The news is not as bad as it sounds.
  • 2 0
 Word. We actually will be having two machines going hopefully for the rest of August. That rumoured new run? Might be true...
  • 2 0
 siverstar also built pro star and WTL. and I believe only filled in gaps on blue and green runs... just sayin, a black diamond run, is a black diamond run .
  • 1 0
 Silver Star - Pipe Dream (black trail) had all gaps filled in a few years back. I think there were a couple gaps on World Cup (black) too.
  • 3 0
 could you image how good Aline would be if it was gaps so that experienced people stayed of the trail so we could have less braking bumps, less people getting stuck behind people
  • 2 3
 it would be awesome. for you
  • 5 0
 I guess the real issue here is people not accepting their levels of riding abilitys, on any given day at any given resort I am far from the slowest/worst rider but Im no pro Rider either. Having fractured myself on a few stunts ( not at resorts ) I accept that it was entirely my chioice to hit those stunts and entirely my fault that I failed in them. Its too bad that todays generation cannot accept liability for their own actions and needs everything bubble wrapped for safety. the problem is that people who think "hey I can ride dead dog because its a black run and i've done black runs before ( at resorts ) " are going to end up broken and twisted in less accessiblle places in the woods as a result, though its the parks directors who ( respectfully) have the right to impose whatever restrictions they see fit... it is my job as a decently skilled biker to be un-stoked about it. gaps keep people at bay, I guarantee if you fill gaps on stick rock you will see many more injurys than you would if it was left alone, besides the woodworking isnt really the issue so much as the concequence for screwing up the first slab, check out whats at the bottom...... Body pile ooooover here.
  • 1 0
 Lovin the trail man , looks so damned good compared to all these smoothed out ' no brainer ' runs you see at so many bike parks ! Would love to ride a thread of single track like that , maybe one day 'ill be able to afford to go on a biking holiday and expereince it.
  • 3 1
 What's the reason for closing so early? I have a trip out that way for other reasons on the 6th and was gutted to see the park is closed Frown
  • 1 0
 They are closing early because RCR is in charge now Frown Silver Star is staying open an extra week and will be open the first week of September.
  • 1 0
 Same closing as last year - pre-RCR. Silverstar does have bonus weekends though.
  • 1 0
 Actually the last day last year was Sept. 25. I'm not the guy to tell you why we are closing early this year.
  • 1 0
 Well that is weird; we were there last Sept long weekend and were told that was it for the season.
  • 1 0
 BTW, the reason for this is that there is no money in downhill biking for the resorts in the shoulder season(s) at least. Now that it is being run like a business...
  • 1 1
 Kicking horse is an awesome mountain. The more single track the better. Bridges should be for crossing rivers, not over perfect dirt. The new re-route in the alpine is amazing!! Love it!
  • 1 0
 Any chance Stick Rock will reopen before the end of the season with or without modifications? Is Spiral Tap closed as well?
  • 2 1
 See the response to dmadness.
  • 1 0
 With spiral tap they shoud make a high enough bridge then have a step-up step-down thing best of both worlds
  • 1 0
 Who the hell is RCR?!?! Forgive my ignorance.
  • 3 0
 RCR is a company who doesn't care about the hills they run. They just want money. Any hill that RCR buys goes downhill fast. No ski jumps, no gaps, that's classic RCR.
  • 1 0
 That's so shitty. Kicking horse was the first lift accessed biking I ever rode, with my dad when I was like 10. That was probably a mistake, but it was the most fun I have ever had on a bike I think. I really don't want this mountain to go downhill (management wise) as I would like to ride the more extreme stuff that I couldn't when I was 10. Good luck to the mountain.
  • 14 0
 I remember fernie pre RcR. and then post.... it was like watching a beautiful girl take up crystal meth and heroin. sad.
  • 2 1
 thats a kickass name for a bike park
  • 1 0
 Resorts of the Canadian Rockies

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