Whistler // Sun Peaks // Silver Star // Big White //
This is the third and final installment of the Bike Parks BC Road Trip. In case you missed the first two be sure to check out the links below!
Part 1: Whistler & Sun Peaks
Part 2: Silver Star & Big White
Part 3: Kicking Horse & Fernie
In this final chapter of our road trip, we leave the rolling hills of Okanagan/Shuswap Highlands and head East over Rogers Pass, through Glacier National Park and into the Purcell Mountains to our fifth of six bike parks. Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, located just outside of Golden, BC, has strong ties to the community. Formally Whitetooth Ski Area, which was owned by the municipality, Kicking Horse was sold, and underwent serious expansion in the late 90s before re-opening under its current name. Mountain biking has been present at the resort since 2001, but began unconventionally with guided only access to the volunteer-built trails. Most of these trails were built quickly by advanced riders, which established a gnarly reputation for the mountain.
Much of the trail crew's efforts over the last decade have been focused on updating or decommissioning these gnarly, old, unsustainable trails to modernize the bike park. They have worked hard to maintain a natural trail feel within the park by adding some hand-built new school tech trails and one of the flowiest alpine trails we have ever ridden called "Dragon Chaser". The mountain's alpine tenure has recently expanded, providing Kicking Horse the opportunity to build more gondola accessible alpine trails, which we would LOVE to see.
Kicking Horse boasts 3,700 ft of ridable vertical, all accessible from one quick ride up the Eagle Eye gondola. They have an "Enduro Pass" which provides great value to riders who aren't afraid of a little pedal power. The Enduro Pass gives you access to two gondola lifts, and when combined with the Excalibur alpine climb trail, you can have a pretty full-on day of riding. We would suggest 2/3 Crystal Bowl laps followed by Magic Carpet Ride to Pioneer
. On your second lift, access T4
to Canyon Creek
. This ~15km long, 6,200 ft descent takes you out of resort bounds and back towards town, and is a must-ride when at Kicking Horse. You can either drop a car at the Moonraker parking lot to shuttle back to the base of the resort, or earn some more post-ride beers by pedalling the single track via Odonata
Kicking horse offers free boondock camping in their RV lot which is very close to the base of the mountain. There are no amenities, so if you're in an RV or camper be sure to sani dump and fill your water before heading up the hill from town.
Kicking Horse Bike Park mountain biking trails
Our lunch at Eagle Eye was the best meal we had on the whole trip. Kozman goes pinky out in an attempt to class up his riding kit. Despite the fancy fare, we didn't feel under-dressed in our riding gear and would highly suggest you eat here between laps.
Our Favourite Kicking Horse Laps
Magic Carpet Ride
Magic Carpet Ride
Magic Carpet Ride
After slipping and sliding around on the roots and rocks of Kicking Horse, we set off down the road to Fernie Alpine Resort, the final stop on our tour. Fernie boasts the oldest lift-accessed mountain bike park in the province, and maybe in North America. The resort has been letting riders up the Elk chair since 1990, which makes Fernie's bike park 8 years older than Whistler's and by my count 1 year older than Mt. Ste Anne, Quebec, the oldest continuous World Cup DH venue. PLEASE FACT CHECK ME PB ARMCHAIR EXPERTS, but I don't think there is a longer continually operating mountain bike park on the continent.
This season, Fernie is operating with an abbreviated bike park as their Timber Chair is out of commission for summer service. But don't let this put a damper on your plans as the Elk Chair is still turning and provides plenty of opportunities to supplement your ride time with tanning. Nick and the bike park crew at Fernie know how to make some wicked trails, we had a blast on Cat's Pyjamas and Case Closed. We actually had so much fun on Case Closed we never even stopped to take photos.
The resort in Fernie is only a short drive out of town, so we spent a fair bit of time chilling downtown. If you are in town on a Wednesday night, be sure to check out their town social, there was live music, local beers and tons of food trucks to sample.
Thursday Nights are Fernie Resort's local race night. Five bucks gets you a race and a beer at Legends. If your trip falls on a Thursday you're a fool if you don't take part; everyone from groms to moms were out having fun.
Fernie Alpine Resort mountain biking trails
More photos of dirtbags trying to be fancy. We had a pretty bomb dinner at Cirque, the restaurant in Lizard Creek Lodge. The bruschetta and beat salads were particularly good and both Grom and Shark ordered the Chicken Supreme, which looked damn tasty.
Our Favourite Fernie Laps
Presented by:Kicking Horse FernieMountain Biking BC
/ @kickinghorsemtn / @the.free.radicals / @braedynkozman