BC Bike Park Road Trip: Checking Out Silver Star & Big White

Jul 26, 2019
by The Free Radicals  


BC BIKE PARKS ROAD TRIP
Whistler // Sun Peaks // Silver Star // Big White //
Kicking Horse // Fernie
Photography, Video and Words: The Free Radicals / Riding: The Free Radicals & Braedyn Kozman







Last December, Mark and I were surprised when we got a call from Andrew at Pinkbike. He was organizing a British Columbia wide Bike Parks tour for the following summer in partnership with Mountain Biking BC and he wanted US to produce the piece. I had just undergone the 11th surgery on my left wrist, and Mark had returned to Gatineau Centre-Ville Ouest to endure a harsh Eastern Canadian winter - so bikes were not on our radar at all. But once we received the trip details our mindsets changed as it was obvious that this was going to be the trip of the summer.

As the winter progressed and the trip crystalized, our excitement built to nearly uncontainable levels, and once spring rolled around we were chomping at the bit to get on the road. Mark and I both grew up watching Drop-In, and this trip was going to be the closest thing to living out our childhood dream of hanging out in that converted bus touring around BC to ride bikes.


The Route



Between July 18-30 we are releasing one episode a week that will showcase two bike parks.

Part 1: Whistler & Sun Peaks
Part 2: Silver Star & Big White
Part 3: Kicking Horse & Fernie



Silver Star Bike Park

In the second part of our Bike Parks BC road trip we headed to the Okanagan region to check out Silver Star Bike Park. Only a few hours from Sun Peaks, down the lush highlands off highway 95A, Silver Star conveniently lies 30 minutes North East of the City of Vernon. Will and Kozman had visited Silver Star a few years back, while this was uncharted territory for Sharky.

Silver Star has a noticeable family focus vibe to it, apparent as soon as you get into the village as there are lots of families out on bikes together. It's no surprise as the mountain is known for its extensive network of blue flow trails, but there is far more variety on offer than what we expected. We spent 3 days exploring the park on both trail and downhill bikes and were pleased to find suitable tracks for both our rigs. For all the families looking for a bike park, Silver Star's 3-ways to ride means their trail network supports all flavours of bike and ability; be it XC, enduro or DH. For all the haters or downhill enthusiasts, we guarantee you can still find a use for your big rig at Silver Star. Unless you are riding a Karpiel.


We would recommend stocking up on groceries and beer in town. The mountain market has a decent selection of essentials, but you do pay a premium for convenience. Be sure to bring a grom to carry your groceries for you.


Grom oozes style on everything he rides. Rolling down this steep bonus slab on Downtown wasn’t enough, he just had to do a stoppie.


Kozman goes foot-out flat-out on a dusty corner of Downtown.


Mark has been rocking "The Henry" for a few weeks now. I swear it's improved his photography skills five-fold. Kozman agrees.


Pipedream is a rad black flow trail with some fun features, like this drop out of the start hut.


Pipedream also boasts some of the best berms in the park. Will carves one on his trail bike while Grom leads the charge.


The bike park has recently expanded what’s on offer for riders on the more advanced side of the spectrum. With the addition of Walk the Line, they have created one of the most sendy series of jumps on offer in any bike park, and arguably the most fun booters of our whole trip. The jumps are a slightly toned down, but still proper, version of those found in Brett Rheeder’s opening segment from “Beautiful Idiot”.


More Walk the Line and more Kozman style. Whoever says 29ers can't be playful, Kozman isn't listening. SHAMELESS PLUG - GET THIS KID INTO WHIP-OFFS!

It ain't easy being steezy, sometimes you slap.

Evolve is the mountain bike shop at Silver Star. They helped us out when Kozman blew up a set of cranks, a huge shout out to the crew for making it happen in such a short timeframe.

After a few days of bike park laps we were starting to feel a bit lethargic. Turns out riding chairlifts and drinking beers isn't great for your cardio. Thankfully Silver Star has an extensive XC network that we explored one morning in an effort to stretch our legs and burn off some barley.

These Silver Star Groms RIP. We had a riot chasing them down their favourite party lap; Superstar-Rockstar-Walk the Line-Rockstar.

From left to right: Karl is 15 years old and only started riding bikes last year because his friends told him to. Levi sounds like a seasoned vet, but says he is only 15. Chase is 14 years old and just loves riding bikes with his friends. The whole crew lives in Vernon and spend their summer vacation lapping Silver Star.

We spent most of our downtime at the Red Antler. They had a good selection of BC craft beers, killer food and a pool table. The schnitzel and tuna were team favourites for dinner, while the Biker Breakfast wrap was our go-to in the mornings.

Silver Star Mountain Resort mountain biking trails


Our Favourite Silver Star Laps

Mark
Chainsaw Mullet
Dag’s Downhill
Kozman
Rockstar
Walk the Line
Rockstar
Will
Pipedream







Bike Big White

Less than two hours away from Silver Star lies Big White, the province's newest bike park. Big White has been operating since 2017, and that season they were only open for 15 days to let local riders get a taste of the trails. Mark and I were lucky enough to sample the goods during their first season, and we were excited to come back and witness how the park has progressed since then. The park has expanded its hours of operation from weekends only to 5 days a week from Canada Day to Labour Day weekend



The first two maps give you a sense of the progression that has happened since Big White's opening season, while the last is a taste of what's to come. Trail Crew lead Kris Hawryluik estimates the trails on the third map should be realized within the next 5 years which suggests Big White is on track to be a serious bike park in the coming future.

Catapult Ranch is the BC Cup DH race course, that has no shortage of high-speed tech rock smashing to keep you on your toes.

More tech and more rock on Catapult Ranch, it's easy to get lost on this trail as it looks like this from T2B. Kozman bounces off the rocks and keeps it wide open though.

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When you get tired of smashing, Dark Roast is a new black flow trail with some serious turns. Kozman took full advantage of being one of the first riders down the trail, shredding the corners.

Turns out there are a few ways to ride the slabs at the top of Rock Hammer. Kozman prefers the wall-ride while Will rides the steepest bit he can find. Then they get fancy.

We're not in Whistler anymore, $3 cans is a budget friendly happy hour.

The food at Woods is on point! This foot long filled Kozman up, which is something to be said for the grom.

Ride bikes, drink beers, eat food, repeat.

On our last day, Kris and the Big White Trail Crew gave us the OK to get onto The Joker, their iconic jump trial, before it was open to the general public.

Will and Kozman talk the talk as they do an initial walk down The Joker. This trail was conceived by Bas van Steenbergen for the movie segment Rhythm. It has since been toned down for public consumption, but not by much.

Kozman channels his inner Semenuk on The Joker's rollers. And yes, his back tire IS in-front of him in that first photo, but no he did not ride it out.

Big White mountain biking trails


Our Favourite Big White Laps



Mark
Catapult Ranch
Kozman
Dark Roast
Will
Berm Slang



Presented by:
Silver Star
Bike Big White
Mountain Biking BC


MENTIONS: @MountainBikingBC / @silverstarbikepark / @bikebigwhite



4 Comments

  • + 1
 The trip looks awesome, the story is well told, and the pictures look great. if you're at the resorts for so many days, you gotta add more video of riding! 30 seconds or a minute of biking per place doesn't do it justice. Keep em coming, it looks like a blast!
  • + 2
 I'm not sure why you are going to Fernie with 1 of the 2 chairs closed for the summer.
  • + 1
 Good to see you boys checking out my home mountain - Maybe next year I'll join ya.
  • + 1
 Kozman is made of rubber.

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