Anyone that rides dirt jumps, pumptrack, or park/street and lives in the greater Vancouver area can easily think of a time that they were sat daydreaming about riding or just wishing for summer. I know I have and the question that often gets asked is "why isn't there an indoor facility to ride"? After all, we live in one of the wettest cities in the world.
It turns out there's quite a lot more to it than simply finding a building and given the nature of real-estate in Vancouver, it grows even more difficult. Fortunately for anyone in the lower mainland, one rider has taken it upon himself to go for it and the facility, which he has dubbed, the Air Rec Center, will open its doors to the public on March 17, 2017.
Matteo, the owner, operator, and savior for all dirt jumpers in Vancouver, first started looking into the idea in 2013, only to realize how increasingly difficult the dream would be to pull off the further he dug into it. Back then Matteo worked in a bike shop, Where he gained insight into the skills and commitment required to run a successful business in the bike industry.
After two years of meticulous planning, and a few lucky opportunities, Matteo was able to financially commit to the project. Follow this by close to another two years to build the facility and the Air Rec Center is getting set to open its doors. The facility has been custom built with as many considerations as possible taken to make it the best that it can be for bikes. The building itself boasts a 35,000 sq. ft. footprint, with the space divided between dirt, park, and a progression area.
After researching locations all throughout the area, from the Interior to Vancouver Island and everywhere in-between, the Air Rec Center has been established in a newer industrial park in Maple Ridge. When looking into its location a number of items were assessed, including but definitely not limited to access, population density, city amenities, and riding scene. All said and done they found Maple Ridge to fit the criteria best and Matteo feels that they lucked out with the location.
|We had considered many locations from Whistler to Hope and every city in between, the Interior and Vancouver Island were also given thought (sorry everyone in those areas).|
Dirt Jumps & Pumptrack
The dirt portion of the park takes up 15,000 sq. ft. of the space, and was built to be as progressive as possible within the space. There are three lines going from a small 3 ft. table-top line, a medium line that starts less consequential and builds as it goes, and the pro line which drops in off a 17 ft. roll-in to 9 ft. tall wooden kickers over 15 foot gaps. Hidden beneath the roll-in for the small and medium lines (and consequently the viewing deck) is a little pumptrack.
|It took a few lucky opportunities and 2 years of planning before fully committing to the project. Then another two years of development and building of the park.|
The vert park and street portion of the centre takes up 13,000 sq. ft. of floor space. The area includes a 21 ft. high vert wall, with a range of quarters up against it. In the center is a classic box jump with a variety of hips and ramps around the perimeter rounding it out. The opposite end of the park to the vert wall is a deck with a bank in, a lippy step up, a mini ramp, and a quarter to a wall, perfect for wall slaps.
The rest of the space is taken up with a big air bag, rezi-jump and quarters, and a lounge area. Matteo found that he had to get creative with the layout, noting that "extra space and Metro Vancouver don't go well together". In an effort to maximize square footage without compromising the available riding area they were able to design and engineer a three-story mezzanine system, which also makes for some great viewing areas, for parents and riders alike.
The park is a bike only facility and is open to all ages. Entry is paid for by the day and will cost adults $35.50 CAD—kids aged 5–10 will pay $17.75 CAD and under the age of five is free. The park will be open Monday–Friday from 2pm–12am, and Saturday–Sunday from 12pm–12am and if you're looking to ride until 12am you need to be in the facility prior to 10 pm.
Additionally, should you want to have the park to yourself, the facility can be hired for private functions (birthday parties etc.) with packages starting at $200 CAD. They also will offer coaching and camp options for riders looking to either get into dirt jumping or park/street riding or looking to brush up on some skills.
Air Rec Center Details
• Adult Day Pass – $35.50 CAD
• Youth Day Pass (5–10) – $17.75 CAD
• Under the age of 5 – Free
• 4 Month Unlimited Adult Pass – $465 CAD
• 4 Month Unlimited Youth Pass – $232 CAD
• Open Monday–Friday, 2pm–12am
• Saturday and Sunday, 12pm–12am
Matteo knows that he can't have the Air Rec Center where it is today without the help of a lot of people and would like to send massive thanks to them all. The ramps were built with help from the all-star team of Josh Straat and Nick Mayer, Dustin Guilding wielded a shovel over the dirt jumps to make sure everything worked perfectly. The contractor and extremely tricky technical project tackler, Andrew Teit. Carpentry help from Dylan Sheffer, Daniel Shaw, and Brandon Schmidt, and a list of MVP's who had a hand in helping Matteo's dream reach this point: Chad Lindenbach, Chase Sherrington, Matt Juhasz, Kobe Russell, James Van de Kamp, Caleb Holonko, and Jack Gorton.
The park will open on March 17, 2017, so mark your calendars and prepare to ride dirt jumps and park, year round, in Vancouver.