Earlier this month during Crankworx, the Pinkbike team and industry friends checked out Whistler's only sanctioned heli-bike trail.
This new trail from AlpX Expeditions
(powered by Blackcomb Helicopters) has been the culmination of 5 years of consultation with the Province of British Columbia, Lil’wat Nation’ Land Referrals Committee, Squamish Nation, resource organizations and local user groups. The new trail consists of 13km of freshly built singletrack, spanning over 1600m (5,250ft) of descent, including a 3km black diamond descent from the peak, feeding into beautiful alpine lakes before a 1.2km climb trail, and an intermediate blue trail of 9km to finish. This final section follows an alpine ridgeline down through old growth forest to open terrain with a mix of singletrack and bike park style flow sections, and a healthy about of steep corners to keep the heart rate up.
The trail work was completed by Howler Contracting, a Whistler-based trail building crew lead by Zander Strathearn. You can learn more about the build process here
Environmental impacts from heli-biking aren't insignificant, but for context, we're told each heli-drop burns slightly less fuel per person (around eight litres) than a Tacoma driving one-way from Vancouver to Whistler. Blackcomb Helicopters also offsets 100% of their operations emissions (flights, vehicles, infrastructure etc.). Whilst this doesn't undo the carbon emitted from their operations, it’s a step in the right direction, and as a company they are committed to further advancing their sustainability and moving towards to a lower-emissions future in the aviation industry. Thanks for having us, guys.