What it Means to Sponsor Whistler Bike Park
Presented by Ride Concepts
Photos by Yoann Barelli
As we tear into the lift line, it’s all smiles and high fives as we filter into the queue for another run. The lift line at Whistler Bike Park is like a fashion show for mountain bikers. It’s where riders judge each other, judge your girlfriend’s outfit and where brands come to study trends and what colors they should release next spring. If you’ve been to Whistler then you know just what we mean. It is the hub for all that is mountain biking, and having big visibility here often time means you’re on the track to success. That visibility isn’t always entirely vain however. Some brands choose to partner with the biggest bike park in the business for a different reason.
Whistler Bike Park is the Disneyland of the mountain bike world and that’s what makes it attractive to visitors. The trails are endless, built incredibly well, the scenery is beautiful, food and evening entertainment are bountiful, and did we mention, the trails? It’s no wonder that there are only two kinds of mountain bikers out there— those who have been to Whistler and those who are going to.
For those of us on the other side of the curtain, Whistler is the ultimate testing and proving ground. Media hacks bring test bikes to review, bike brands show up with unpainted prototypes to collect valuable data, and athletes come to train and develop skills. It’s still heaven, but it’s also transformed to a place of work.
One particular group of workers usually go unthanked, yet probably spend the most sweat and time laboring over the enjoyment we riders take for granted – trail builders. Whistler Bike Park’s trail crew is huge, employing 45 people that are outside day after day pushing shovels, rakes and heavy machinery. And when they’re not digging, they’re riding! Brands like Ride Concepts see a real benefit to working with Whistler Bike Park. As the official shoe sponsor of Whistler, Ride Concepts not only gets the public’s eyeballs when it comes to seeing lots of their shoes, they get something even more valuable — feedback.
If you’re a brand looking to make products that last and perform, it’s tough to pick a better group than hard working, value conscious trail builders! “A lot of these guys are getting a million feet of vertical per year, and these are the people we want helping us to make our shoes better,” says Rick Reed of Ride Concepts.
In total, the park has over 120 miles of trails within its boundaries and helping the full time crew of 45 are a hand-picked selection of contractors, like Gravity Logic. Who woulda thought that a bike park crew of 45 guys would need help? Once again though, if you’ve been to Whistler, you know.
Every day while thousands of people are enjoying these world-class trails, Whistler will have about 14-20 trail crew workers in the park, shaping and repairing trails. Beyond the impressive and ever-important hand work, Whistler also has two 5-ton shaping excavators, a 7.5-ton excavator for breaking ground, a small dump truck and countless other machines at their disposal. It’s one of the biggest bike park machine fleets on the planet, but all that equipment is necessary to keep up with the demands.
As the most visited bike park, Whistler will have plenty of days where there are over 2,000 riders on the mountain. A Whistler brand specialist informed us that, “2019 is the biggest year of the park ever. With the Vail acquisition, we’ve seen more people coming from the States, and more beginner riders than ever.” All those new riders and people required big changes in the park however. When you have thousands of people per day riding trails, building and construction techniques need to be altered.