Spokin’ Word: Open season!

Put the magazine down and get after it! The ski swap will be here before you know it.

New lift-access biking at Revelstoke Mountain Resort provides another way to access alpine trails. Photo: Ian Houghton

This article first appeared in print in the June 2019 issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine. Spokin’ Word is a regular mountain-biking column by Bryce Borlick that appears during the biking season.

The sun is shining and the weather is sweet, so let’s get to it since it’s June and the biking season is already firing on all cylinders.

Illustration: Benji Andringa

The ever-popular Fiver racing series, organized by the Revelstoke Cycling Association, will be back again this summer with four races in each of the disciplines: cross-country, downhill, and enduro. Similarly, the even-more-popular Women’s Enduro returns September 14 to run racers ragged around the valley, or at least the ones lucky enough to nab a spot in this sold-out event. Not to be overlooked, the classic Steamer hill climb race will once again ascend the Meadows in the Sky Parkway in the heat of August. But the big news for race fans is the Enduro World Series staging the only Canadian round of their North American Series on Boulder Mountain on June 16. Add to this the weekly Pedal and Pint ride, Bikes Beers and Babes ride, and Dig Night and you’ve got your social card pretty full.

Every summer the riding options in Revelstoke grow by leaps and bounds and this year is no exception. In 2018 the Beaver Lake area and Frisby Ridge saws significant improvements and by 2020 we’ll likely have new terrain open at Sunnyside. So what about 2019 you ask? In mid-July Revelstoke Mountain Resort will be opening its gondola doors to mountain bikes, transforming a once arduous 1,170 meter climb to Mackenzie Outpost into an easy breezy Clif bar chompin’ 15-minute fiesta. Upon arrival, you can head up the seven-kilometre Stoke Climb, ride out and back on the optional five-and-a-half kilometre Greeley Trail, and take the Fifty Six Twenty trail a brake cooking 15 kilometres back to the base area. For a rookie year of mountain bike operations, offering 27.5 km of sub-alpine and downhill trails is a great way to come out swinging. And, yes, you can ride your e-bike there.

Trail access for e-bikes has been a hot topic lately and in May the Ministry of Forests updated its policies to permit their “safe, appropriate use… on designated trails managed by Recreation Sites and Trails BC.” What this translates to locally is that class-one e-bikes (pedal assist) are allowed on all Boulder trails. Due to the dual-directionality of Frisby and Macpherson trails, e-bikes will only be permitted for disabled riders. E-bikes are also permitted on some National Park trails, on the Revy Riders moto network (fees apply), and on the newly-approved Sunnyside network once it opens. Will we see a new category in the Fiver Series? It’s a brave new world.

So put the magazine down and get after it! The ski swap will be here before you know it.

Bryce Borlick
Bryce Borlick is a world traveler, outdoor enthusiast, and urban refugee whom you’re most likely to find wandering the mountains in search of nothing in particular. With an unruly interest in sustainability and permaculture, he may be the only person in Revelstoke dreaming of one day doing burnouts in an electric F-250 towing a tiny house.