History of the Silver Star Bike Park Part I
Silver Star Bike Park has a history of biking well beyond the new fast and flowy trails that are the parks signature style of flow. It is a history that goes back even further than the touted 1994 World Cup downhill race.
Today SSBP is readily thought of as one of the top bike parks in the world with 18 trails of DH gravity fed fun. But how did we get here?
Who helped shape this place that so many of us are lucky enough to have in our backyard?
It all started back in 1989, a year known for the creation of the Canadian Space Agency, the rally for democracy in Communist China when tens of thousands of Chinese students took over Beijing's Tiananmen Square, and U.S. troop’s invaded of Panama. However, 1989 also witnessed Silver Star Mountain Resort start to offer guided mountain bike tours around the mountain and surrounding area (thanks to the help of Guy Paulsen, who is featured below in a couple of photos). This was the first time the resorted started up the Summit (Green) chairlift to transport bikers and their bikes to the top of the mountain. Custom bike rack/hooks were designed and created locally to fasten the bikes to the lift. These tours were predominantly done at Silver Star but also involved some shuttle trips including the original classic trail Spankies as well as a couple other local trails. (Photo credits Don Wexel)
After running the chairlift for a few seasons Silver Star developed a few mountain bike specific trails in 1991. There was only a hand full of designed mountain bike trails most of which were where the Knoll Nordic Trails are today. Many of those old mountain bike trails were turned into present day XC ski trails like Roller Blade, Bridle Path, and the Night Loop. However, some of those early trails still have remnants of their original build and signage like Doreyland built by Peter Dorey, local bike shop owner and bicycle enthusiast. Likewise, Crack of Dawn, built by Head of Trail Crew Cam Sorensen, still remains and are some of the earliest bike trails at Silver Star Mountain.
After 1991 Silver Star started to build trails higher up the mountain in amongst the ski runs. Little of the original runs are recognizable today, however, the new trails created in the early 90’s shared sections of trail with a few of today’s new bike trails. One of the reasons Silver Star further developed trails in the alpine was in preparation for hosting the 1994 Grundig World Cup DH Finals. Guy Paulsen, Peter Dorey, and Dan Dorety lay in track for the race course used in that historical event. Present day trails like Snake Pit, Challenger, World Cup and Dag’s Downhill utilize some of the original World Cup Course from 94. Many of you might remember those good times.
Here is also a Youtube account of the race which has some incredible footage: http://www.youtube.com/user/brianhunttv#p/u/10/9MPxhGZUMAw
Throughout the early 2000’s Silver Star continued to run the Summit chairlift for biking but didn’t attempt to grow the trail network. In 2002 the ski resort went through a great revitalization and the Vance Creek Chair was upgraded to the Comet Six-Pack chair that we have today. Withthe upgrade to the lift system the possibility to increase biking capacity became viable. In 2004 Silver Star management investigated expanding the bike trail network at the mountain, upgrading the lift system to the Comet Express for bikes and making a major investment into becoming a modern bike park. In 2005 Cam Sorensen was hired to head up trail crew with the daunting task of building all the new style of trails unlike the original steep and tech DH trails like Downtown, Flow Dag’s DH. Bike carriers were also purchased for the Comet Express to convert the lift into a bike servicing operation. That same year Bike Parks BC was created and Silver Star joined the conglomerate to help promote biking in BC and Silver Star still is a member today. The first of the new fast and flowy trails created in the beginning of the new park were Blast Off, Rock Star, Super Star, and Paradise. The same summer Trail Crew extended World Cup, Flow and Double Dog all the way to the bottom of Comet.
To be continued....look for Part II next week.