As skiers and snowboarders, we spend the entire winter gleefully watching the snow pile up from the highest peaks to the valley floor. As our legs and minds begin to weaken from the long, wet winters on the Coast, the bike trails begin to slowly unearth themselves.
By May, we are living back in mountain biking heaven in the Sea to Sky—but we are chronically missing a key ingredient: alpine riding. Cue the Mt. Barbour descent trail, fully completed Spring 2017 by the one and only Joyride Bike Parks crew.
Words: Ben Osborne Photos: Anne Cleary @annethene
“This is going to be a signature trail for Joyride so we’re going to put the extra effort in…We’re going to do some work on the original trail as well: fixing some drainage issues and cutting back the brush along the side of the trail to increase the sight lines to make it safer and more fun,” said Joyride’s Paddy Kaye.
When we wrote about the Tenquille Lake/Mt. Barbour descent trail a few years ago, that was the vision—and Joyride has delivered once again. 15-plus km of singletrack starting at the summit of Mt. Barbour, and all the features that make the descent: berms, jumps, flow, and beautiful views of the coalesence of the Coast and Chilcotin Ranges.
Beginning from just metres below the summit, the trail profiles as an intermediate blue for most of the descent, with some more technical (but walkable) black diamond sections as you reach the valley floor. The first berm is meters below the summit of Mt Barbour, and the last is a few pedal strokes from where you park your car. The trail also brings the rider to the Coast Mountain wilderness like no other alpine trail can. Trails off of Rainbow and Sproatt feel close to home with views of Whistler interrupting any feeling of true isolation—the only sign of civilization here is a small backcountry hut.
Due to its favorable location up the Pemberton Meadows, the trail lies In a markedly drier area than the aforementioned Rainbow and Sproatt (Lord of the Squirrels) descent trails, making it accessible/rideable earlier in the summer season.
There are a few ways to access the trail. Car access is possible by Branch 12 of the Hurley Silver Mine Road continuing via foot/pedal to the top of Mt. Barbour. Or use Blackcomb Helicopters, and the recently designed Aero ltd. Bike racks to make the drop simple and effective, for the cost of $230 per head ($1,150 per group of five).
So sell your carbon bars and put the aluminum ones back on. Stick with your Marker Dukes for a year instead of going with that lightweight G3 setup. Material objects break…biking 1,900 vertical metres and 20-plus kilometers of single track carries no monetary value.
Mount Barbour: 2,290 meters
Elevation: 1,900 vertical metres
Length: 2.5-4 hour riding time
Get There: https://blackcombhelicopters.com/heli-biking/
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