Whistler Bike Park – Garbanzo Opening this Weekend

D’Arcy McLeish | Post Tag for CycleCycle
There's always room for a proper scrub - Photo Sterling Lorence
– Photo Sterling Lorence

If you’ve ridden the Whistler Bike Park of late then you know we’ve had an awesome start to the season. Since opening weekend, where all the trails managed to get cracked (a first!) we’ve had September-like weather. Just enough rain to keep the trails tacky and just enough sun to keep the riders stoked. Incredible, really, considering June is usually reliable for providing some of the worst coastal weather around. Snow, sleet, hail, torrential rain…the last few years June has been coined Juneuary by the locals here in Mountain Bike Playland.

Another benefit riding up high...signs like this keep the riff raff out. - Photo Kira Cailes
Another benefit riding up high…signs like this keep the riff raff out.
– Photo Kira Cailes

And this weekend, to cap it all off, the Whistler Bike Park will be opening the Garbanzo Zone. Just thinking of it makes my mouth water. Sure, Garbo laps can be all about being in the air and riding the giant versions of A-Line and Crank it Up in the form of Freight Train and Blue Velvet, but what it really means for me and a lot of locals is the opening of some of the finest technical riding in the world. And I don’t mean old school, slow speed tech where you picked your way down gnarly roots and rock rides on a 3 inch hard tail with a Judy XC on the front. I mean modern tech: high speed flow on a full race rig Sam Hilling your way down trails like Goat’s Gully, Original Sin and No Joke.

The author getting his race on in the Garbo Zone - Photo Angela Percival
The author getting his race on in the Garbo Zone
– Photo Angela Percival

Coming off the tree island at the end of O-Sin and rolling into Goat’s at mach schnell as you pass some of the blue riders looking at their trail map. Hitting In Deep in the wet and riding through treacherous roots and rocks and letting your super tacky tyres do all the work. Long laps running right to the valley. Hitting Duffman as fast as you can and just barely hanging on through the slick wooded section. This is what the Garbo Zone is all about.

I can’t wait. And neither can you. And this year, much like the lower mountain, it looks like they are going to crack just about every trail from day one. So tune your suspension and get your game face on. Forget the jump trails and come ride where the locals ride. Hit up epic laps like O-Sin to Goat’s to Captain Safety to Fatcrobat. And before long you’ll be dreaming of doing the Garbo DH and racing against the likes of Sam Hill and Stevie Smith.

Be safe. Ride Hard.


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