Top of the World opens to positive reviews 

Work continues on alpine trail above the Whistler Bike Park

click to enlarge PHOTO BY STERLING LORENCE - alpine highride The builders of Whistler Mountain's new trail called Top of the World aren't finished yet, but the project is complete enough to allow mountain bike riders to descend from the top of the Peak Chair to Highway 86.
  • photo by sterling lorence
  • alpine highride The builders of Whistler Mountain's new trail called Top of the World aren't finished yet, but the project is complete enough to allow mountain bike riders to descend from the top of the Peak Chair to Highway 86.

Mountain bike riders have found their new high point.

Whistler Mountain's much-anticipated newest bike trail, called Top of the World, opened this earlier this summer. Getting to the top of Top of the World requires the purchase of a $15 ticket to ride the Peak Chair and only 100 people a day get the privilege of riding the new route.

Lee Lau of pinkbike.com wrote on the influential bike site that Top of the World is a gateway to the alpine for bike riders.

"The Top of the World can be best thought of as an experience and not just merely a trail," wrote Lau soon after the trail opened to the public.

The trail offers riders on Whistler Mountain access to almost 5,000 feet (more than 1,500 metres) of riding. The trail starts at the Peak Chair summit and rolls down the backside of Whistler Mountain into areas that are closed in the winter. The trail connects with Highway 86, Peak to Creek and joins the Garbanzo bike trails.

Whistler Bike Park Manager Brian Finestone is featured in a promotional video for the trail and in it he informs trail users that Top of the World is just the first of a network of planned alpine trails.

"As you roll away from the lifts it just gets silent," said Finestone. "The industrial sounds just go away and all you can hear is the wind through the alpine granite."

Finestone has promised alpine-specific single-track trails dedicated to biking on Whistler Mountain.

"The idea of it is that it's not going to be inundated with people," said Finestone.

The design and construction of the new trail was done by Tom Prochazka and his son Alex. Prochazka's company, Gravity Logic, headed up the trail project for Whistler Blackcomb. Reached in Colorado this week, Prochazka said he and the partners in his company, Dave Kelly and Rob Coquyte, aren't quite finished with Top of the World.

"It took two to three weeks to design," said Prochazka. "We started building it last fall. We probably spent about five weeks on it last fall and this year we started building it at the start of August."

The trail length is 4.5km and Prochazka said there's still more work to be done to get the trail to completion.

"We probably still have another three weeks to go on the section we're at now and then there will be one more section to do, which will be about a kilometre long that will be done in the future," said the trail builder.

Top of the World will be open through to Sept. 28.

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