Huck Fest goes big 

The Whistler Mountain Bike Park is going out with a bang, not a whimper, this weekend with the first annual Harvest Huckfest ? three days of mountain bike worship to celebrate the best season in the park?s history.

Although the numbers aren?t finalized, numbers were up for day visitors, rentals and season pass holders.

"It?s more about demonstrations and having a good time, a gathering of cyclists, rather than a bunch of competitions," says Paddy Kaye, the director of Joyride Productions.

Whistler-Blackcomb enlisted Joyride ? which organized a successful bikercross in July ? to plan the Huckfest events and contact the athletes.

"For example, the big air event is just a demo, there?s no winner or loser. We?re just letting the local sponsored kids who are known for jumping have a session at a jump right at the base of the mountain," says Kaye.

"We?re not really anticipating a huge spectator scene, it?s more or less a huge biker scene. We?re inviting everyone who?s been up the mountain over the summer to come back up and help us shut it down right."

Huckfest starts on Friday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. with a cruiser bike ride through the village. This is an opportunity for Whistler cyclists to bring out their low riders, Pee Wee Herman?s, banana seats, and handlebar streamers, and take a ride through the village without worrying about a run-in with the bylaw department.

On Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can "Ride With The Stars" ? essentially go for a bike ride with some of the biggest names in mountain biking, including four-time world champion cross country racer Alison Sydor, downhiller Andrew Shandro, and freerider Wade Simmons, to name just a few.

To ride with Sydor and other cross country racers, meet at the Second Cup before 10:30. The downhillers and freeriders will be running laps of the park, and will stop at the base of the mountain to pick up groups of riders.

From 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, local jumpers will be putting on a demo at the base of Whistler Mountain led by freeride legend John Cowan.

From 4 to 5 p.m., there will be an autograph and poster signing sessions, and at 5:30 p.m. filmmaker Big D. from Nelson, B.C. ? the creator of New World Disorder ? will be premiering his sequel: Disorder 2, Fat Tire Fury.

Garinkel?s will be hosting the apres party, starting at 9 p.m.

On Sunday morning, from 9 a.m. until noon, Huckfest will host the Max Vert Enduro, whereby competitors will see how many laps of the park they can complete in a three-hour period. The cost is $20 to enter, including a bike park pass, and all proceeds will go towards Whistler Off Road Cycling Association for trail maintenance projects around the valley.

"I think that this event is going to grow into something bigger and better in the future, like a 12 hour endurance race," says Kaye.

"Because of the growth the park is experience we think this will be an annual thing, and we wanted to make sure we were involved in year one and put our signature on it."

Kaye and Chris Winter, his partner in Joyride, have been an active part of the park from the start, building the bikercross track and building trails.

"We were even surprised by the number of people coming through. A lot of the reason for that success has to do with the trail building, the events, the whole scene the mountains and the mountain bike community has created up here," says Kaye.

"It growing and that?s good for everybody. It means next year the events will be bigger and better. This is the first year for Huckfest, so we?re just happy just to be a part of it and get it off the ground, but we?re definitely getting geared up for the future."

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