Revamped bike park to open May 3 

The time to trade snowboards and skis for mountain bikes has arrived.

Some trails in the Whistler-Blackcomb Mountain Bike Park are now scheduled to open two weeks early, on Saturday, May 3. Park crews began clearing and preparing trails this week. They expect 100 per cent of the park to be open by the previously scheduled opening, on May 17.

Whistler-Blackcomb’s Mountain Bike Park has something for everyone this season, from a new terrain park to a weeklong summer mountain biking festival.

This year even tentative beginners need no longer fear the park. And hard-core old schoolers will also have new heights to test their metal.

Here’s a snapshot of what to look forward to this summer.

Whistler-Blackcomb is introducing a summer terrain park of sorts. The Bone Yard will give mountain bikers who like to perform tricks a place of their own to hone their skills.

The area will showcase "junk" from around the mountains, like old culverts and lift towers, which have been transformed into obstacles.

The pros will be on hand to show how it’s done in the Bone Yard on Saturday, May 17 at 4 p.m. during the first ever Slopestyle Expression Session.

"Basically you can do whatever you want," said Tom Prochazka, Whistler-Blackcomb’s bike park manager.

"That’s why it’s called an expression session... You can style it up however you want."

For the onlookers who can’t even fathom flipping over old lift towers on their own hardtail, there’s a little surprise nestled in the bike park this year.

E-Z Does It is a beginner’s trail that will get riders used to the basic principles of park life.

"We’re starting to get a reputation for the more advanced rider," said Rob McSkimming, director of the park, on the decision to finish E-Z Does It for the 2003 season.

"We’re trying to find a trail that works for first time descenders."

The trail will have a maximum grade of six per cent. It’s designed to get beginners used to the sensations of a single-track downhill course. Wide and machine-groomed E-Z Does It provides no excuse for any mountain biker not to give the park at least one try.

If the Bone Yard and E-Z Does It don’t appeal, there’s more on the offering.

Experienced riders can test out two double black diamond trails, which have been completed or remade for the 2003 season.

Schleyer will be finished this season. Designed by professional mountain biker Richie Schley the trail combines North Shore riding with the park’s own "A-Line style."

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