The countdown had been on since the lift stopped spinning back in April. While we were wallowing in self pity over the ski season ending, the trail crew at Bike Big White got to work. And work they did because the trails were perfect for their 2019 opening day! Of course, we had the date on the calendar and skipped out on office work for a little bike work. The forecast was for rain and thunder but if we have learned one thing, you never know until you go!
"Dress warm, I hear it might be a little chilly up there" was the text we got from Katie up at Big White. The Weather Network had been doom and gloom all week and Thursday looked the worst. But from our experience the Weather Network mostly does guess work. 50% of the time they are right all the time! Once we off loaded the Bullet Chair we were greeted with a cool breeze with breaks of warm sunshine. Rolling down the off ramp you are hit immediately with this staggering view of the Cliff Bowl. A highlight of the ski season for sure but in the Summer it is just beautiful. There are no bike trails down there (yet....hint, hint Big White!) but there are some hiking trails. After posing for a few shots we decided to 'warm up' by going down Rockhammer - a black diamond rocky, droppy sort of run. Nothing like waking up the senses with a dose of fresh mountain air mixed with gravity fed adrenaline.
It looked dark and stormy but the weather held off all day. The trails had been soaked all week so they were nice a tacky. Perfect for the first day shredding the bike park. Rockhammer, the top of which is pictured above, is a more technical trail with lots of - you guessed it - rocks! It keeps you on your toes and is a heck of a lot of fun. The best part is, this trail goes along the top of Big White from the Bullet Chair over to just below the top of the Black Forest. Once you exit you can decide if your forearms can handle more and head down Knock Out or opt for some fast flow down Nessy or Bermslang. Since it was day one we chose the later and let the speed fly.
Giddy, out of breathe and with pumped up arms we rode the chair back up for another lap. This time we spied a new trail that was started last season and it appeared to be open. Gecko is a more technical flow trail between Pry Bar and Rockhammer. A good combo of fast and technical. It drops out at the same end point as Rockhammer giving you the choice again. Riding the Big White Bike Park feels like a 'choose your own adventure'! We went for option B this time. The B standing for Bermslang and it is now my new favorite trail. Fast and full of massive berms with a few table tops thrown in for good measure. An absolute blast to chase your riding partners down. We hit it up twice in a row. It just flows so intuitively. And the rock feature near to bottom (pictured below) is really fun and then it opens up to fast straights down to Home Run.
One more lap and then lunch... Famous last words! Almost down the second lap of Bermslang and disaster happens. I had been pedal striking all morning. I think it had something to do with my rear shock set up. Anyways, after a few warning skips of the chain it finally snapped causing a, well, chain reaction! Chain snap, pedal strike on a rock and my ankle taking the full weight of my body via the crank arm. To make matters worse my bike hopped up and slapped me in the gentleman region. You know, just to add insult to injury! 'Mittens' from the Big White Patrol helped me out like a pro. Checked me over and bandaged me up well enough to enjoy a Joker burger at The Woods. I mean, no one wants to be hungry waiting for x-rays! After a quick visit to the docs we determined there was no break. Only a bad bruising to my lower leg and minor bruising to my ego.
Since we were up for opening day we thought it would be prudent to shoot a video. Mostly to document the day but also to test out using the new Osmo Action from DJI. I have to say, it is super easy to use and is packed full of features. The two things I am most impressed with are the video stabilization and the audio it can capture. Especially at speed. After using GoPro's since they were introduced and always being a fan, it is great to see DJI taking the action cam market to the next level. Well, maybe a few levels up. You will definitely see us shooting more video with the Osmo Action and we will remember to take the Osmo Pocket our of our pockets and shoot with it too!
Check out the video below. I hope you like it.
Despite the little crash, bang, boom at the end it was a spectacular opening day. Thanks Bike Big White and your entire trail crew for getting the park ready for us freeride junkies to play around on. We are already planning our next day up there - once my bike parts are delivered and I am healed up!
Photos and Video Editing by Geoff Holman Photography
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