Whistler Bike Trails: What’s in a Name?
There are over 300 KM of primo singletrack bike trails weaving through the forests and mountains around Whistler, plus 1507 metres (4946 feet) of lift-serviced trails in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. There are gentle cruisers and white-knucklers and everything in between, and pretty much every inch of all that epic dirt and trail has a name.
For any artist part of the joy of completing a new masterpiece is naming it, and bike trail names usually come from the minds of those who build them. Since core mountain bikers/trail builders are rarely accused of being bland, boring sorts many of Whistler’s best trails have pretty interesting name. This week Whistler Insider special guest blogger Seb Kemp takes a look at the stories behind some of Whistler’s classic bike trail names. Enjoy.
The Zappa Trails
It’s a safe bet trail builder Eric Barry was listening to a lot of Frank Zappa over the twelve years he spent crafting and adding to the remarkable trails which make up the municipality sanctioned and supported Lost Lake riding area.
Pinocchio’s Furniture, Peaches en Regalia, Toads of the Short Forest, Zoot Allures, Central Scrutinizer, Grand Wazoo (among others) are all named after Frank Zappa songs and the strange word combinations actually work perfectly with the magical feel of the Zappa trails.
Legend goes that while stomping around in the bush constructing this bike park trail one builder stood on a wasp nest and got stung above the eye (Ouch!). Apparently while trying to escape the wasps he then tumbled down a steep bank, injuring his ankle. He survived but after limping around with an eye patch for a few days his co-builders named the trail Angry Pirate as an homage to his misfortune.
Another music link, this masterpiece, from legendary builder Chris Markle, is obviously named after the Pink Floyd song that appeared on the 1979 album, The Wall. Located north of Whistler Comfortably Numb officially opened in 2004, eight years after Chris Markle started to explore the area. Rumor is he spent weeks at a time camping in the area during construction rather than wasting valuable time walking in and out each day.
The 24 km point-to-point is a fairly grueling and technical singletrack trail that does sometimes leave riders feeling a bit “spacey” and Comfortably Numb is acknowledged as one of the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s Epic Rides.
Each Whistler trail has a unique personality and while the stories behind the names are always interesting, the real fun is when you are out on the dirt getting to know each trail personally.
Whistler.com has an excellent digital trail guide and lots of deals on ride-and-stay packages that will give you plenty of time to get out into the wild and start making friends. In the meantime check out this downloadable map of Whistler Valley Singletrack (PDF). The best way to support Whistler trailbuilding and maintenance is to purchase a WORCA trailpass. Ride on!