The Whistler Mountain Bike Park opens in three days. I know this for certain because for the past month Stuart, the English kid I buy my morning coffee from, has been counting down the days like a small child does with Christmas.
“Twelve days, Feet,” Stuart would say wistfully. “Twelve more days…”
“Just under a week now, 6 more sleeps…”
I know “The Park” opens Friday May 17, 2013 but this morning I asked Stuart anyhow, just to see how stoked he was.
“Hey Stuart, how many more days man?”
Stuart didn’t respond. Instead he kind of glared at me in silence as the espresso gurgled between us. Finally he said, “Not days, man. Hours… 71 hours.”
Stuart did perk up when he heard I was planning to talk with the park maintenance crew to find out how everything is progressing.
“Ask them if Dirt Merchant will be open!” he begged, suddenly filled with the kind of devoted-to-fun excitement that youth, and Whistler, revolve around.
“Dirt Merchant, okay,” I replied “Thanks for the coffee.” And then I walked back to the office and called Bike Park Manager Brian Finestone to get that update.
Me: ” Brian, what’s happening with the park? How is it looking?”
Finestone: “Looking good. This opening weekend will have more trails open than ever before and that means we can get the team into the trees and start working on projects instead of digging out more snow.”
Me: “I heard there wasn’t much snow to remove this year.”
Finestone:” I’d say we removed an average amount of snow but after the last two record setting winters this one felt like a walk in the park. We were able to use our work-hours more effectively.”
Me: “How about that big stretch of 25-30 degree sun we just had. How does that affect the park for opening day?”
Finestone: “It melted snow out and made for some nice tans but it was almost getting too dry for sculpting and shaping lips. Yesterday it was a bit too wet though but the forecast is a mix of sun and cloud so we are looking good going into the weekend.”
Me: “The bike park will open at 10 am on Friday. How many riders do you expect to see?”
Finestone: “I never know how many to expect. You just hope for the moon and see what you get. The past few years we have had campers come out and stay the night to be first in line. So yeah, 10 AM, we’ll even try to open ten minutes early.”
Me: What about Dirt Merchant? Is it good to go?
Finestone: I walked Dirt Merch this morning and it is drying out nicely. If it doesn’t hose down hard the rest of the week we should be able to have it for opening day.
Me: Thanks Brian, see you there.
Finestone: Thanks. Be sure to check out the video Mike Goldstein did for us. Part of the idea this year is to stop taking everything so seriously and just have fun with it.”
Biking is all about fun and the Whistler Mountain Bike Park is the dirt-splattered gold standard the rest of the world strives for… And I can’t wait to tell Stuart he can shave ten minutes off his hour-by-hour countdown.It’s going to be a long weekend of mud, crud, airtime, après, and a few thousand high-fives. Come get some.