WhistlerMountainBikePark opened its famed Garbanzo zone for the summer on Saturday 20 June, a week earlier than planned.
First opened in 2004 the Garbanzo zone is accessed by the Garbanzo Express chair lift. This allows access to a whopping 2200 vertical feet of arm pumping, skill testing and altogether wild singletrack trails on top of the 1200 vertical feet that the lower park provides.
Garbanzo ultimately gives you a space five times larger than the lower mountain to play in – a hard opportunity to pass up.
The Garbanzo zone is a very different animal to lowermountain. The groomed jumpy flow of the lower park is replaced by more challenging and technical trails that cut through old forest and beneath huge trees, rolling down steep rock faces and skipping over a latticework of roots.
Garbanzo is more technically challenging with trails like Blue Velvet, which anyone can ride and still experience the high alpine views without being an advanced mountain biker.
Pro mountain biker Richie Schley said: “I am so stoked for the Garbanzo to open. First of all there is nothing like riding fresh trails at the beginning of the season and second, it is so much vert! Love the technical, and let’s face it Side Track has the sickest jumps out there. See you up there.”
Rob McSkimming, vice president of business development at Whistler Blackcomb, said this of the early opening: “Weather has definitely been on our side this spring with lots of sunshine and warm temperatures melting away snow and drying up the trails.
“We’re very pleased that the Garbanzo trails are good to go so early. There is minimal snow up there and crews expect to get most of the trails open for the weekend. Although some sections of some trails are still a bit wet and soft from the snow melt, the overall conditions are excellent for this time of year.”
Last year the Bike Park Trail crew opened up a major extension of the famous jump trail Freight Train and a completely rebuilt technical singletrack trail previously known as No Joke and now goes by the name New Joke.