Innovative trails a part of first phase of Electrify the Mountains in Kimberley

Three slightly different views of a section of trail where wood integrates with rock on a steep slope. Darryl Oakley files.

Three slightly different views of a section of trail where wood integrates with rock on a steep slope. Darryl Oakley files.

Ebike use is exploding in Kimberley and the Kootenays. Or as the Kimberley Trails Society puts it, “ebikes are not a fad, they are a phenomenon”.

The Trails Society says Kimberley has chosen to fully embrace this phenomenon and build a world class trails infrastructure specifically designed for ebikes and adaptive riders.

Four key projects are part of the first phase of Electrify the Mountains, where 36 km of new and upgraded trails will connect to the existing trail system, and will include access to charging stations.

Some very exciting trails have already been built.

One of the companies building trails in Kimberley this summer is Starr Trails out of Golden.

Brady Starr is the owner of Starr Trails. Some of the trails his group is building are a unique combination, integrating wood into the natural rock environment, making for a very visually interesting piece of trail.

Starr says they have built a number of trails integrating rock and work at sites in Western Canada.

“Our goal with every trail is a safe, exceptionally creative, element, while making the trail feel like it’s been there for a long time.”

Starr Trails will be working on four sites this summer, a flow trail in the Nordic Centre, and another trail in the cross-country area, as well as an advanced flow trail and a technical trail at the top of the Magic Line.

A flow trail, Starr explained, is a trail with a relatively smooth surface that allows riders to pump and drift, without doing a lot of pedalling. They have jumps, rolls and berms.

The wood and rock trail, he says, presented the best option for the terrain at that particular site. “We could have just built a rock trail, but it would have been challenging and wouldn’t have made best use of the terrain. We always want to come up with the best natural, possible use of the terrain. It doesn’t hurt that the views up there are spectacular.”

Starr Trails currently has crews in Crowsnest Pass, Kamloops and Canmore and are working on connections that will allow them to work in the United States in the winter months.

Starr says he is very fortunate to be able to work at something he loves. He began building trails with his father back in Ontario and then moved to B.C. and started building with the team at Kicking Horse. Everything just grew organically from there, he says.

Ryan Mckenzie from the Kimberley Trails Society says that KTS decides on the general route layout and concept of each of the trails and determines the building specifications.

” The contractors are hired based on their ability to build specific types of trails,” he said. “KTS is then in charge of making sure the final trail product meets the standards for sustainability, and specifications.”

The entire Electrify the Mountains project is funded through the Tourism Dependent Communities (TDC) Fund. KTS received just over $850,000 for the trail, charging station and washroom projects associated with the Electrify the Mountains initiative.

READ: Kimberley gets grant for Electrify the Mountains e-bike trail network project

READ: Accessible washroom trailers to be added to Kimberley’s Electrify the Mountains project

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carolyn.grant@kimberleybulletin.com

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