CANMORE – Plans have dropped for a new downhill biking challenge coming to the Canmore Nordic Centre.
The Canmore and Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) will construct a roughly 800-metre enduro/freeride trail in the provincial park bordering the mountain town after receiving a $58,000 grant from Alberta.
The targeted completion of the trail is fall 2022.
"The intent is to provide a trail that meets the demand of riders who want to progress their skills, and introduce technical terrain features and really have this trail to be a unique style," said Chad Holowatuk, CAMBA's president.
"We're not looking for another traditional flow trail. The idea is there is going to be multiple choices for routes to give it more of a freeride style or more of an enduro, technical terrain."
At CAMBA’s AGM last week (May 4), the group announced that after three attempts at applying for the province’s Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant, the third time was a charm.
The CFEP is a matching grant, which means CAMBA is in the process of fundraising and the project has 18 months from from the receipt of funds to project completion.
It's a big project, but CAMBA is excited about the details behind the trail, said Holowatuk.
It will give a "completely different experience" depending on which section is ridden, and will potentially integrate rock gardens, drops, table tops and more technical terrain for riders to evolve skills.
Riders will start at the road that loops around the Bill Warren Training Centre, just above the 18th hole of the Nordic centre's disc golf course, and ride down behind the bike skills park and cross through forested area that connects with Orchid Trail.
CAMBA is working closely with the Alberta Rocky Mountain Disc Golf Association, and partial funding will ensure the disc golf experience isn't hampered in any way.
The downhill trail will fill a recreational void identified by CAMBA, which has 650 members, and will be used for recreational use, programming, potentially competitions, and is predicted to attract additional visitors to the area.
CAMBA wants to create a unique experience with the trail that excites and entices riders and draws them away from unsanctioned trails that exist in sensitive wildlife corridors.
"Every area has its unique set of challenges and I think ours is the balance of recreation and wildlife ecology," said Holowatuk. "The idea is you want to have a balanced inventory of trails between beginner, intermediate and advance trails. I think this trail is going to help fill out more of the advanced at the Canmore Nordic Centre and hopefully what it does is it gets riders pumped to come to the facility to ride rather than going in a [wildlife] corridor."
But before construction begins, an updated trail design will be presented to the Kananaskis Trail Committee and Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) for feedback and ecological review.
Once the design is finalized, a professional builder will be hired to break ground.
AEP, which overseas the Canmore Nordic Centre land, supports the project.
Over the past few years, the popular Nordic centre has seen a “dramatic increase in visitation,” said Trevor Poth, Manager with Specialized Facilities and Trails, Kananaskis Country, AEP.
“Our mountain bike visitors are looking for opportunities to progress their riding skills and want to see trails with technical terrain features that are consistent with CAMBA’s proposed trail development,” said Poth in a press release.
CAMBA launches Pedal for Pints
Meanwhile, Pedal for Pints, a fundraiser for local trail maintenance and development, was approved at CAMBA’s AGM.
Starting May 15, when riders, runners and other trail users complete a 30-km loop, which starts and ends at the Sheepdog Brewery in Canmore, they’ll receive a free pint at the brewery and sponsors will donate to the cause. Other prizes are available to participants, too.
The fundraiser is open to children and adaptive riders as well.
Children can pedal for ice cream at the Old School Ice Cream Bus when they complete a scavenger hunt on the Fun Forest and Mosquito Bite trails; and adaptive riders have an abbreviated version of the loop.
Part of the proceeds raised will be donated to Rocky Mountain Adaptive and its programming.
“We also view Pedal for Pints as a way to help manage the increased traffic on trails this season,” said CAMBA vice president, Justin Deoliveira in a press release. “Keeping users, especially visitors, on designated trails can be challenging. Providing an incentive for people to follow a designed loop is something we feel will resonate with users more than the typical ‘stay on designated trails’ message.”
The fundraiser is in collaboration with Sheepdog Brewing, The Old School Ice Cream Bus, and The Bike Shop.
More details and maps of the loops can be found at www.p4p.camba.ca.