This is where you will find the latest info and dirt on the trails at SilverStar written by the man who knows, the man with the plan - Cam Sorensen.
Bike Park Update, August 29, 2017
The Best Trail Crew in the Country!
It's been a dry summer to say the least, but our crew has been outstanding, working through the heat with water hoses and doing their best to stay on top of trail maintenance. When you consider that, since opening June 22, we've only had one day of precipitation it's incredible to see how amazing our team has done in keeping up the trails. The fire danger has also kept us away from using machines or saws, so we've been a little behind tackling our list of summer projects. With that being said, the cooler nights and bit of dew in the mornings is letting us get back to it.
We are finally getting to the re-build of Upper Rock Star. This also means the first portion of the trail is closed this week and possibly for the rest of the season. We will be re-tooling the blue over-pass and giving a fresh new trail down to the T-Bar jump. Historically this section of trail has been really slow. We have pushed the line straighter and put in some pump rollers, mini step-downs, and a couple of shark fins along with some bigger jumps. There is a split between the crew, some saying it will be plenty fast and can go bigger, and others thinking the speed will be just right. It may take a winter to see but be ready for something new either way. Please keep in mind that if we don't get any more rain we may delay opening this to next season.
Many of the technical wood features around the mountain are starting to show their age. It seems they don’t like this dry heat ether. Some have been taken out with the heavy winds this summer (downed trees, etc), and a few others are missing boards or have broken supports, so please respect all closures. They are closed for a reason and there are always 'go arounds'. The few remaining "closed for the season" features will be addressed next spring. Stay tuned though as we are putting a larger wood budget in for next year to bring some of the favorites back, with a new twist.
We also had a couple good days of rock armoring this week. Dag’s DH now has a manufactured rock garden part way down. It may feel bumpy but trust us when we say it is better than the moto ruts that arrived after the BC Cup. We also hit the overly large root step on Lower Gnar. Again, some rock will be there until the end of time.
If you were a fan of the Vault, it is no longer, sorry. We will be building in there for the rest of the season. This is for something special that you will have to wait for. It will be bigger than most things in the park and will be modified into Walk the Line afterwards. This will give the Expert riders a nice extension to their favorite jump line.
I know this Park update may seem to be of what is to come and not what we have done, but if you ride here regularly, you see all the little pieces we fix every morning. We are the trail fairies that keep filling in the holes, re shaping lips and smoothing out section of trail. This will continue every morning before the park opens as we work on the bigger projects to make our park better!
Bike Park Update, August 8, 2017
The Heat Wave Continues
The trails are still OPEN for riding, however we had such grand plans for building! With this heat and Extreme Fire Danger, we have hit full construction equipment shut down. This has only happened a few times in the history of SilverStar Bike Park. Being up at elevation we normally avoid Extreme, although we slide into high sometime. We can continue working with some restrictions in a high rating, but in Extreme forecasting hot temperatures in the near future and all resources tapped in BC, we are taking no risks of starting a fire. With the machines shut down and not able to get water to some parts of the park we are doing our best.
Luckily for us we have years of riding on our trails. This has given us a cushion so to speak. Our trails are compact to the point they stay hard. Even with sun beating on the berms they hold together pretty good. They are dusty for sure but most are holding their shape and not blowing up, like many other trails in BC. If we do have a bomb hole form we try to get water to them before it spreads to the whole berm. We have over 1000’ of hose, and so long as we can get the water trailer close without going on the grass, we can still patch trail and hope for wetter days.
We had our grand opening of Beowulf a couple weeks ago and it was an overwhelming success (see Beowulf Opening Video below).
With over 200 riders out for the inaugural ride, the feedback has been exceptional! We are seeing ride times posted anywhere from just under 3hrs to just over 6hrs. Please gage your time accordingly and remember all trails at Silver Star are closed after hours, due to the fire danger. We do not want people out there after hours; with few staff on mountain and risks of a fire we want to make sure everyone is off the XC trails before we go home for the day. Thanks for respecting this safety notice until we get significant rain.
We made small changes to the “exit” of Beowulf. If you like the out and back to Aunt Glady’s you will have to continue up Silver Shack a few more meters to the turn. This should help new Riders to the resort find the main entrance of Beowulf off Paradise, after climbing Silver Shack.
The past weekend was the BC Cup DH and XC. It was great having the XC crowd back racing at Silver Star again. This was our heritage back in the day. Hosting DH / XC World Cup and Canada Cup races at SilverStar goes as far back as the 90’s. We have also heard the DH crowd lowd and clear. We will be moving the DH race back to a Sunday, so those of you that cannot get away from work can still make it. This means if we do hold an XC race again it will most likely be on a different weekend. The race-course took a beating in the dry condition this weekend. As soon as we get some moisture back in the dirt, expect trail crew to get in there and do what they can with the ruts that formed this weekend.
Just before the fire danger hit extreme we changed upper World Cup; many of you call it the Black Thread or Into the Blacks. We wanted to get rid of the log drop and the bricks leading to it. It was fast and bumpy and Trail Crew felt being a black trail we could have more fun with it. Now it includes a rhythm section with mini step-downs, berms and rollers that can be doubled if you have the skills and speed. Many of the less experienced riders will not appreciate these changes but talking to the high-end rider, they are enjoying it. Once again, this will change once we get some moisture and the berms start running faster. In the meantime, if you are not happy with it you can always cut out after the first step down and roll the old way into your favorite black trail.
Bike Park Update, July 18, 2017
SilverStar’s Epic adventure trail, Beowulf, is about to come online! With the Grand Opening just around the corner here are a few points and considerations for this trail.
- This trail is designed as a backcountry adventure, so please respect it as such! It is not for the faint of heart, figuratively and literally.
- There is spotty cell coverage, at best, on most of the trail, so you must be self-sufficient. Make sure you tell somebody where you are and when you expect to be finished. Never ride alone!
- Plan for the full ride to take between 4 – 7 hours. This means you will miss lunch, so bring ample food and water. We recommend nothing less than 3L of water to complete the full loop. The time it takes will depend on how many stops you have, your speed on the descent, and your endurance to climb for hours.
- For your 1st ride on Beowulf, it is highly recommended to hire a guide (Beowulf Guides and Tours). For the Grand Opening July 29th SilverStar will have multiple guides riding the trail, a feed station at the bottom, festivities in the village, music, the last NOCS ride of the season, markings on the junctions to help with directions, and someone sweeping the trail at the end. The official ribbon-cutting is at 9:15am, and it's going to be a fun day. For more info, visit our website page Beowulf Grand Opening.
- The out and backs are designed as intermediate rides (blue square), and if committing to the full clockwise loop the trail is BLACK (expert only), due to fitness, grade, exposure (steep side hills), fade away corners, steep climbs, high speed corners, whoops, technical corners, and length of trail.
- The vertical climb is equivalent to riding from the Vernon Airport to the Red Antler in the Village. Do you have this fitness!? The Blue out and backs of Aunt Gladys and Alder Point are now open and great rides on their own with a similar ride feel without the commitment of the full ride.
- Bring a first aid kit and know how to use it. Due to the remoteness of this trail, help could be several hours away.
- Is your bike in tiptop shape? If not, maybe think about having it tuned before this ride. There is no bike mechanic at the bottom of Putnam! Check out the Double Diamond Service Centre if you need a tune.
- Make sure you have tools to fix your bike? Are you carrying a spare tube, extra brake pads, derailleur cables, and do you know how to change your tire? These are all things you should have and be able to fix on your own on a big adventure ride like Beowulf.
- Make sure you have a valid ticket or season pass. You can buy a day ticket in the village at 9:30am from the ticket window; if you are starting early, there is a ticket kiosk on the side of the ticket office, or you can purchase online. This trail was 4 yrs in the making, please respect this and help us keep track of how many people are riding the trail. A one-day XC pass is only $9. Thanks!
Beowulf is going to be an amazing trail and an epic adventure. Enjoy the latest trail in the SilverStar Bike Park Starting July 29, 2017; I know I will!
Bike Park Update, July 7, 2017
The Changes have begun
We went from the wettest, coldest springs in memory and thinking we were not going to have the full Park open to mid-summer condition in less than a week. The funny thing is there are still small patches of snow on the upper trails. With all the heat it just goes to show how much snow we truly had this winter.
Last summer we did not have to pull out the water trailer and hoses once. July 3, 2017 marked the first day needing water to continue trail work in the interior of BC. Our project list requires full tear down and re build of select section of trail this year. To do so we need the dirt to pack, so we are running over 900 feet of hose in places to get that moister we need for lips, landing and berms. I believe the biggest reason we have dried out so fast this year is the wind. It strips the moister quicker than the sun.
Lower Rock Star has been closed and detoured all week. We wrapping up today and will have the fresh changes open to public for Extended Play. We pushed the size to grade ratio a little far on the re-build last year. We know what we were trying to do, make you fly through there with no brakes. Unfortunately, there was too much pedaling to make it work properly. We have extended the lips on takeoffs, rolled out a few features to carry speed and filled in some drainage to allow the big transfers. Fingers crossed it will work the way it was intended.Testing in ETA 30 min.
Shazam is seeing some love this week as well. There are a few 3 packs of jumps that come at the intermediate rider a little quick, so we extended the take offs and landings and opened up the line. There are a few berms that received the pulled up and steepening to boot.
We have started brushing back some of the trails this week. With the wet spring and the blazing sun of June, the foliage as crept into some of the ride lines sooner than normal. We have started with the worst in the XC trails but watch for this to continue over the summer.
The Dag’s Whip off Jump is almost complete too. The crew will be testing this afternoon and will have it open for the weekend if they are happy with it. Please respect this jump and roll into it the first few times. It is different every year so may not send you the same as it did last year.
That is all for this week. More changes happen every day the crew works. See you on the trails.
Bike Park Update | June 20, 2017
From what looked like it was going to be a disastrous opening, it has now turned into a thing of beauty. We are only two days away from opening the SilverStar Bike Park and thanks to our hard working crews we are going to have most of the Bike Park Open for June 23rd.
There will be a couple of the usual culprits opening late, like Lower Shazam, Lower World Cup and Upper Double Dog, but those never open the first weekend. These trails just hold water or snow longer than everything else and will come online in due time. Lower World Cup is getting some Love, and you’ll see the work started from the Chair.
What is more exciting are the trails that will be open. There will be snow banks on either side, you will feel the temperature drop 10 degrees, and you are going to feel like a jet fighter in tunnels of the Death Star. We spent loads of time and energy digging out the top of the mountain and it paid off. The snow banks have pulled back enough to open almost everything from the top except the first 3 turns of Shazam. We had this once several years ago and it is the coolest thing ever. If you rode SilverStar that season you will remember it, and if you did not, you need to experience it. Riding your bike with snow around you on a hot June day will be memorable, I promise.
As for the rest of the park, it is running great. Lower Double Dog had a face-lift. If you ride this trail from memory, as many of us do, it is going to throw you off. The berms are smooth, the bumps are gone, and some lines have changed. This will be the Builder’s Choice for the weekend.
Pipe Dream saw a minor, yet large, change to a certain corner we all know and hate. I won’t say more because if you ride this trail you will smile.
On the XC side, all the trails on the Knoll network are open. There have been some big changes over there too. SilverStar added a much-needed firebreak around the resort in the fall. It had an unfortunate outcome for some of the trails. On the flip side, it allowed us to do some upgrades to the trails. It does look like a logging show over there but the fresh trail will distract you. The snow will also keep Silver Shack and both ends of Beowulf closed for another week or so.
We have two more days so we will keep pounding away on all the trails to get them primed and ready. But remember, it is the first few laps of the season, so be smart, Pre-Ride all your trails first as there may be something hiding on the landing (like Snow). Second time down Re-Ride your favorite trail. Then after you are warm and you know the trail is ready… go Free Ride.
Bike Park Update | May 31, 2017
Trail Crew have been at it for a couple weeks now and what a contrast it has been this spring. From blizzard like conditions to hot mid-summer days, from the normal melt to the ability to slid to the bottom with mid-winter conditions, from a full blanket of snow on Friday to full meltdown on Monday. We are seeing it all this spring. It also means we have to do things a little differently for startup this year. Normally we start with a couple days of training and we get to buffing out the DH trails straight away. However, this year the Park was fully under snow while we did you training, we could not even properly break the new guys. We have flipped things around and moved most crew down into the depth of Beowulf, where the last few kilometres of trail needs buffing; even down there, we had to contend with the odd patch of snow. The plan was to finish Beowulf once the DH Park was up and fully operational. This is a good thing as it puts us ahead in one aspect and we will play catch up once the snow really starts to melt on the DH Trails.
This weekend is the kick off to our Volunteer Trail Crew. We start bringing in a Team that want to help get the park up and rolling and earn some highly valued trail karma. It is great having this crew in, as they are keen and hungry to get the Park ready. They have not had to brave the spring snowstorms and will be ready to smash out some trail. I look forward to working alongside with them all!
The machines have been busy digging out the top of the Mountain. On a normal year, we always dig out the very top to Hub 1. At least a couple trails to ensure we have something for the opening. This year we are digging them all out, may not mean they are all ready for the June 23rd, but this is the goal. We only have couple short weeks for it to melt enough to fit today’s wide bars. In spots, we are over 2 meters of snow pack up there still, in others less than 50 cm. It is variable so we will have things open off the top. From Hub 1 down we should have the full park open if this heat keeps up.
I will keep you posted as things change and fingers crossed we will be able to start getting to all the big changes we have planned for the park as soon as we can get all the trails cleared from winter. See you on the June 23rd for the Grand Opening of the 2017 Mountain Biking Season.
Bike Park Update | May 24, 2017
Bike Park Update | April 22, 2017
Another season in the Silver Star Bike Park is just around the corner. We have big plans for this year. By now everyone has heard about the Epic Beowulf trail opening July 29th. This is exciting news for all the peddlers in the crowd. The 35km loop should not disappoint! This also means the trail crew can focus their energy back into the gravity side of the bike park.
We will be the first to admit the DH trails have not seen as much love as our Park is known for over the past few years while building out the XC network around the resort. Yes, we stayed on top of the maintenance, started the complete rebuild on Rock Star last year, built the new race track Chainsaw Mullet and pushed in the lower Walk the Line over this time. But let’s be honest… we may have pushed a little hard to get those trails open (in the name of progression). This year the crew is looking forward to going back and making all the necessary tweaks needed to have those trail flow to the standard we are known for. There are jumps that need the lips lengthened, landing need building up, corners blown out and widened, lines straightened to create speed and many of the blue trails are getting a re-working as well.
Silver Star Bike Park will have over 125km of trail once Beowulf comes on line, 60+ of that on the DH side alone. It is time to polish the silver wear and invite the family over for the feast, we are going to make this Park shine this year and with almost a full returning trail crew, we are excited about this! Our list is huge and if we get through it all, we have a couple new projects up our sleeves as well, so stay tuned as we keep you updated on what we are changing and maybe even something new later in the season. In the meantime get your legs ready because the lifts will be turning in less than two months.