New Trail in Banff opening up this fall: BNP/BVMBA update

posted in: Mountain Biking | 6

BNP/BVMBA update April 2013

The Bow Valley Mountain Bike Alliance (BVMBA) has been hard at work since the first spring like weather that began in mid-March. To fill you in on the happenings and to get you as excited as I am about the season ahead, I’ve asked Doug Topp, BVMBA President and bikepirate guest blogger, to provide the following report.   

Banff New Trail

We are well into the new season already with about 65 man hours logged to date building new trail. We are currently working some of the bugs out of last year’s alignment, so some short reroutes are on the list right now. The new advanced technical trail we started last year on the back of Tunnel Mountain above Star Wars cost us 860 man hours and countless cuts and bruises. That effort allowed us to complete the “middle” section of the trail. We’ve committed to Parks Canada that we will complete the job this year and the trail should be rideable in a few months, provided we get the volunteer support we need. Would love to see 10 experienced builders on WED nights and SAT mornings, and if so, we will make tremendous progress.

Banff New Trail

The new (upper) entry and the new (lower) exit have both been roughly flagged, and we expect to walk them both with Parks in about 10 days, provided the snow cover is gone by then. Certainly the expectation is that the lower will get reviewed and approved, and then the real work will begin. The work required this year is again substantial, with some significant requirements on both the upper and lower lines. Wooden retaining walls to support insloping turns must be built and the effort to get the material alone into some of these areas requires a high level of commitment and energy. It’s just not a job for the faint of heart, plain and simple.

Banff New Trail

Assuming all is approved, the upper entry will involve an early contour climb (the filter) but will then wind its way back down the slope to make the connection with the bridge where it all started last year. The climbing section will involve the construction of some turning platforms, as the terrain is very steep and covered in deadfall and deep moss. The lower exit will cross the huge rock garden below the cliff face, and along its far edge the work required to complete that section will be a big challenge as the terrain is riddled with boulders, deadfall and uneven terrain. This could be an excellent technical section, and the opportunity for low skinnies and ladders is very real. Beyond that the work is primarily grubbing the new line and we hope that will be a fairly straightforward process.  Oh yeah, there will be a nice little treat for everyone at the end of the trail…

Banff New Trail

If you’re interested in helping us out, please note that the work is very demanding physically. Though it’s not what most would call fun, it feels fantastic, is quite rewarding and there’s usually a cold one in the cooler after we knock off for the night. We supply all tools, do the designing and layout, gain the necessary approvals, spend the money needed on wood, hardware and tools, and generally quarterback the entire process. You need to bring water, bug juice, good work gloves and a commitment. To HELP complete the new trail, show up at the Star Wars trailhead WED at 6 pm and SAT at 9 am; check our Facebook page for changes to the schedule

Banff New Trail

Final note: My (and my alone) hasty rush to get the trail named last year landed on Pandora, but after months have passed, there’s NFW that will ever stick. One of these days we’ll figure that out, but for now the priority is to nail down a good group of builders and get the job done.  Guarantee: This trail will be one-of-a-kind in the Bow Valley and will without question become a destination ride and an excellent addition to the Tunnel Mountain Bench trail network.

~ Doug Topp, BVMBA President

All photos by: Adam Greenberg/Snowpatch Media

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  • pauls

    Very cool news indeed. Lots of wood work. How about “Slats” as a trail name? (Slippery Slats?).

  • mr. cool

    nice that parks is opening up to the idea of developing trails for mountain biking, hopefully this is a continuing trend, and will have positive results for riders and parks.

  • Thanks for all the support everyone! As mentioned in the article, you too can help out by showing up to the trail days: Wednesday @6pm and Saturday @9am by the Star Wars trailhead. Star Wars trail page for those not sure how to get there is

    And NGXirish, I’m sure the crew would be thrilled to have you help out. It’s a bonus to get a carpenter out to help with the structures.

  • Aydin

    Super cool! How times have changed when I was trying to get people to do trail maintenance back in 96. Parks was not open minded then , but the tides have turned. Good job?

  • Looks amazing – can’t wait to get out there! Thanks so much!

  • NGXirish

    Looking great guy’s I’ll be out for sure. I work as a construction PR manager and also a journeymen carpenter. Looking forward to bringing this to its full potential!