Big White's Bullet chair was spinning once again Wednesday, this time carrying downhill mountain bikes, rather than skiers and snowboarders.
While the official launch of Big White's new bike park is Friday, the lift began spinning Wednesday for those in the tourism and mountain bike industries to try out and provide feedback.
After the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon and the sabering of champagne, the bikers rushed to the Bullet Chair to try out the new trails.
Kris Hawryluik, bike park manager, said they've been planning for Friday's opening for the past three years, and have been building trails for the past two.
“It was just the right time for mountain biking,” Hawryluik said. “The sport has been going off the wall, leaps and bounds in the past five years.”
On Friday, Big White joins several other B.C. resorts that offer lift-accessed downhill biking, including nearby Silver Star, Sun Peaks, Whistler, Kicking Horse, Fernie and Panorama.
Hawryluik says they will be offering “family fun” mountain biking.
“There's big push in mountain biking to build family-friendly green and blue trails so that's where we're entering the whole market,” Hawryluik said. “We're of course, not forgetting the hardcore rider, there will be advanced trails and double black trails."
The downhill bike trails will only be open for one month this year, with closing day set for Sept. 4. Hawryluik says next year they hope to open in June with more trails, as this year's late winter caused some delays.
“We'll continue to build and we'll build this year right up to when the snow flies in November, so then when we're ready to open next June, we're going to have a longer season,” Hawryluik said.