Canadian Cyclist


November 6/17 21:12 pm - Squamish Mountain Bike Festival Expands in 2018

Posted by Editoress on 11/6/17

Event expansion and new trail connector bridge at heart of Squamish Mountain Bike Festival Society's 2018 Plan

Following a successful Sp'akw'us 50 mountain bike event held this past June in Squamish, BC, the organizers of the event are gearing up for big plans for 2018 with an expansion of the event, and a bold new set of infrastructure projects. The Squamish Mountain Bike Festival Society (SMBFS) has announced plans for a trifecta of Sp'akw'us events June 16-17, 2018, and has launched a fundraising initiative to build a new trail connector bridge over Mashiter Creek.  

Sp'akw'us 50 Expansion
Two new mountain bike events in 2018 will further build on the Sp'akw'us 50 bike race, which saw riders traverse 50 kilometres over challenging single track through some of Squamish's best trails. Riders will once again be able to take part in the original Sp'akw'us 50, to be held Saturday, June 16. They will also have a choice of taking part in the Sp'akw'us 35, a shorter version of the flagship event, to be held on Sunday, June 17. For riders up to an even bigger challenge, a two-day stage race will be offered - the Sp'akw'us Challenge - comprised of both the Sp'akw'us 50 and the Sp'akw'us 35 events. 

"We're excited to offer riders a wide range of options featuring spectacular riding on some of best trails in Squamish," says Dwayne Kress, executive director of SMBFS. "The addition of the shorter event and the stage race challenge will ensure there are options for a wide range of abilities, which is an important component of growing this event."

Mashiter Creek Trail Connector Bridge Initiative
SMBFS has also announced plans to fundraise for and build a trail connector bridge over Mashiter Creek.  The "Sp'akw'us Bridge" would link the two distinct riding zones of Alice Lake Park and Diamond Head, while benefiting many other user groups within the community. The crossing would be located near the bottom of "Tracks from Hell" and "Cliff's Corners", and would have significant positive implications for improved race course options, and recreational access. Specifically, it would allow many other events access to the full trail network without having to route riders in two directions along the same access road, potentially creating unsafe racing conditions. 

Funding for The Sp'akw'us Bridge has got off to a great start with BC Bike Race signing on as the first partner to collaborate on sourcing capital, material and logistics.

"BC Bike Race looks to support projects that leave a lasting legacy for the communities we operate in beyond any one race day, and that support trail connectivity and capital infrastructure initiatives, as well as maintenance trail days that bring people together," says Dean Payne, President, BC Bike Race. "This bold, and forward-thinking initiative will be a game changer for so many reasons and we look forward to working with Dwayne and his team. This project is also a great way to work with all the passionate people in Squamish working towards a common goal."

SMBFS is aiming for construction for the Sp'akw'us Bridge to take place this winter with targeted completion in time for the 2018 Sp'akw'us events. Access trails are expected to be built to coincide with the construction of the Sp'akw'us Bridge, and additional trail development following the completion of the bridge is expected to further capitalize on this investment.

To be a part of this development you can make a financial contribution here.

Community Partnerships
The SMBFS is proud to contribute to the community beyond event-hosting and infrastructure enrichment. Sp'akw'us organizers are pleased to announce that the 2017 event raised $900, by featuring Primes, a cash bonus for being the first racer to cross a specified location along the course, in support of the Squamish Elementary School Breakfast Club. The Prime winning racers received a cash bonus themselves while "earning" some cash for the Squamish Elementary Breakfast Club. Thanks go out to the sponsors of the 2017 Primes: Greg Gardner GM; Executive Suites Hotel & Resort Squamish; and BlueShore Financial.  The goal for 2018 is to host 10 Prime locations over the weekend series of events by having 10 community businesses support the event's community-focused, fundraising efforts.

Five-Year Plan
The Executive Suites Hotel & Resort on the former Garibaldi Springs golf course is established as the official race venue for the Sp'akw'us events, and without this venue, the same caliber of event would not be possible. The strategic location with on-site hotel and restaurant, as well as direct access to Squamish's world class network of trails, is highly unique outside of resort towns. The Sp'akw'us organizing committee has set a five-year goal to host these events with an eventual bid for a World Cup Mountain Bike Race to be held on these grounds and in the neighboring area for 2022.

"With Dwayne's passion for the mountain bike community and his dedication to running a safe, world class event, we look forward to working with him on his five-year vision," says District of Squamish Mayor, Patricia Heintzman.

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