Bike Big White trail building continues despite wildfire curveball

Big White Ski Resort caught a curveball after being ordered out of the forest at 1 p.m. each day.

  • Jul. 27, 2017 12:00 a.m.

In efforts to complete British Columbia’s latest mountain biking park, Big White Ski Resort caught another curveball after being ordered out of the forest at 1 p.m. each day.

“First it was too much snow, then the snow was melting too fast and everything was too wet and now, it’s hot and everything is too dry and we have to stop work at 1 p.m.,” said Michael J. Ballingall, Senior Vice President of Big White Ski Resort.

“Mother Nature has an incredible sense of humour this summer but our build team is made up of mountain bikers and they will get it ready even with hand shovels by our scheduled Opening Day of Aug. 4.”

The compliance enforcement order was issued on July 18, 2017, to all industry and commercial machine activity in British Columbia in the Thompson River-Okanagan-Kamloops fire service district, under the Wildfire Act by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources.

The order states that if an industrial or commercial work area is a level 4 fire hazard (High) for three consecutive days, all machine operations must stop from 1 p.m. until sundown. In addition, there must be a two-hour “fire watch” scheduled after the machines have stopped operating.

In response to this order, and with the approaching opening date of Bike Big White in mind, Big White has rescheduled its 13 men working on the bike park to build from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. with machines (chainsaws, bush saws, diggers) and then 1 p.m. to 3 p.m .with hand tools (rakes, shovels, watering tools), as well as schedule the mandatory two-hour fire watch.

“All of the machine work is now in Telus Park for safety reasons (access to water)”, said Kris Hawryluik, Bike Park Manager. “As I have decided to charge the snowmaking hoses (1,000 ft of hose) with water by connecting them to the snowmaking hydrant so it is ready for an emergency.”

“Safety is always our priority and every machine is equipped with a fire extinguisher, shovel, and watering can”, continued Hawryluik. “Confidence is high to meet our deadline for Opening Day Aug. 4”.

Bike Big White is scheduled to open Aug. 4, 2017, with the first complete trail open designed to be a smooth, machine-groomed green flow trail.

Ticket pricing information and hours of operation are now available on bigwhite.com/summer. For more information on Big White’s new downhill mountain bike park, visit bikebigwhite.com or follow @BikeBigWhite on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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