Accessible All Year Round – Adaptive Biking at Big White Ski Resort

Posted On: October 02, 2020 |
In the winter months, it’s a common sight to see sit skis zooming up the lifts and down the slopes at Big White Ski Resort – and now, you’ll be seeing more and more adaptive bikes ripping through trees, jumping gaps, and cruising down blacks during the summer months.

In August 2020, the Kootenay Adaptive Sports Association (KASA) brought a group of adaptive mountain bikers up to Big White Ski Resort on the second stop of its Gravity Tour. The idea of the tour, according to a Pink Bike article on the weekend, “is to get to a point where an Adaptive rider can hit a gravity resort and have the same experience as anyone else.”

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Cole Bernier, a Kelowna local, was among the adaptive mountain bikers that came up to Big White to test out the trails in August. And, after riding that weekend, he visited three more times.

“Biking at Bike Big White on my adaptive bike was UNREAL," says Bernier. “The trails were plenty wide enough, had tons of features that were more than doable on my adaptive bike, and they were groomed unreal every day.”

His favourite trail? Bermslang to Dark Roast to Joker. “Big White has very different terrain than any other mountain I’ve ridden,” he adds. “The rocky tech sections, slabs, the flow trails and jump lines were right up there with some of BC’s best.”

 

Being a relatively new Bike Park in BC, Bike Big White hasn’t had a lot of experience with adaptive bikers, so having KASA and the crew up on the mountain for the weekend was an amazing opportunity for staff and other riders alike. “They educated us on how to load the lifts, what we need to do and what we can do to make our resort more accessible to more people,” says Kat Bensler, Bike Big White Marketing Manager.

Not only is Bike Big White committed to making its trails accessible for adaptive riders like Bernier, but to make the resort more universally accessible. “The whole purpose is getting more people out on the hiking and biking trails,” says Bensler. “The resort is also for the beginner biker, or the older biker, or moms and dads with strollers.”

In the winter months, you can find Bernier, a season passholder, out on the steep slopes in deep powder, or doing park laps, and he says one of the big wins is how dialled in the lift crew is. “They are always paying attention and ready if I need the lift slowed or assistance loading or off-loading. That is HUGE.”

Another big win during the winter months? The variety in runs, he says. “[The mountain] provides such a great learning platform for me to improve my skills on my ski and have a blast doing it.”

Interested in learning more about Adaptive skiing at Big White? Check out the Powder Hounds Adaptive Ski Program here.

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