The newest addition to the Williams Lake mountain biking trail network, Loose Moose, was the main draw for a grand opening event on June 11.
Previously being called “To the Ride” the trail was in the end christened Loose Moose by its builders.
Loose Moose is a machine-built progression flow trail, meaning the blue-rated trail is something a wide range of mountain bikers can ride. It is a part of the Fox Mountain Trail network and it was constructed by New Path Forestry’s owner Jeremy Stowards and machine operator Wiley Easton.
More than 200 bikers came from around the province, with riders from Prince George, Kelowna, Kamloops, Smithers, Quesnel, 108 Mile and Squamish, to participate in the event and check out the new trail.
A slope style team from the Kamloops mountain bike company We Are One came to take part and was filming on the trail and across the network.
Brett Tippie, a Freeride Mountain Bike Hall of Fame athlete, emceed the event at the Tourism Discovery Centre, where the trail comes out. Tippie made multiple posts to his Instagram from the weekend, with lots of shout-outs to the local riding.
“Just seeing a huge community come out to support mountain biking in Williams Lake, it just shows how passionate people are … and how we have an awesome community here,” said Kevin Welsh, Williams Lake Cycling Club treasurer and event organizer.
Welsh said Tippie was “blown away by the community, the trail and how supportive everyone here is of mountain biking.”
It was an event for all ages, with games at the bottom for younger riders and prizes donated by the local bike shops Red Shred’s Bike and Board Shed and Cycle Logic, and mountain bike product companies We Are One, Chromag, Ion, and One Up.
The Williams Lake Boys and Girls Club donated the use of their shuttle vans to provide some of the rides and the cycling club also hired Adventure Charters to shuttle riders. Save-On Foods donated food for the barbecue, and the Laughing Loon Pub hosted the after-party.
The grand opening event raised over $1,600 in donations from the cotton candy machine, dunk tank and burgers by donation.
Welsh said he has been getting a lot of positive feedback after the event and is considering creating an annual event to kick off the season, get the community together and to build membership in the WLCC.
The trail is the biggest investment for a trail build yet in the area, funded by a $253,085 grant from Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program and also supported by the donation of archaeology surveys from the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) company Sugar Cane Archaeology.
Shawn Lewis, WLCC president and Kukpi7 (Chief) Willie Sellars of the WLFN gave the official opening to the trail and Sellars had the honour of cutting the ribbon.
Sellars said traditionally, trails were how people traveled across the territory and WLFN supports trails such as this as a way for people and especially the youth to continue to get out and spend time on the land, build community and be healthy.
Dozens of riders poured through the gate to the trail once the ribbon was cut.
There were a few crashes and two men did have to go to the emergency room, but both are now recovering.
Bikers were lined up all day to catch shuttles from the Tourism Discovery Centre to the top of the trail which is accessed at Ross Road.
Welsh believes Williams Lake is extremely fortunate to have the trail builders Jeremy Stowards and Wiley Easton of New Path Forestry.
“They are so passionate about mountain biking and so skilled at building things and having an eye for creating a line,” said Welsh. “That trail is going to be a destination trail.”