With the endorsement of Williams Lake pro mountain biker James Doerfling, the Xat’sull community officially opened two new mountain biking trails on Monday.
Chief Donna Dixon, councillor Marnie Sellars and the crew responsible for the construction of the new trails, cut the ribbon on what turned out to be a snowy afternoon.
“The timing couldn’t have worked out much better,” said Miriam Schilling, community economic development co-ordinator with the Soda Creek Indian Band.
“The late winter allowed us to complete all of the construction of the two new trails.”
Squiggly Bench XC trail slowly winds up from Highway 97 towards Blue Lake and, from there, bikers and hikers have the option to descend via the more advanced Hipsta DH trail, which includes the largest wooden stunt in the Interior.
Both trails include spectacular views of the Fraser River, Schilling said, and also connect to the Crazy Ant trail, which was completed earlier this year.
Schilling said trail users can now connect from Blue Lake to the Xat’sull Heritage Village by the Fraser River, as well.
Doerfling, meanwhile, christened the trail on the day as the first to take its big road gap.
“We were very excited to have James attend our grand opening,” Schilling said.
“[He], despite the snow, showed his talent with some amazing jumps.”
Thomas Schoen, chair of the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium, said the trail will help provide health and wellness benefits to local and regional communities while supporting economic development.
“The new Soda Creek Trail Network extends our Williams Lake riding areas to the north,” Schoen said.
“With Fox Mountain, West Side, South Lakeside, Chief William and Desous Mountain, we now have six world-class riding areas with Williams Lake being the centre of it all.”
Schoen said as a trail builder and project manger for the project, he was especially pleased to create a trail network that will open early in the riding season.
“The slope aspect and minimal precipitation in the area will make for some great early spring riding,” he said.
“It’s important to add the trails are non-motorized but multi-use. We encourage hikers to check them out, especially the cross country climbing trail that offers a great hiking opportunity with some stunning views of the Fraser Valley and the old Soda Creek town site.”
The trail project was funded by New Pathways to Gold Society and Northern Development Initiative Trust, and also received support from West Fraser and the Spi7uy Squqluts Language and Culture Society.