Skiers on the chairlift look on, envious of this racer's white roost. | Photo by Danielle Baker, SE Racing
SILVERSTAR, BC — Western Canada's first—and only—sanctioned downhill snow race returned to Silver Star resort this past weekend. Now in its third year, FrostBIKE 2015 saw bikes assault the ski slopes at the first official stop of the BC Cup in a test of will and traction as racers vied for a top spot, struggling to keep the rubber side down on the event's fastest course to date.
"The conditions were great for FrostBike 2015," Ian Galbraith, Silver Star's summer business manager, told MTBparks. "It brings together all the summer gang and racers that haven’t seen much of each other since last bike season. Everyone comes out and it’s like a great big reunion."
Joshua Fultz-Veinotte catches some air. | Photo by Danielle Baker, SE Racing
The two day downhill event has become a beacon of spring riding in British Columbia, drawing riders from as far away as the coast—where much dryer and warmer riding conditions already exist—for the sake of seeing old friends, making new ones and most imporantly, having fun.
The first of its kind to be run exactly like a summer race and sanctioned by Cycling BC, riders are given lift-access (alongside often confused skiers and snowboarders) while bikes are shuttled viw snowcat to the top of the the snowy dowhnill course.
The elusive Canadian snow scorpion emerged from hibernation for FrostBIKE 2015. | Photo by Danielle Baker, SE Racing
Notably faster than previous years, this years track ran down the ski run Milky Way, and included jumps, berms and drops en route back to the finish line and the mass of spectators in the mountain village.
"After the first year we didn’t build much of a course. It was mainly down the ski run without many features," said Galbraith. "Then the following year we built berms, whoops and a few jumps and that worked great. The riders loved it and it gave the race more of a bike feel."
Even the well-dressed Alison Bortolon couldn't compete with the corduroy. | Photo by Danielle Baker, SE Racing
This year the course included a showtime booter at the finish, sending riders to glory before frantically attempting to scrub speed, bailing or crashing into the finish corral fencing. This was clearly a crowd favorite.
"Next year we might add a whip contest at the end!" exclaimed Galbraith.
The faster track resulted in a few injuries, but the Silver Star Ski Patrol quickly and efficiently tended to those who had fallen in battle.
Kurt Sorge throws out the anchor after crossing the finish line. | Photo by Danielle Baker, SE Racing
While some notable riders—including Kurt Sorge—took to the course on Sunday, the gold went to Remi Gauvin, who crossed the finish line in a blaze of glory, coming off his bike and seeming to explode in a cloud of white.
"Probably the most notable thing was watching Remi Gauvin tear up the course in 53 seconds!" said Galbraith. "That’s fast. I’m not sure many skiers could ski that course top to bottom in 53 seconds!"
Silver Star Bike Park opens June 25, with a "Bonus Weekend" June 20 and 21.
by Don Stefanovich