Words: Evan Wishloff
Photos: Stirl and Rae Media Haus
Months before the first tire will hit dirt, trail builders are hard at work. Snow has yet to melt, and machinery runs non-stop, working to clear the snow off the trails. Sloppy, muddy, dirty, wet, snowy trails are nowhere near ready to ride. A trail builder starts working.
The melt comes to an end, but that doesn’t mean trails are ready to ride. Winter takes a toll on the dirt. Trail builders' labour continues. They work arduous long days because they know what we all know: riding season in the alpine is short. Only hard work by the unsung heroes of dirt can start the season on time.
Machinery runs, but much of the work must be done by hand - calloused, tired hands. But that doesn’t stop them. Early mornings are spent digging, raking, tamping, and shaping. Preparing.
If you think a trail builder's work is easy, you only have to look at their worn-down boots to be set straight. These boots, and the trail builders that own them, don’t know what easy is. They only know the satisfaction that comes from making something out of nothing - a golden trail unearthed from the soil below, shaped and manicured to perfection.
All of this - the early mornings, long days, calloused hands, worn down boots - is to enable mountain bikers to find fun in the alpine. Big White is open for riding.
But that doesn’t mean the trail builders' work is done. Their work is never done. From clearing, to shaping, to maintaining, a trail builder is always hard at work somewhere behind the scenes.. Creating something from nothing. Enabling two-wheeled fun.
The next time you see a trail builder, thank them. Or better yet, buy them a coffee or beer. They’ve earned it.