Joe Schwartz Sets Burns Lake Ablaze

Good trail flow is hard to find. It is the result of the magic combination of terrain, dirt, and the vision of the trailbuilders. This necessary mix of ingredients comes together for the trails of the Burns Lake Bike Park. Good dirt is plentiful, the flanks of Boer Mountain playfully roll down towards the valley, and the masterminds from Whistler’s Gravity Logic outdid themselves yet again with the stellar trail design.

Charlotte’s Web, a singletrack that winds its way down Boer, is a great example of everything coming together to create the perfect trail flow. Doubling up rock gardens and pumping through groves of poplar, this trail maintains a high level of exuberance for the entirety of its epic six kilometers of good times. Everywhere you need it there are perfectly placed rollers to pump, or sinuous berms to blast out of, making for an effortless, yet demanding rip down the mountain.

Gravity Logic also left their mark with a long and equally fun jump trail called “When Pigs Fly”. One can’t help but compare the big berms and floaty tabletops to Whistler Bike Park trails. The comparisons end when you realize you haven’t seen another person on the trails for the last two days, there is not a braking bump in sight, and there are cold beers waiting down below at the trucks parked next to a tranquil lake with loons calling and fish jumping.

That tranquility was broken momentarily on one of our last evenings in Burns Lake. After shooting photos all day we went out for a couple laps with some locals. After some sweet hot laps down the trails, complete with a Nascar-like pitstop to change a flat on our rental crew-cab truck we hung out in the rain in the parking lot, shotgunning Budweisers. The Metallica pumping out of the truck’s speakers drowned out the loons and temporarily shattered the area’s calm. There is still a sense of lawlessness in this wild land, and we reveled in it, if only for a short time.
Ironic then, that this lawless North has produced one of the coolest legitimate government sponsored bike parks I have ever had the chance of riding. While the drive up from our cushy digs in the South is long, the adventure is worth it, and the riding is world class by anyone’s standards.