According to Jay Hoots, mountain-bike skills parks are like snowflakes — no two are identical.
“Each park we design/build is based on the area it is going in to — no two parks are ever the same,” said Hoots, owner of the BC-based company Hoots Inc., a mountain bike clothing and safety equipment manufacturer that has designed more than 30 skills parks throughout BC, as well as in Alberta and the US.
“We work with locals in the area to get feedback and input into the design and then morph it with what is currently built and what is really going on in the world of mountain biking.”
This past week, the Contagious Mountain Bike Club and the Yukon Cycling Association announced that they will build a mountain bike skills park at Mt. McIntyre.
According to Hoots, who is spearheading the park design, the cycling community has approached the project with all riders in mind.
“I think the folks in Whitehorse have really thought about the community more than they have thought about themselves with their approach to the design phase and Hoots Inc. has tried to represent that through the final design,” said Hoots, in an e-mail to the News.
“I think the Whitehorse park is a beautiful marriage of riding styles and a terrific balance of features that will appeal to people of all walks and ages not just the riders.”
To ensure the park will be built to the highest standard, developers are following “Whistler guidelines,” a set of standards originating from a world-class skills park at the Whistler Ski Resort in BC.
“The Whistler guidelines are the most respected guideline worldwide that exists that quantifies trail building,” said Hoots.
“The guideline sets construction criteria that ensures better build practices are followed.
“Hoots Inc. uses these guidelines and has now developed its own, which work alongside the Whistler guidelines creating the highest level of due diligence and attention to better practices in the world.”
The cycling club and cycling association originally failed to gain full access to the park’s future site because of issues of liability insurance.
However, Whitehorse stepped in and obtained the land from the Yukon government to expedite the matter.
“That way the liability for the park falls under the city’s general liability,” said Mike Stevely, a member of the Contagious Mountain Bike Club, who has been planning the park with co-member Devon McDiarmid over the last few years.
“This is the way that most of municipalities outside (Whitehorse) in BC do this with similar parks there.”
By following the Whistler guidelines, Hoots believes it is easier to garner support of municipal governments.
“The reason we have done this was that urban skills parks are different than trail, they are controlled environments so we have increased the build criteria and risk-management practices so that municipalities can see we mean business,” said Hoots.
“Hoots Inc. leads the world in skills park development and only through continued attention to these types of details will we win the trust of municipalities so that we can continue to build this much needed facility.”
No date of construction has been set, but Stevely is hoping some work will be done before the winter freeze sets in.
“Obviously, at this time of year, we probably won’t get to much construction done,” added Stevely. “But if we can get a small start on things before the snow flies, we will. Otherwise we’ll be hard at it in the spring.”