Whitehorse included in downhill race series

Whitehorse's Mount Sima will be kicking off the downhill mountain bike season with an event that extends beyond the Yukon.

Whitehorse’s Mount Sima will be kicking off the downhill mountain bike season with an event that extends beyond the Yukon.

The ski resort-turned-year-round attraction will be the second stop in the inaugural season of the Gravity Cup Downhill Mountain Bike Race Series.

Sima was selected to host a Gravity Cup through AFD Racing, a division of AFD Petroleum, which has an office in Whitehorse.

“So many people at AFD Petroleum enjoy outdoor activities and mountain biking. It seems to be something that they are into,” said Kristy Jacklin, AFD’s marketing and community investment co-ordinator. “The downhill mountain biking aspect is pretty exciting, and we know at both locations that we’re doing these events – that we have AFD branches – downhill mountain biking is popular. So we thought it would be a great way for us to provide a fun, family-oriented event.”

The Gravity Cup at Sima will be held July 14 and 15, a month after the first Cup in Hinton, Alta.

The series is offering $5,000 in cash prizes at the Sima event, with $1,000 going to the winner of the elite men category.

There will also be a dirt jump competition, kids races, plus other activities.

The event will be emceed by mountain bike and snowboard legend Brett Tippie, considered to be one of the founding fathers of downhill mountain bike racing.

“Brett is a very high-energy personality who will ensure everyone is having a good time,” said Jacklin.

Sima has hosted downhill races before. The most popular race was the Sima Slamfest, last held in 2010. (Construction of the resort’s new chairlift prevented Slamfest from taking place last summer.)

Sima is expanding the Slamfest trail, making it the longest and most elaborate the mountain has ever had.

“We’re taking pieces of the existing trail that was built for Slamfest two years ago, which is mostly on the Chilkoot side of the mountain,” said Sam Oettli, Mount Sima’s outdoor operations manager. “We decided, from past experience of making trails, that we wanted to get more community involvement in planning the trail, bringing expertise in. So we created a volunteer trail committee and it has volunteers from different aspects of trail riding – everything from Contagious Mountain (Biking Club) to Icycle Sports, a couple of the local downhill riders, and AFD riders, and myself and some other Sima reps.

“We’ve mapped out where we want to put these trails.”

The Gravity Cup race will basically kick off the downhill season at Sima. The resort will then offer downhill mountain biking with the chairlift transporting cyclists to the summit.

“It’ll be our first big day of biking and from there on we’ll be into having the mountain bike park open for the entire summer,” said Oettli. “In the committee there’s talk to get other races organized,” he added. “We’re all focused primarily on getting this trail up and going, making it what we want it to be.”

Registration for both Gravity Cup events is now open. For more information contact AFD Racing at info@afdracing.ca.

As for other happenings at Mount Sima, the WildPlay Yukon adventure park is on schedule to open next month. The five-acre Monkido climbing structure area will open on June 1 and the zip-line and the “Panoramic Chairlift Tour” will open on June 15.

Contact Tom Patrick at