RCA: Frisby Ridge mountain bike trail closed for 2016

The popular Frisby Ridge alpine mountain biking trail will be closed for repairs for 2016 after it sustained heavy damage in September, 2015 when throngs of riders took to the trail despite wet weather and soggy conditions.

This Revelstoke Cycling Association image shows the extent of the damage to the trail. Riders seeking to avoid mud pits left the trail, causing damage to the alpine habitat adjacent to it. Photo: Revelstoke Cycling Association

The very popular Frisby Ridge alpine mountain bike trail will be subject to a voluntary then mandatory closure for 2016 after sustaining severe damage during wet weather in late 2015, the Revelstoke Cycling Association (RCA) has announced.

Each year the trail is subject to caribou closure until July 15. When RCA members visited the site last week, they discovered the extent of the damage to the trail.

Big crowds on the September, 2015 long weekend caused extensive damage to the trail when they rode the soggy trail after it had been buffeted by cold weather and heavy precipitation. It was a setback for the cycling association, who had just been working to improve already damaged areas, many of which were in sensitive alpine areas.

“The cold temperatures meant that the trail tread could not dry out and recover between rain events. The fresh maintenance work was still very soft and many hard-worked areas simply turned into quagmires under the heavy rain and biker traffic. Faced with mud holes and standing water, bikers began riding and walking off trail to link dryer sections together resulting in significant trail creep and damage to the sensitive surrounding areas,” the RCA wrote in a statement.

Currently, the trail is under a voluntary closure, which will switch to a mandatory closure when crews move in to repair the trail in August.

So, where to go now? The RCA has a couple of recommendations.

“The RCA shares in the disappointment about the trail being closed for the remainder of this season, but we are confident and optimistic that the sacrifice and work of this year will create a better trail that we can all enjoy and be proud of for years to come. For a great alpine XC experience, we encourage riders to use the more technically challenging and advanced Keystone Standard Basin Trail. For a flow-trail descent similar to Frisby Ridge, try Flowdown at Mount Macpherson.

Riding on bike trails in ways that damage the trails — such as during wet conditions — is considered poor etiquette, according to the International Mountain Biking Association. Riders are encouraged to seek alternate trails during wet times. Since Revelstoke’s alpine trails have a very short riding window, visitors (and locals) may be tempted to ride during less than ideal conditions.