Interview: Whistler Bike Park Team

Meet the harbingers of good times and find out what the hot trends in the Whistler Bike Park will be in 2013

By Seb Kemp

Not your usual team photo shoot. The GLC is the crime scene, as usual.

The Whistler Bike Park team are like the S Club 7 of mountain biking. The pop-boppers in S Club 7 preached happiness, virtuousness and clean white linen attire, which isn’t so far from what the Whistler Bike Park team are about. The WB Team 5 are about sharing the stoke of shredding sculpted berms, high fives, and having a ruddy good laugh while prating about on bicycles. It’s simple, honest, good-natured fun – don’t knock it, join in.

Tristan Merrick (far left) is the nasty landlord in charge of Whistler's poorhouse, aka Staff Housing. He has probably put more Australian lifties out on the street than all the doormen of all of Whistler's clubs and pubs combined.

This Friday the Whistler Bike Park opens for another fun-filled summer of good times. Bike Magazine will be there in the lift line. Tune in to our Instagram account (instragram.com/bikemag or @bikemag) and check back on the site for updates over the weekend.

But before that, let’s meet the ambassadors of amusement – the Whistler Bike Park Team.

Lula Darquier is from Bariloche, Argentina, and is a pastry cook at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler. @luladarquier

Bike: If you were a force of nature, which would you be?

Lula Darquier: Thunder and lightning – sounds cool, looks cooler!
Trevor John Berg: Probably the sun. I like the sun a lot.
James McSkimming: I’d be water because it can take many forms and always chooses the most efficient route.
Peter Matthews: If I were a force of nature I would be an earthquake.
Tristan Merrick: Lightning.

Trevor Berg is a member of the underground trail liberation army, also known as They or the bike park trail crew.

Bike: What’s your prediction for the big trends in the bike park this summer?

LD: More 8-year-old kids that can ride better than me.
TJB: More hucks to flat, basketball jerseys and the return of pocket bandanas.
JM: Bigger, faster, more radical vertical!
PM: Crystals and dreamcatchers tied to bikes, Vitamix stations, switching from bread to wraps in sandwiches, underground Strava league, 29er front 650B rear, lift line Crossfit sessions, dropper posts on downhill bikes, enduro peak laps, compression suits and Clown Shoes.
TM: Freeride isn’t dead! Ladder bridges and stunts on race courses, bullet head helmets, and cut off jean shorts and sleeveless T-shirts.

Peter Matthews (second from left) is as big as a house and his brain contains twice as much dusty bric-a-brac. He also grooms braking bumps for the bike park trail crew.

Bike: Nature versus nurture – that is, in your own experience, do you think good riders come to the bike park or good riders are made by the bike park?

LD: A bit of both. Riders here are so good. It’s a constant inspiration to get better, whether you started here or not.
TJB: Good riders definitely come to the park and some are made in the park but the best riders are those who ride all types of terrain and styles of riding.
JM: Both. The Whistler bike park gives people the mileage and terrain to perfect any skill, as well as to test the limits of what they think is possible.
PM: I feel that the bike park gives a person the tools they need to build and shape themselves as riders. The germination rate of a rider in the Whistler bike park is faster than anywhere on earth.
TM: It’s 50/50. WBP is the original bike park and has started the global trend in making downhill riding more easily accessible. Nature because even World Cup riders love whistler due to the amount of riding that can be done in a short period on world-class built trails. Say the trail name A-Line and it is known around the world in every language. It is the most ridden and imitated trail ever. Nurture because the learning curve is ridiculous in the park! Skills centers, three different and smaller versions that copy A-Line and other machine-built trails. The level of riders and accessibility to riders that you can shred with that will push you when you’re learning. But the bike park is a very controlled environment which makes for fast riders that when taken out of the park struggle to adapt to changing trail conditions especially in a race environment.

James McSkimming's father runs summer time operations for the whole of Whistler. James runs his own one-man stunt show.

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