Canadian Cycling Magazine

Fifty-six Twenty

- by Cassidy Randall

15 km of newly minted, machinebui­lt flow in Revelstoke

While Revelstoke has been a hot spot on the ski circuit for years, the mountain town has stayed relatively off the radar for mountain biking, even though the surroundin­g ranges are home to some of the most beautiful alpine trails in B.C. Until recently, that list of alpine trails didn’t include the sublime summer terrain above Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s (rmr) treeline. Various bike trails have been built on the mountain during the past decade (not all of them sanctioned). But in the tradition of the ambitious human-powered ethos at the base of local Revelstoke culture, none were

lift-serviced. All required climbing to access, most up burly black or double black diamond descents aptly christened with gnarly names, such as Crowbar or Pipe Wrench. The solitary blue descent on the map, Big Easy, fit in despite its chill name because it required riders to head up the most puke-worthy climb trail to access.

On July 26, rmr opened Fifty-six Twenty, a new gondola-served mountain bike trail. Named for the amount of vertical from the top, the trail is 5,620 feet of machine-built flow unlike anything most riders have ever experience­d. This isn’t to say that it’s easy access. Although riders can take the gondola most of the way up, in typical Revelstoke style, getting to the top of Fifty-six Twenty still requires pedalling 7 km up 518 m into the alpine. The climb through wildflower­s is well graded, though, with incredible views of the Columbia River meandering below and peaks of the Monashees with their glaciers across the valley. At the top of the climb, riders are rewarded with rmr’s singular skyline view defined by Cartier and Ghost peaks.

And then it’s all about the well-earned descent – 15 km of it to be exact. With berms and jumps for what feels like days, it’s the longest flow trail in B.C. – maybe the world, but that has yet to be confirmed definitive­ly. Regardless, while you’re flying down the trail, the never-ending descent definitely feels like the longest stretch of pure fun anywhere on the planet.

“With berms and jumps for what feels like days, it’s the longest trail of its kind in B.C. Maybe the world.”

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