Youth spruce up Mount Sima to welcome mountain bikes

18 young people are working to transform the ski and snowboard hill into a destination for mountain biking.

Chairlift in Whitehorse will carry bikes uphill, cyclists can ride new trails down

Rylee Fraser from Teslin holds up a tree stump after wrenching it free. '"It's going to be nice. I like outdoor stuff so it's good work for me," he said of working on the trails. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Young people from across Yukon and northern B.C., are working at Mount Sima in Whitehorse this week, making the hill more welcoming to mountain bikes.

During the day, 18 young people — who have been staying at Mount Sima in tents — have been cutting brush, redirecting existing trails and preparing the landscape for mountain bikes. 

Jesse Mayer, from Carmacks, Yukon, is among those working with axes, shovels and other hand tools this week. 

"We wanted to reroute the trails to make them less steep and more safe for mountain bikers," he said. 

Jesse Mayer, left, and Dominic Smith-Johns, right, work on redirecting a trail so the angle is friendlier to bicycles. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

It's not an easy job, but the trail builders say they're proud of what they've been building. 

"The bug dope doesn't work that well but you do what you gotta do. It's fun, it's worthwhile and the experience is amazing," Mayer said. 

Some of this week's work has included heavy lifting such as taking out tree stumps, while other work has been more delicate like trimming branches so mountain bikers don't poke their eyes out. 

Eighteen young people have been staying on the mountain this week as crews have come in from Dawson City, Carcross, Whitehorse and Atlin B.C. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Rylee Fraser from Tagish, Yukon, is working at Mount Sima this week and will next work in Carcross, maintaining trails on Montana Mountain

"It's going to be nice. I like outdoor stuff so it's good work for me," he said.

Chair lift will carry bikes

This is the latest project for Singletrack to Success, which has already built some well-known trails in Carcross, Yukon. They're joining other youth groups at Mount Sima: The Youth Achievement Centre and BYTE Yukon from Whitehorse and the B.C. Aboriginal Mountain Bike Project from Atlin, B.C. 

The improvements could mean more business during the summer for the ski and snowboard hill.

Why pedal uphill? Mount Sima's chairlift is being modified to carry bikes. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

One advantage is that Mount Sima already has a chairlift.

New benches will allow bicycles to be carried uphill so that people can enjoy biking down the trails. 

The ski and snowboard hill has yet to announce when the trails will be open to the public or when the new bike lift will be in use.