*For the 2019 summer there will be no lift access above the Mile 1 Express to access the Hopeful Trails. The Champagne chairlift will not be running.
Panorama’s new summit experience will blow adventure minded riders away this summer. Hopeful Trail off the summit of Panorama has been the stuff of legend for many years now. Until very recently it was the stomping grounds of only the most determined riders willing to expend their own steam to ascend 4000’ feet of steep fire roads to access the goods. This summer Panorama will be running the Champagne Chair to get riders within 1000’ vertical feet of riding nirvana. A new climbing up track at grades averaging between 5 and 8% will take the sting out of the final climb to Outback Ridge or to the summit proper and ultimately to the start of the Hopeful Experience.
The summit uptrack has just been completed. Riders may find the surface a little soft and momentum robbing but this will improve as summer goes on. The grade is shallow allowing for a respectful trade off with the loamy newness.
Once you reach the summit of Panorama and take in the breathtaking views of the Columbia Valley, the Rocky Mountains and the Purcells you will quickly forget any inconvenience the short climb from the top of the chair may have caused. From there you will head out along Outback Ridge for 1.5km. At the end of the ridge you will start the single-track proper and work your way across rolling side-hills eventually descending to Goldie Junction. From this junction, the trail offers 3 distinct options.
This is not a trail but we recommend you take 5 minutes and walk in and relax on the shores of this hidden Alpine Lake.
Autumn hues at Goldie Lake. (Photo credit - Steph Malette)
(2.5km with 245m elevation loss)
This is the original Hopeful Trail that prospectors used and will take you out to the McKay Cabins. If you choose this option you will need to be prepared to face the challenge of several hike-a-bikes and the crossing of loose off camber scree slopes. Those brave enough to tackle this full-pull adventure will be rewarded with the most impressive views of the entire trail system and the piece de resistance – the longest, flowiest descent imaginable. Make sure to stop and explore the cabins before starting the descent in earnest.
Matt Hunter and Matty Miles at the McKay Cabins. (Photo credit - Harookz)
(1.6km with 250m of elevation loss)
Not into hike-a-biking? Then then this brand-new hand built trail is the way forward. Plunging immediately down and into the forest this trail sweeps down the natural contours of the mountain on its way to meet the original Hopeful Trail. This too is a black rated descent.
(6.7km with 950m of elevation loss)
Both McKay and GLD intersect with Hopeful. The trail offers a smooth but narrow trail tread. While not technically challenging the remoteness, high speeds (the are extended areas where you feel like you are making the jump to light speed with Han Solo), narrowness, side-hill exposure, surprise steeps and corners make this a black trail. You need to be a solid bike handler and be self-sufficient in terms of mechanical breakdowns, weather changes, and injury management if you intend to tackle this ride.
Matt Hunter and Matty Miles wind their way down the flowy forrested Hopeful Trail. (Photo credit - Harookz)
A new descending egress trail has just been completed. There is still some great trail to go on Hopeful when you reach this junction but it will require a short climb back to the bike park. If you are in the mind of cold beverage then head down the T-Bar Express towards Mercy Me. No climbing necessary.
By the Numbers
From the summit, the total potential ride distance is 11.7km while dropping a staggering 1218m. Times will vary based on your experience, pace, and choice of route. It can be as short as 1hr and 15 minutes for mutant hammerheads and up to 4 hrs. for those of us who may want to stop and smell the alpine flowers.
The experience begins on the July 1st weekend. For $55 riders will have the privileges of 2 trips to the top pf the Champagne to access several routes down. A $20 bike park upgrade is also available if you want to get in a few more laps. There are more options coming.