Pinkbike Moving To Squamish

This article was published in The Chief on April 2, 2014.

"The world’s top source of mountain bike news is moving to town. And the company’s chief executive officer hopes it’s just the start of a migration that could shape Squamish’s future.

By the end of the year, plans to transfer its head office from Chilliwack to Squamish. The international website showcases more than 10 million photos, 400,000 videos and an endless array of equipment for sale. It boasts the greatest amount of mountain bike content on the Internet, with approximately 120 million page views per month.

In three years, the company has grown from four staff to 15, with the core group relocating to Squamish, Karl Burkat said.

“We are constantly growing,” he said.

The company has eyed Squamish for some time, Burkat said. Squamish has an amazing trail system and is close to Whistler’s and the North Shore’s bike networks, he noted, adding that in 2015, the Sea to Sky Gondola is set to open up new mountain biking terrain.

The proposed indoor mountain bike park in Solterra’s 20-acre project at the Squamish Business Park is another anchor for business, Burkat added.

Squamish is setting itself up to seize recreation technology industries, he noted. Securing the first cluster of businesses might be tricky, but once they’re in place, the rest will follow, Burkat said.

“Hopefully we can work to attract more businesses,” he said.

While California has Silicon Valley, the closest thing to a rec-tech hub is Vancouver, Burkat said. Squamish officials need to focus on smaller brands starting out, rather than established companies, he said, noting logistically it is more difficult for the big-name companies to move.

This week, the proponent of Squamish’s proposed indoor mountain bike centre was sitting down with some potentially “big” partners.

“If we get the right parties [involved] we could get building this summer,” said Scott Jewett, District 99 founder.

The facility would have a little bit of everything, from tracks for young children with push-bikes to a foam pit for jumping practice. It will host camp programs, targeting Whistler and North Vancouver, Jewett said.

Within the facility, Jewett plans to have four converted container offices that would provide field spaces for potential partners. Those companies could also offer programs that use the bike centre and the adjoining space for product launches, he said. Jewett is currently negotiating with a bike component business, an apparel company and a shuttle service.

“There could be athlete programs to test new products,” Jewett said.

Squamish is building on its rec-tech base, said Lauren Watson, who plans to open a climbing gym in Squamish in the fall of 2015. A few North American communities of a similar size have successful climbing gyms, she noted. Canada is playing catch-up when it comes to such facilities, Watson said.

“The sport is growing rapidly,” she said. “Over 1,000 people in the [United] States start climbing every year.”

Watson and her partners are currently in talks with a climbing equipment manufacturer. If successful, the company would relocate to Squamish and use the gym as a part of its research and development.

“We need to be appealing as a place to live,” Watson said. “Right now there is very few things to do after 6 p.m.”

While all of the plans are quite preliminary, the businesses could become drivers in Squamish’s economy, District of Squamish Coun. Ron Sander said. Solterra’s proposal, on the corner of Queens and Commercial ways, will require a zoning amendment. Council will look at the project holistically, he said. The area is designated for “employment lands,” so officials will examine the job numbers proposed uses provide, he said. 

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Squamish Today:


The Squamish (or Sḵwxwú7mesh in the Squamish language) is the name of the aboriginal people who have inhabited this part of southwest BC (including North and West Vancouver, Howe Sound, Whistler, the areas surrounding the tributaries entering Howe Sound) since time immemorial. Squamish is the English pronunciation of Skwxwú7mesh, the traditionalautonym for the people. The name Keh Kait was the traditional name for the site of downtown Squamish.


The Skxwxu7mesh territory comprises 6,732 km2. The largest village of the Sḵwxwú7mesh in the Squamish area is Chiyakmesh, which is in the area of Brackendale and is the namesake of the Cheakamus River. Another main village is located near the south entrance of town, St'a7mes, which lies below the Stawamus Chief, which gets its name from that village. Though within municipal boundaries, residents of these Indian Reserves are not governed by the municipality but are members of the Squamish Nation. It also includes villages in North Vancouver and a number of other reserves at Gibsons and elsewhere in the general region.


What Makes Squamish Special:


Squamish is known as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada. Attractions include the Stawamus Chief, a huge cliff-faced granite massiffavoured by rock climbers. As well as over 300 climbing routes on the Chief proper, a majority of which require traditional climbing protection, there are steep hiking trails around the back to access the three peaks that make up the massif, all giving great views of Howe Sound and the surrounding Coast Mountains. In all, between Shannon FallsMurrin Park, The Malamute, and the Little Smoke Bluffs, there are well over 1200 rock-climbing routes in the Squamish area (and another 300 or so climbs north of Squamish on the road to Whistler). In recent years, Squamish has also become a major destination for bouldering, with over 2500 problems described in the local guidebook.


Another activity for which Squamish is well known is mountain biking, with over 600 trails suitable to all riders that can ride ultra-steep trails with huge gaps and steep rock surrounding the town. One of the more famous events supported by the Mountain Biking Community is the Test of Metal, a 67-kilometre, cross-country, mountain-bike race held annually in late June. Limited to 800 riders, the 2007 race sold out in under an hour.


Kiteboarding and windsurfing are popular water sports in Squamish during the summer. Predictable wind on warm sunny days makes theSquamish Spit the top kiteboarding location in western Canada.


Squamish's extensive quality trail system is a key feature of an annual 50 mile ultra trail run, the Arc'teryx Squamish 50. Solo runners and relay teams run on many of the same trails as the Test of Metal, and pass through Alice Lake Provincial Park and Quest University. "The Double" is an award offered annually to the participant with the fastest combined time for both the Test of Metal and Arc'teryx Squamish 50.


Other tourist attractions in Squamish include Shannon Falls waterfall; river-rafting on the Elaho and Squamish rivers; wind surfing and kite surfing at the mouth of the Squamish River; snowmobiling on nearby Brohm Ridge; and bald eagle viewing in the community of Brackendale, which has one of North America's largest populations of bald eagles. Squamish is also a popular destination among Greater Vancouver hikers, mountaineers and backcountry skiers, who visit the large provincial parks in the surrounding Coast Mountains.


For more information, please visit: Squamish Tourism