I'm planning to go to whistler to bike in the summer. It would be great to hear from some of you who have been there. If you could give me some info about the best ways to get there, transfers, guiding accommodation etc. any information will help! Thanks
Trip to whistler
bearback runs a company there; I"m sure he'll be along shortly.
Guiding is good not (in my opinion) completely necessary. There are good maps and trail descriptions so it's fairly easy to follow your nose. A guide is helpful though for the "if you liked that you'll love this" type conversations... I've not used a guide and occasionally found myself somewhat over my head (easy to do as their definition of a blue run is somewhat different to the average UK definition).
Whistler it's self is good especially for lift assisted stuff but don't discount Squamish and the Island as well. More pedal powered but in someways better (at least in my eyes)
Bikepirate is a Canadian website that has plenty of trail descriptions etc but I don't think he's covered Squamish yet (I think he is working on it though)
We hired bikes from Cross Country Connection. Small company, negotiated a good rate to take XC bikes one day and DH the next as we fancied, took a guide for a morning to get us started and took advice the rest of the time. Loved it!
take spares. bits will fall off your bike and they're expensive to replace.
otherwise it's amazing.
bearback runs a company there; I"m sure he'll be along shortly
Yep, we do it all. We've taken the european chalet ski holiday model and flipped it round for the summer and mountain biking.
So, you basically get yourself to Vancouver International airport and we take care of the rest from there.
Our Whistler Experience package based on a week, includes:
return transfers YVR - Whistler
7 nights accommodation in our 10 bedroom chalet
7 mornings breakfast (6 cooked, 1 continental)
5 nights evening meals
5 mornings guided riding (Bike park partner for DH, Whistler only tenured XC guiding company for the pedalling away from the park)
We've secure workshop/storage, 2 minutes from a superb and swimmable lakeside park, 10minute ride to the DH lifts, 30 minute walk to the village and have XC trails in every direction.
Feel free to check out what we offer, and of course, please dont hesitate to get in touch with any questions you might have.
6 of us did BearBackBiking in 2012. Had hoped to return this summer but it'll have to wait until 15.
We spent the week in the park, each morning with the BBB guide (Mark). Fantastic guide/teacher. He progressed us each day onto more technical challenges. Without the guide I wouldn't have ridden the containers, fade to black, big drops on A Line, GLC & Drop in Clinic. Other guys there were out riding BC stuff around Squamish. We'll be trying that next time.
Chalet is great, food is good, repair facilities excellent, short walk from Whistler Village (quicker on the bike) and you get to swim in the Lake at the end of the day.
We had friends who stayed in the village and they blew their budget in 3 days having to eat out. BBB all the way, you won't regret it.
Jonny, dont spose you do transfers if theres room?
Jonny, dont spose you do transfers if theres room?
Sometimes its tough to co-ordinate as we have to prioritise package arrivals and be as efficient as possible for these arrivals.
If we can, it'd be confirmation at short notice..a week out
If we can, it would still be priced along the lines of a Pacific coach transfer though.
I first went to Whistler in 2005 and every year that I haven't managed to return has felt like an agonising failure. If you ride DH and like it served up hot and nasty there really is nothing else like it. It will ruin all your local trails though and PWD* can last forever.
*post whistler depression
Bear Back is a great location, rode past their chalet many a time on my way to/from Creekside!
I enjoyed the xc stuff but for me the bike park is where it's at. Probably would've enjoyed the xc with a more capable (ie not a downhill) bike though.
If you can get self catered you'll save a load of money, the restaurants are a rip off. Though I did develop a bit of an addiction to the breakfast burritos from that little coffee shop/cafe next to the liqor store (can't remember its name).
*post whistler depression
Suffering since 2012.
Bear back are fantastic! They make everything easy,
My advice, mix up XC with the bike park runs. Take your own bike for everything other than the bike park (unless you're strictly down hilling.
Look up the local trail builders group, they are affiliated with the small bike shop near the main bank (forget the name) and run group rides on evenings, usually early in the week. This will get you group rides for next to no money and often free beer, hook you up with any like minded locals (english folk who work there will be present) and caters for different skill sets with advice from the people who built the trails you ride.
Speak to the guides on bikes touting for business at the main lift, they often sort you a discount card. Pay for the hire + pass there and unless super fit and used to this sort of riding take it easy on back to back day runs.
Fly to Vancouver, stay over the night, hop on the Whistler bus.
Food is expensive, look for accommodation with self catering unless you're loaded.
Either get the bus - it's not far from Vancouver, or hire a car. You can stop at Squarmish via bus and they will take your bike (in a bike bag / small box etc...) I'm not someone who worries about transfers but if times tight you can consider this (see if you're loaded).
If you have more time, i much prefer Vancouver island. A couple of days on the big thrills at the bike park is enough for me.
The OP hasn't said what kind of riding they like to do. If you're a competent DH rider and want to progress your skills there really is nothing better in the world than doing laps in the bike park. You will feel very real improvements in your skill set if that's your motivation. There are trails at every level of ability plus all the jumps and drops you could ever hope to throw yourself off. It's also a great place to ride wheel eating, deep, rooty tech, massive boulders and rock crawls. It really does have everything which is why those lucky enough to live there find enough to keep them entertained season in, season out. And if it rains, it's even better! You get to learn all the trails again in the slop while the majority of people hit the beer.
If you're taking a pedally bike then you're better off exploring outside the park. They do have a different take on XC than here in the UK though. I managed to borrow a bike and head off on a few unguided journeys with just a map and found amazing trails everywhere. No doubt you'd benefit from a guide if you wanted to milk the network for all it was worth but that wasn't really why I was there.
Woah thanks a lot guys! All of that is really great! I will definitely check out bearback and the local trail builders group. Hopefully I'll be able to get out there and have as good of a time as you guys. Thanks!
I'm out from end of July for 6 weeks if anyone wants to play. I know my way around
This thread has made me so depressed.
I can highly recommend BearBack went with them in 08 and am going again this sept with a group that have used them a few times over the last few years and I don't think any of us can recommend them highly enough!
+1 for Bear Back. I went out there maaaany years ago with Pete from WMB and had a great time. Jonny and Mark look after you very well.
Whistler is a fantastic place to ride whatever discipline you prefer too.
So this might get long, but I'll try and keep it as brief as possible...
I went to Whistler in Sept 13 for the first time. To give you an idea of how I ride, I've ridden the Alps a few times, done OK in a few local DH races, plenty of UK uplifts, ride better than some, worse than others but generally pretty fit and can get around on a bike ok. I’ve had a couple of sessions with Jedi and was hitting some of the higher woodwork at Herts.
I didn’t get Whistler at first. It’s like a Disney caricature of an alpine resort and the riding area isn’t huge (geographically like, say the PdS). All the DH stuff is basically accessed off 2 lifts on the side of 1 mountain. Loads more XC etc around but I was genuinely surprised how small the DH area is, although they do cram a lot of trails in there.
We went in Sept to get the fall season pass - basically 3 weeks for about £200, way cheaper than other times of the year and pretty quiet too. Plus you get discounts in loads of places with a season pass. And the weather was great – only lost one full day due to rain in 3 weeks (and a few showery mornings / afternoons) and that was a welcome break! And the trails ride better after rain – they drain quickly and are much tackier and more fun when damp. We also had high 20s / low 30s temps and plenty warm enough to swim in the lakes.
And as for trail maintenance – I spent a week out in the PdS earlier in the summer with a couple of guys who’d ridden whistler before and all I heard was whinging about the breaking bumps in Les Gets and how Whistler was so much better maintained. Well it’s not much different! It was no better or no worse than normal when we were there apparently, and it was comparable to the PdS trails. Although the Whistler trails are much better build in terms of flow, berms etc. there are plenty of breaking bumps in Whistler!!
We had a couple of days on the local XC trails until the fall pass was available. Lost Lake area is about as close as it gets to UK trail centre but loads of techie, rocky little climbs that mean you're pretty stoked to clean them! And they're the family trails We also did A River Runs Through It - well worth hunting out as loads of woodwork of different levels (with chicken runs around everything) and feels like you're properly in the BC forests you see in all the vids. Take mozzie repellent though!
Then we hit the bike park on the DH bikes. It definitely takes a few days to get into the riding over there. I’m generally pretty comfortable on most stuff in the UK, and had done a week in the alps only a month before so was quite happy with my riding. But a couple of mates took me over A Line drop blind on the first afternoon and I lost a lot of confidence (we had words!). They’d ridden it before and knew what was coming but I got a massive fright as I wasn’t expecting it and it took me a couple of days to re-build my confidence and get back up to speed. So build up slowly and get to know your way around before you throw yourself off everything!
I found there to be a big gap between trails like Crank It Up and B Line which are super flowey trails with small tables etc that can easily be overshot if you’re not careful, and the likes of A Line which has massive tables which 90% of people riding can’t clear properly (me included!).
I often found my riding was “between” trails – not good enough for A Line etc but finding B Line etc too easy. Then I discovered the more techy stuff Some of the rock rolls are crazy – totally un-rideable when you first look at them, until you see a 10 year old (or a 70 year old) cruise them! It’s a total leap of faith the first time you stand at the top of Drop In Clinic or Detroit Rock City and edge forward trying to see how steep it is. But once I found my mojo, I loved all that – like nothing you’d get in the UK, but awesome stuff. And Schleyer – that’s some trail, absolutely my favourite trail on the mountain!!
And do the top of the world trail – not that hard but amazing views / location.
I wouldn’t bother with a guide if you’re just riding the bike park or the cross country trails around the town – you’re not allowed out of bounds, and all the trails are well marked and easy to find. Def worth it if you want to get off the beaten track and explore Pemberton or Squamish though.
If you’re riding Lost Lake trails then def worth going over to Green Lake where the float planes take off from – the golf course club house does the most epic nachos ever!!
Getting there we flew with Virgin and took 9 bikes between 5 of us - 1 bike was free, second was about £60 return, but we had to organise a private transfer with Whistler Connections to get us up to town.
Did I enjoy it? Yes, undoubtedly!! One of the best holidays I’ve ever had. Would I go back? Yes… But not for a few years. In 3 weeks, I did a lot of riding and rode the trails extensively that I enjoyed and am capable of riding. I’m nearly 40, my riding isn’t going to get massively better so if I went back I’d generally be riding the same trails I spent 3 weeks riding. And I’d definitely look to get out to Pemberton and Squamish next time…
But was it the magical, nirvana of bike riding? Not for me, but for me the place had been over-hyped by mates before I went, and that probably detracted from it initially.
And you'll start calling people buddy and prefix everything with super...
Gratuitous ass shot from Schleyer trail
And another from Drop In Clinic – way steeper than it looks
Thank you so much! That is all great and sounds pretty perfect for me! Really helpful thank you
Who wants to inflict some mass stw immigration on Canada?
We could all chip in for a boat/ark
Stick me in for 800
Thansk for the kind words above!
I wouldn’t bother with a guide if you’re just riding the bike park
But a couple of mates took me over A Line drop blind on the first afternoon and I lost a lot of confidence (we had words!). They’d ridden it before and knew what was coming but I got a massive fright as I wasn’t expecting it and it took me a couple of days to re-build my confidence and get back up to speed
Guiding 1: Non Guiding 0
Park guiding isn't necesary, but its a great way to give you a safe start and help keep you reigned in for the first few days till you find your feet and help avoid confidence busters and injury.
Most of our guests use DH for the first few days to get orientated and in tune with the park, then pick up other days if they want to get into different terrain with a guided aspect. Some will use it at every opportunity as people tend to get more from having trail descisions made for them or being shown new lines or simply havinga group to ride with.
XC guests use more guiding as while the app is great, its doesnt make any assessment on your ability/needs. Doesn't give you a heads up on features, or just how hard/challenging you, as an individual would find a particular trail.
Guiding with us is effectively a value added service that we offer to help guests get the best riding experience possible.
We're reviewing our guiding for 2014 to make improvements ad ensure it gets delivered as we believe it needs to be.
Basically what we try to do is to make sure that you get the most out of your time on the bike by taking care of the logistics and things that you'd prefer not to have to spend tiem doing (shopping, cooking, route finding, house keeping, finding secure bike storage etc) without significant cost above the DIY options.
However you choose to enjoy Whistler, you'll have a blast. We just try to make it easy!
Ah a-line rock drop costs about $10k per foot if you spanner yourself.
*thats approx 47000
On the plus side the exchange rate is going up up up
The trick is not to drop the drop it's to jump over it. Take off way back and come in low.
DO NOT HANG UP.
the trick is not to have your frame snap in two...
I loved the rock roll stuff in whistler. Remember the first time I did that small one with a tight runout in the bit that comes off b-line (can't remember its name, it takes you toward the start of wednesday night delight and ho chi min I think) which then gave the confidence to try the stuff on lower canadian/whistler DH then built up to drop in clinic Love the log ride at the end of fatcrobat and too tight as well. My riding progressed so much in 2 months. I didn't go with a guide and somehow managed to get away with no crashes and just a few big scares from riding stuff blind!
+1 for this thread is making me depressed
I think my favourite combo of trails was Blue Velvet > Black Velvet > Too Tight > Crank It Up > Hornet > GLC. Either that or Freight Train > Dirt Merchant > A Line > GLC
I rode black velvet when it had just been opened and it was absolutely incredible riding that with no braking bumps or anything, one of the best experiences of my riding life!
Dirt merchant when its just been fixed.... *drooly face*
This thread has made me so depressed.know the feeling!
After falling in love with canada in 2012 when we went there on a family holiday (sadly no cycling though), I have been planning a possible trip to BC sometime in the next few years, with the plan of doing the BC bike race, then having a few days to recover in whistler before going to find a bit of XC stuff on my own! I was thinking about either heading off to squamish or staying in whistler, but talk of vancouver island being the best for XC does sound interesting!
Due to budget constraints I would be roughing it in a tent and self catering and riding alone or looking for local riding groups, unless BearBack can convince me that a guide is needed? I don't really fancy trying much of the downhill stuff so I guess staying in whistler isn't priority by any means, it's just where the BCBR seems to finish, and has easy links back to the airport! Can anyone recommend anywhere on vancouver island for XC - is it pretty good everywhere?
Mad Pierre - Member
After our "trip of a lifetime" 6 years ago we've been back another 3 times! All staying with Bearback and we'll be going back again I hope - sticking to our once very 2 years current average!
It was thanks to MP that we chose BBB. Great advice. Thanks again.
@bearback - What if you're more into Enduro type trails rather than DH stuff? So basically more than XC but less than full-on DH = The EWS course and top of the world trail looked amazing.
Can Whistler cater for that?
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