Posted by: Feet Banks
With Crankworx set to unleash ten days of mountain bike madness on Whistler The Insider asked biking wizard Seb Kemp to compile some "Must Do" lists for bikers unfamiliar with the local scene. This week, Seb tackles the Whistler Mountain Bike Park with some wise words and helpful tips for anyone looking to maximize their gravity-fueled fun.
1. Top Of The World
Only in its second season, the Top of the World alpine trail starts at the very top of Whistler Mountain, links up with the regular Bike Park and eventually deposits riders back in Whistler Village. The ride descends nearly 5,000 feet so it requires some skill but the reward is a fantastic winding sinew of singletrack set among the granite spires of the Coast Range. Bring a pack lunch and stop to admire the view, although you might need a napkin to wipe the dribble from your gaping jaw when you first see the azure blue alpine lakes nestled among the jagged peaks with Black Tusk standing proud like a giant shark fin. The first lift-accessed alpine mountain bike trail in North America does not disappoint.
Top of the World is open 11 AM - 3PM everyday (except August 10-11, 2013 when it’s closed for the Crankworx Enduro). Every rider is required to purchase a one-time Peak Ride ticket ($15) in addition to a regular pass or lift ticket. The Peak Ride ticket is valid for one ride on the day specified and they only sell 150 per day.
2. Lunch on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola
A popular saying in Whistler is, “It’s not what you are going to do, but what you have time to do.” With dozens of world class bike trails and time at a premium it makes sense to double up on activities. Riders desperate to accumulate as much vertical as possible but also take in some extra Coast Mountain scenery may want to grab a take-out lunch, upload on the Whistler Village Gondola with their bikes, and then cruise across the record breaking PEAK 2 PEAK gondola while snacking on their lunch. With epic views and a 22-minute round trip lunch break the gondy ride really is two birds with one stone. Then after marveling at the views from nearly five hundred meters above the Fitzsimmons Creek and being awed at the innovative engineering that makes such a remarkable cable gondola possible, riders grab their bikes and descend back into the Bike Park for more good times.
Access for the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola is included in every Bike Park pass. Bikes can not travel on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola so store them safely and securely at the Roundhouse Lodge before boarding.
3. Get a Lesson
Despite what “they” say (and who are “they” anyhow?) you really can teach old dogs new tricks so take a lesson! The Whistler Bike Park has a team of expert coaches who are trained and willing to assist anybody looking to get a little more from their time in the Park. First-time riders should definitely take advantage of these knowledge-angels because they will help set your bike up correctly, guide you to the best trails for your ability, and give you tutelage that will keep you rubber side down and with a grin on your face.
Even experienced riders can benefit from a little coaching. Whether you’re looking to accomplish something new (like a certain feature in the park), hone your skills, ride faster or jump further, the coaches know how to help you get better. It might just be the best mountain biking investment you’ll ever make.
A-Line is perhaps the most famous bike trail in the world. The first of its kind, it's a jumpy, flowy, roller coaster-esque trail that has spawned a long list of imitators around the world (although few, if any, actually live up to the daddy of modern mountain bike thrills).
Lurking quietly in the shadow of A-Line, however, is B-Line. Whereas the former is rated black-diamond and requires a high level of skill to ride, the latter is much more approachable. B-Line is where technique can really be refined particularly cornering, one of the most fundamental skills— Without the ability to carve a good line and make clean turns no rider can truly progress. So get onto B-Line and practice looking ahead and honing your flow before you throw yourself to the wolves on A-Line.
5. Women’s Nights
Women’s Nights are ladies-only drop-in clinics providing a pressure-free environment for women to get comfortable and progress their riding at their own pace. The coaches of the Whistler Bike Park provide the teaching and after each lesson there is an après session at the legendary Garibaldi Lift Company with a huge draw-prize give-aways. Evening sessions are held 5:30-7:30 PM every Monday and Wednesday through the peak of summer. Show up, meet new people and have fun while progressing from strength to strength.
Women's night costs $20 and riders require a valid bike park pass and bike, both of which can obtained at the base of the park where you purchase the Women’s clinic ticket.
the most importan thing to have in the Bike Park is a thirst for adventure and the willingness to go for it. Crankworx runs August 9-18, 2013 and to make sure everyone has plenty of bike options The Insider will be presenting part two of Seb's top Whistler Biking Must-Do's early next week - stay tuned for "Beyond the Park." In the meantime, check out this Whistler Bike Park Video and get up here.