Dreaming on the “Top Of The World”
Everyone has the potential to experience at least seven dreams a night. That’s seven opportunities each and every day to connect with yourself on a subconscious level. Seven chances to learn about, and perhaps transcend, who you are.
A friend mentioned she had found a way to gain control over her dreams, to manipulate her “imaginary” experiences while asleep. Apparently she was dreaming about being a painter. In the dream she focused on her hands, on the brush slowly moving up and down. According to her, that triggered a sense of awareness in the moment and allowed her to “take hold” of the rest of the dream, co-creating on a conscious level all the experiences she desired. I decided to try it. Reminding myself that night as I lay in bed to “look at my hands…”
Several hours pass as I lay there focusing on trying to fall asleep. Then several more. When slumber finally finds me it is too-quickly shattered by the sounds of the morning world. I’ve barely slept a wink… may as well go biking then.
Whistler Village—so many bikes. Beautiful, shiny bikes everywhere and the people beside them all smiling like lottery winners. Our home sees about 15,000 two-wheeled visitors each summer, many of them here experiencing their own dreams firsthand. With every grinning rider coming out of the bike park I begin to forget my restless night of failure.
Sitting in front of the Village Gondola, sipping perhaps the world’s greatest caramel latte, I am approached by a man with a golden ticket – a single-use Peak Chair ride to the “Top of the World.” The man explains this $15-upgrade from the regular bike park pass is mine free if I will join him and few select others on what he assures me is, “the ride of a lifetime.”
You don’t need a full night’s sleep to recognize the value in that. The spirit of adventure flows through the Whistler valley like the weather. I’m in.
I’m also the only woman in our group of 8 lucky winners, and the sleepiest. We ride a white unicorn (or is it the Village gondola?) on a 4,931ft ascent into clouds punctuated with dazzling mountain peaks. We point out wildflowers and bear cubs below, the views so amazing it’s hard to believe they’re real, even while riding a unicorn.
We unload then climb higher still, our bikes strapped to the seatbacks of the Peak Chair. “The Top of the World is a place for people to experience something unique”, the man explains, “A place where the only limitations are those we place on ourselves.
Ascending, the greens of summer give way to the sun-cupped starkness of giant white snowfields as a brisk alpine breeze sweeps off the summit. The entrance to the Top of the World bike trail is gated by large drifts of snow. Mist and cloud swirl around us, shrouding everything but path ahead. I peer over my handlebars, notice that I am looking at my hands, and everything clicks. “Dropping.”
The 5,614 foot descent of the Top of the World begins by meandering through fields of large volcanic boulders. In the winter, this snowy patch is known as “The Cakehole” although on a bike the technicality of it feels nothing like a cakewalk. Surging endorphins swirl my senses like a sugar rush as I dream-ride through the Double Black Diamond-rated terrain. The Cakehole… I sooth my nerves by imagining each boulder frosted with dollops of icing and sugar spinkles. Aren’t Black Diamonds a girl’s best friend?
After the rocks, we ride into flow-y chocolate-like single track of “hero dirt” with plenty of space to let ‘er rip a bit. Magically on cue, the sun pushes through the clouds, illuminating a dreamy palette of coloured wildflowers peeking up through the heavy rocks. It feels like a far-off European landscape I ‘ve only ever seen in childhood movies like The Sound of Music. I feel the urge to yodel from the mountaintops. That has always been a dream of mine. Why not?
We continue past bubbling streams, cake-batter mud and rocky roads weaving in and out of trees. The landscape so familiar under a blanket of snow is now so exposed and stripped raw, so new. Gazing over the bars I feel myself falling in love with the Whistler alpine again, from a new and totally different perspective.
Realizations fly at me with each berm and perfectly sculpted corner. In total control but moving so quickly I truly understand just how amazing the Whistler Blackcomb Bike ParkMaintenance Crew really is. They’re dreamers but they also make dreams come true every day, their own, their guests’, the mountain’s. After a 17.16 kilometer descent of almost too-good-to-be-real riding I arrive at the GLC in a pleasant daze. The sugary adrenaline of the day mixes with sleep deprivation to give the world a gauzy, floating sensation. What just happened? Did i really luck into test-riding North America’s first lift-accessed single track bike trail?
I continue riding. Home, to bed, to sleep beside my dog, to dream. I forget about trying to control anything, my hands tucked comfortably under the pillow. We all have the potential to experience at least seven dreams a night. But in Whistler we can experience them all day as well.
Sterling Lorence Photo
Check out this “Top of the World Trail” video from Whistler Blackcomb.