All-Time Riding: Fall-Time Crowds

Two mountain bikers enjoy the trails in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

All-Time Riding: Fall-Time Crowds

Late summer and early fall mean fewer crowds, moderate temps and superhero, tacky dirt – it’s a great time of year to hit the trails.

Even though mountain biking looks a little different this season, Whistler’s vast and varied terrain beckons those looking to explore on two wheels. With over 300 kilometres of trails cascading through the valley, including those in the No. 1 mountain bike park in the world, there’s no shortage of riding for all levels, from beginner to expert.

A mountain biker comes down a root laden trail in Whistler's lush forest.

Roots, rocks and trees. It’s lush riding on Whistler’s trails. PHOTO OLLIE JONES

Naturally a physical-distancing appropriate sport, mountain biking gets you out into nature and your heart pumping. Although the trails remain the same, there are enhanced safety protocols in place so that you can ride with confidence. 

Read on to find out how you can stay in the know and prepare for your mountain biking trip to Whistler this summer and fall.

Whistler Mountain Bike Park Experience

The Whistler Mountain Bike Park has been open since the spring, with workers busy improving existing trails and building new ones. Riders will find their favourite trails, such as B-Line, A-Line and Easy Does It, in amazing condition.

Uploading is via Whistler Village Gondola, Fitzsimmons Express and Creekside Gondola. The park is made up of four zones; Fitzsimmons Zone, Garbanzo Zone and Creek Zone are all open, but Peak Zone, including the Top of the World trail, will not be opening for the 2020 season.

In addition to the classics, Creek Zone has seen some new trails added to its existing network this year, so make sure to venture in that direction before the Creekside Gondola reduced to weekends only on September 8, 2020 (note that the rest of the bike park is open daily until October 12, 2020). 

Two mountain bikers enjoy the trails in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

No. 1 in the world – Whistler Mountain Bike Park. PHOTO HAILEY ELISE

To ensure safety for guests and staff, Whistler Blackcomb has made face coverings mandatory in lineups, when loading and unloading chairlifts and gondolas, inside their indoor resort facilities and whenever it’s not possible to maintain a six-foot distance from others outside your bubble. You’re not required to wear a face covering while you’re riding, but make sure to keep it handy.

Although Whistler Blackcomb has reduced programming this season, they’re offering daily private lessons for groups of up to five friends or family members twice a day. To book, call 1-800-766-0449. For more information on Whistler Blackcomb operations read Know Before You Go: Sightseeing and Biking on Whistler Blackcomb.

INSIDER TIP: A-Line has had some love from the trail fairies. You will find new lips on the take-offs, buff corners and a new entry into the trail.

Whistler Cross-Country Mountain Biking

Two mountain bike riders come down a steep rock face in Whistler.

Rock rolls galore on Whistler’s blue and black trails. PHOTO HAILEY ELISE

If you’re ready to pedal, there are multiple trail networks waiting to be explored outside of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. From the Lost Lake trails (good for beginner to intermediate riders), located right by Whistler Village, to the classic Westside cluster, and the lesser-known Whistler South section (for intermediate to advanced). Avid mountain bikers could spend weeks trying to get to them all (and do). Trailforks is a good website to navigate all these amazingly named trails. 

INSIDER TIP: A challenging blue and woodwork-full favourite among locals is Pinocchio’s Furniture at Lost Lake. Intermediate and expert riders should check out AC/DC, Beaver Pass, the rebuilt Cheap Thrills and the new Chipmunk Rebellion trail, all in the Westside section.

Bike Shop Rental Experience

Whether you’re new to mountain biking, travelling light, or want to test run something new, you can rent all the gear you need in Whistler. Whistler’s bike shops can kit you out with rental gear from head to toe including helmets, pads, gloves and a range of bikes, from e-bikes and cruisers, to all-mountain, cross-country and downhill.

Check Whistler’s Doors Open Directory for each store’s individual COVID-19 protocols, but expect physical distance markers, hand sanitizer and mask wearing. To make sure that the rental products are safe to use, bikes are thoroughly cleaned after each use and all gear is washed and disinfected.

INSIDER TIP: It’s also good to note that if you’re heading to the Whistler Mountain Bike Park it can take quite the toll on your ride, so renting might be the better way to go even if you have your own gear.

Trail Etiquette

A mountain bikers examines a trail map at Lost Lake Park in Whistler.

There are physical maps on some of the trail networks, but you can also use the Trailforks website/app or visit a bike shop and speak to the locals to help you plan your route. PHOTO OLLIE JONES

Along with physical distancing, trail users are reminded to play within their limits, plan their route, ride with those in their social bubble, share the trail with other users (leave room for passing and at trail junctions) and pack out what they pack in. Also, to avoid crowding in parking lots, ride to the trails whenever possible. 

INSIDER TIP: Don’t forget, you’re sharing the trails with local wildlife. This means being bear smart and remembering that the local fauna prefers to socially distance at all times!

These Trails Don’t Build Themselves

We hate to break it to you, but there’s no such thing as a trail fairy; Whistler’s mountain bike trails didn’t magically appear. In fact, hundreds of hours go into building and maintaining the trails each year. You can support by donating, becoming a member and joining a volunteer trail-building night. Get the latest trail updates, know the riding code and connect with the biking community over at Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA).

Late summer and fall months are a great time to experience riding in Whistler. Fewer people, tacky trails and cooler temps – need I say more? See you on the trails!

Whistler.com has a Stay and Bike Park Package that includes two nights accommodation for two adults plus two adult full-day bike park passes, with rates starting at $103 per person, per night for arrivals from now until October 12, 2020. If you’re a BC resident, sign up to become a Whistler Rewards member (it’s free) for more specials and savings. 

If you have any questions, the Ask Whistler Live Chat Service is available seven days a week from 8 AM to 9 PM PST via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS and phone. Whistler.com also has a COVID information page for the latest updates and health advisories for Whistler.

Hailey Elise

Hailey Elise

Hailey came to Whistler for a season and never left. Now, the local community, world-class mountain biking, and endless adventures are what keep her feet firmly planted in the mountains. When Hailey isn't writing, she can be found on a trail, photographing other athletes in action or working freelance as a digital strategist and content developer. Hailey's favourite mountain bike trail is Hey Bud on Blackcomb.

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