Whistler Bike Park Review – Family Destination

Pro Reviews

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Introduction:

I am an XC rider. I’ll do small jumps and logs but mostly I like to stay on the ground. But I also enjoy the variety of cycling. I’ll ride an all-mountain bike, singlespeed, 29er, cross bike, road bike and I’ll always have a big grin on my face.

img_7450.jpgI haven’t really delved too much into downhill. About 5-10 years ago, I tried Mammoth, Northstar, Squaw resorts and was just not impressed. It just seemed too fast, dusty and rocky with only the upside of not having to pedal up.

Fast forward a few years and I keep hearing about this place in British Columbia called Whistler Bike Park. Folks started calling it the ‘mecca’ or an ‘awesome place to learn’. Still, I discounted it as just a place for downhillers and dirt jumpers.

Then I saw the Whistler segments in the DVD’s ‘Roam’ and ‘Seasons.’ “Wow, Now we’re talking!” I thought that singletrack actually looked pretty special.

The Trip:

By pure luck, my extended family decided to have a group vacation in Whistler. Who was I to object? If biking happened, bonus. If not, no problem.

Whistler is two and half hours north of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. The road is narrow and slow-going as they are trying to widen the single-lane highway before they host the 2010 Winter Olympics. Whistler features a stunning village/downtown area which is about a quarter-mile long with shops, restaurants, groceries and four Starbucks coffee shops. Some of the finest hotels are represented here and the architecture of each building complements the rest.

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There’s a kids activity park with zip lines, luge carts and fun attractions. Also, the Village hosts at least a dozen adventures like ATV rides, rafting, guided hikes, etc.

The Biking:

It becomes obvious however that the king of all summer activities here is mountain biking. There’s about 10 bike shops in the village that sell and rent a huge selection of bikes and gear.

Outside the Village, there is a paved bike trail that goes for miles and loops around a few lakes in the area. Nearby, there is a fascinating trail system called Lost Lake. It features smooth fire roads as well as manicured singletrack topped with crushed gravel. And intertwined with all these trails in Lost Lake is an intermediate/advanced trail system called the Zappa trails. These trails feature rocks and roots and elevated wooden structures that is sure to challenge and thrill any rider.

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There are also a ton of trails around the area. Trails like ‘Cut yer Bars’, ‘A river runs through it’ and others give the Whistler rider a lot of options.

In the Whistler Village, there is an indoor bike jump park with a foam pit for those super cushy landings. There is also a bmx style jump park on a flat area near the river.

Riding with the family:

I have two small kids and a big family and we had zero bikes and gear. Problem? Not at Whistler. There’s a lot of riding for any level of rider. Eight of us stormed a bike shop at 4pm and we were fully equipped with bikes, trailer-bikes, helmets within thirty minutes. We did the Lost Lake system and the kids had the time of their lives. We did this twice riding from the Village and finished off both rides at Lost Lake which sports a beach/picnic area.

img_7483.jpgWhen we had beginners in the group, like my 70-year old dad, we stuck to the village paved trail and were treated to incredible views at Alta Lake.

With a more experienced group, we did the Zappa trails at Lost Lake. These trails are a series of short, technical and absolutely fun trails all connected together. Each section is named after a song by the great Frank Zappa. I was introduced to elevated wooden ramps here. All the ramps are low, consistent in width and very solid in build. Plus the cedar wood used seemed to have great traction.

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  • Ian says:

    I know Whistler is a great place to ski and ride, no criticism there, but this “review” certainly reads like it was “paid for”.

  • Francois says:

    >>I know Whistler is a great place to ski and ride, no criticism there, but this “review” certainly reads like it was “paid for”.

    Nope, not a dime. I just really liked the place.

    Are you the Ian I met yesterday?

    fc

  • Ian says:

    Then you must be a professional writer! Sorry about my mis-read.

    No we haven’t met, but I live in Vancouver and enjoy Whistler year round.

  • Anonymous says:

    Nice write up. I got my first chance to ride at Whistler 2 summers ago when I went to the IMBA summit up there. I had such a great time that I often wish I could go back again, but living so far away it’s not happened YET. Completely agree with your experience. I grew up racing BMX, but mostly ride XC these days- but as you mentioned- there’s something for every rider in Whistler.

  • Hayes says:

    sounds awesome. I have wanted to ride whistler for years but i live on the opposite side of the country. would you know by any chance if there are any knid of vacation packages offered? ya know, something all inclusive? oh and by the way, your review made me wanna go even more!

  • Artnshel says:

    I agree with the reviewer, Whistler is 5 Stars. I just went to Keystone and it didn’t come close.

  • Dave says:

    I was on my way to Whistler when I read this for the first time. The review is right on target. Whister is epic. Only had 2 days to ride and I am already trying to figure out how soon I can return. The mountain is unmatched and the village atmosphere matches the mountain. Friendliest place I can remember visiting! Great riding, drink and food!

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