The Idiot's Guide To Whistler

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Idiot's Guide to Whistler-40

Whistler. The name conjures up images even if you have never visited. It is probably the most widely known brand name in all of mountain biking, but what do we really know about the place?

From Dirt Issue 112 – June 2011

Words by Seb Kemp. Photos by Mattias Fredriksson.

What follows is a short how–to on visiting Whistler. Please excuse me if there is information missing that you think should be included. As is the case with Whistler itself, it’s not a case of what you can do, but what you don’t have time for (or space).

THE TWO WAYS

There are two ways to ‘do’ Whistler; you can scrimp and save for a short holiday, or you can jack it all in and do a season. If you choose the first route then I recommend at least ten days, perhaps two weeks, in order to add in travel time to and from, to get over possible jet lag, find your riding feet, explore the trails without time pressure, really start making the most of it and progressing your riding safely and efficiently.

Groupaction in Whistler, Canada. Photographed in August 2009.You have the choice of whether to stay with a guiding company or to go it alone. To me there is absolutely only one sensible answer to this: go with a company. They will pick you up from the airport, house you in an amazing lodge with secure bike lock up, tool racks, hot tubs, rooms cleaned daily, laundry facilities, have locally knowledgeable guides who can either help you find your feet on the demanding trails of Whistler or find the best riding for you personally, plus they will provide breakfast and dinner! It’s a no brainer. Going with a company may seem expensive and you may think you can do better on your own, but trust me, Whistler is a very expensive place and all these above things will rapidly burn through your holiday allowance if you attempt it alone. Plus they save you from all the tedious chores so you have more time on the bike.

Bear Back Biking (www.bearbackbiking.com) is one company I could recommend based on their experience, friendliness, professionalism and the fact they are the only company of this kind that are legally tenured by the government to operate in the region. Their rates start at £385 per week based on two sharing an en suite room. Consider that even a moderate hotel will cost in the region of £75 per night and that includes none of the added features I mentioned above, especially food, which will bankrupt anyone who can not survive off nuts alone. Check out www.whistler.com for deals and further information.

If you go the second way then life is a little simpler. Things like cleaning yourself and eating will be less important than pounding laps, miles and Surrey girls. You will survive off dust from the trails and the carbs in beer. You have all season to find the trails so you don’t need a guide, until of course you get to the last few weeks of your season and you realize that for months all you have done is half–cut laps on Crank It Up and B–Line rather than exploring what is out there. A life of simple pleasures awaits, sort of… >>

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