As the ski season comes to a close, attention turns to mountain biking in Whistler. May 17th marked opening day of Whistler Bike Park – the World’s largest – which is the gem in the crown of an already expansive network of biking trails in the wider Whistler area. We’re sure you’ll want to get involved but if you’re not from the area it can be pretty daunting. Here’s our tips on getting out on two wheels this summer.
Mountain Bike Rentals & Gear
As with any sport, you’ll need the right gear. For most trails, a bike with front and rear suspension is best. Helmets are a must and knee pads are recommended. We also like to ride with biking glasses to keep dust, debris and branches out of our eyes. Some other items that may slip your mind:
- SPF – it gets hot in Whistler with average June/July temperatures hitting the high 20s Celsius.
- Water – Remember to stay hydrated.
- First Aid – Don’t let minor cuts, scrapes or blisters ruin your ride.
- Gloves – Worth considering, for sure. Ensures a good grip.
If you’re new to mountain biking, there are a number of stores in Whistler offering rental gear. For everything mountain biking in Whistler, we recommend Coastal Culture in Creekside. They carry a full fleet of bikes from Santa Cruz and Rocky Mountain. The team will work with you to find the right bike to suit your needs, from cruisy Valley Trail bikes to more advanced downhill machines.
All rental bikes at Coastal Culture include a XC or full-face helmet (depending on your requirements). Additional gear such as padding and gloves are also available to rent.
Cruising on Whistler’s Valley Trail
The Valley Trail is a great introduction to mountain biking in Whistler. At more than 40km and paved, it’s a great way to explore the local area and passes by lakes, rivers and beautiful mountain views. If you’re feeling confident, there are options to go “off-road” onto cross-country trails. Here’s our recommendations:
- From Whistler Village, it’s possible to follow the Valley Trail north into Lost Lake Park. This is a great area to begin making use of the special features of your mountain bike. The Lost Lake Loop is a good place to start. We’d also recommend Tin Pants and Molly Hogan before transitioning into blue trails such as Grand Wazoo and Vimy Ridge. The great thing about Lost Lake is that everything is very user friendly, clearly signposted and lots of fun!
- For more advanced riding, follow the Valley Trail south to Nita Lake Lodge, cross the railway bridge and access the Sproat Mountain trails. Made up of blues, blacks and double blacks, this is not the area to be learning; but rather a great place to progress. Some of our favourite trails include Danimal and Industrial Waste. For the ultimate Whistler mountain biking experience, follow Into The Mystic up to On The Rocks and ride the infamous Lord Of The Squirrels. This is definitely a test of endurance but absolutely worth the slog!
Whistler Bike Park
If you’re keen to tick Whistler Bike Park off your bucket list (and rightly so!) we recommend an early start. Day passes can be purchased in advance from the Whistler Blackcomb website and also from WB Guest Services in Whistler Village and Whistler Creekside. A great option for newbies may be the Sampler pass – it gives riders 3 laps of Whistler Bike Park with an option to upgrade to a full day if you’re having fun!
If you’re undecided about your Whistler mountain bike plans, let us tell you about why you need to experience Whistler Bike Park. First off, being able to load your bike onto a chairlift or gondola is a god send! It allows you to access incredible trails at amazing elevations without burning all of your energy.
Don’t be daunted at the prospect of ascending the mountain to ride. Here’s how we would break down the bike park according to experience:
Lovingly known as the original Bike Park, the Fitzsimmons Zone is the place to head for your first time. Trails here cover all riding abilities and experience levels. We’d recommend riding the Fitzsimmons Express chair and embarking on Upper EZ Does It to get a feel for things.
Geared towards intermediate to advanced riders, The Garbanzo Zone was opened in 2004 and added a further 2,700 feet of new vertical to the mix. Personal favourites here include Una Moss and Blue Velvet.
The Peak and Creekside Zones
Also for the more advanced rider, these zones are limited to blues and blacks with lots of technical features thrown in for good measure. These trails can be accessed by the Whistler Village Gondola and Creekside Gondola.
To plan your day, we recommend grabbing a trail map from Guest Services. The layout is really useful – especially for bike park newbies. It includes a mountain orientation to help you get to grips with trails and features. It also features a Trail Progression Chart, which recommends your next trail taking the guess work out of planning your route.
Great Places To Grab a Drink Afterwards
A great way to round off your day mountain biking in Whistler is to hit one of our many awesome patios. The base of Whistler Mountain is definitely where most of the action happens. Think après but with more mud. Check out Longhorn’s Saloon and Grill for cheap drinks and pumping beats or Garibaldi Lift Co. for a birds-eye view of the action.
If you’re looking to break away from the louder party scene, we recommend downloading/biking out to Whistler Creekside. Here you’ll find a much more mellow pace with a slopeside patio at Dusty’s and a lakeside patio at Cure Lounge. Both great options for those riding Sproatt Mountain trails too!
Don’t Miss Mountain Biking In Whistler
We’re sure you’re going to love mountain biking in Whistler. For those new to mountain sports, the infrastructure is next level and the opportunity for adventure is unlimited. Whether you’re hoping for an exciting rip through lush forest or alpine laps with incredible mountain views, Whistler has a mountain bike trail for you.
We’d say the key to an enjoyable experience is to be prepared and to plan your route in advance. For information about trail status, recommended rides, directions and tracking, we like to use the Trailforks app, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play by clicking here.
Looking to discover Whistler’s trails in an alternative way? How about trail running? You’ll find varying terrain to challenge your workout and endless scenery along the way. Check out our Guide To Trail Running In Whistler.