Exciting, adrenaline-inducing, and heart-stopping – these are probably the best phrases to describe Whistler Bike Park.
The park situated on the slopes of Whistler Mountain, a mountain known for its ski resorts during winter.
To get to the Whistler Bike Park, you have to take a 2-hour drive from Vancouver, British Columbia or a 2.5-hour drive from the US-Canada border near Bellingham.
But why is Whistler Bike Park considered as the number one mountain biking spot in the country and every mountain biker’s ideal trail?
WHY IS THE WHISTLER BIKE PARK SO POPULAR WITH MOUNTAIN BIKERS?
Most of the trails on the park are designed for ski runs, and if ski runs are known for anything, it’s their sheer steepness. These steep trails attract thousands of thrill-hungry mountain bikers from all around the world.
On top of this, Whistler Bike Park is also one of the highest bike parks in the world – it has a base elevation of 2,140 feet and a summit elevation of about 7,500 feet. This explains why the bike park is lift-serviced.
And if you think it’s only visitors who’ve got skills, then prepare to be shocked by the locals. The biking culture around the Whistler Bike Park is deep-rooted and you’ll be surprised by the extreme mountain biking skills many local bikers have.
The park’s general environment is peaceful and tranquil – most probably because it sits on a region rich in vegetation and wildlife. Majestic trees towering dozens of feet are in dense concentrations all over the park, and provide homes to a wide range of birds, which will cheer you up with their incessant chirping as you speed down the slopes.
If you are lucky, you can spot the occasional mountain bears on some sections of the park (best not go near them, they are surprisingly fast).
TYPES OF TRAILS AT WHISTLER BIKE PARK
There are a total of 57 trails at Whistler Mountain Bike Park, which are categorized according to the biking skill-level they are most suited for.
For beginner (or amateur) mountain bikers, the park has set aside 5 trails, all of which are paved and have an almost straight path. The park also has 20 trails for bikers at the intermediate skill level and 18 trails for mountain bikers with advanced skills. 14 trails are set aside for the professional or expert-level mountain bikers, and they are full of all sorts of challenges – from rough terrain to steep paths.
And let’s not to forget the A-Line trail, which is arguably the best-known mountain bike trail in the country. Biking along this trail (which features an unprecedented 1,200-foot vertical drop) will leave you feeling like you are falling into eternity.
The entire 4,900-vertical drop down the Whistler Mountain is made up of three distinct biking zones – the Peak, the Fitzsimmons, and the Garbanzo.
THE BEST SPOTS FOR PRIVATE MOUNTAIN BIKING
Despite its great popularity, the park is not as crowded as you might think.
Sure, there are times of the year when mountain bikers around the world visit the park in their thousands, but this shouldn’t discourage you if you’re interested in a more private mountain biking experience.
Most of the highly skilled mountain bikers prefer the lower sections of the mountain, giving the upper part of the mountain a wide berth. However, you should be warned that even the easier routes in the park are considerably challenging and even dangerous.
EPIC MOUNTAIN BIKING EVENTS
As Canada’s (and North America’s) premier mountain biking destination, it goes without saying that Whistler Bike Park hosts some of the most adrenaline-filled, high-octane mountain biking events.
The biggest event of the year is usually the Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival, the world’s best mountain biking event.
At the Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival, all the best mountain bikers in the world come together to compete for bragging rights and trophies. Speed, agility, and all-round awesomeness come into play as the professional mountain bikers perform gravity-defying stunts ranging from unbelievable vertical-drops to intense backflips.
Moreover, mountain biking isn’t the only activity at the 10-day festival. You can also expect to be entertained by some amazing live performances as you indulge in delicious food and drinks with friends.
FUTURE OF THE WHISTLER BIKE PARK
Being the world’s best mountain biking destination doesn’t allow the Whistler Bike Park’s management to settle for mediocrity – they are always on a perpetual quest for improving the park’s facilities. Just recently, engineers added a brand new table-top on the A-Line trail for huge bike jumps.
The park is also undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion that will see 31 miles of trails being added to the existing network. This will effectively double the size of the park.