Whistler Bike Park 5/19/12
19 May, 2012
Last summer I got hooked on downhill mountain biking and began my progression into something new. Maybe it was the adrenaline, heart-pumping fun that came with it but I loved riding in the dirt and craving to ride better. As winter was winding down, I started dreaming about the trails in the Northwest most specifically if I could handle Whistler Bike Park. With the Whistler Bike Park opening this weekend, it was an easy decision to head north across the border to rip up the trails with friends.
I drove up to Whistler on Friday night so I could attend the “Strength in Numbers” bike film premiere in Whistler with my friend Carrie. It was the first time I’ve come to Whistler without snowboard gear; I wanted this weekend to be devoted to mountain biking and getting back onto the trails.
Today ended up being a girls ride day. I joined up with Carrie (an old friend from snowboard.com days) and her friends, Janet and Evelyn. We took lap after lap from noon to closing. It’s pretty rare to have an all girls crew but the more I hear about Whistler, the more I realize how much opportunity there is for female riders here. Whistler holds women’s nights for female mountain bikers to progress their skills and from the sounds of it, it actually works and lets women get more into mountain biking without the fear involved.
Carrie and myself at the top of Bike Park.
The first lap was eye-opening. I had only ridden Mammoth Bike Park where the trails are really loose, gravelly and always moving beneath your bike. It was a new experience to have really tacky, hardpacked, muddy, wet dirt that grips the wheels and really lets you rip out of each turn. With a total of 23 trails, we ended up riding 9 trails for the day with a mixture of berms, rocks, drops, jumps and bridges. My bike jumping skills are mediocre (that’s on my list of to-learn this summer) but I was able to ride over most of the jumps. By the end of the day, I rode over the death root on the Ho Chi Min trail and started working on more technical riding (still a long ways to go). Overall, it was great to keep up with the girls who ride Bike Park and get feedback on my own riding.
Each lap, we had a nice break to regroup in the lift line. The chair was busy most of the day with mountain bikers waiting to load. It was nerve wracking at first to get the bike on the lift but it ended up being easier than I thought.
I love bridges, riding over them, riding under them. Whistler has plenty of them.
Carrie took out her GoPro to film some of the riding. She followed me down the Upper B-line trail on our second run of the day and the whole time I hoped I didn’t crash on camera. It was a fun ride full of giggling and laughing. Here’s the video, thanks to Carrie for her amazing mountain biking skills.
Props to Whistler Bike Park for getting the trails ready for Opening Weekend. There’s still plenty of snow on the mountain (Blackcomb is still open for skiing/snowboarding) but it felt really good to get back on the bike. At the end of the day, I saw a shirt that said “dirt is the new snow” and had to laugh. As much as I love snowboarding, I love the adrenaline and heart pounding moments that mountain biking gives me. Today was the best way to start the downhill season and Whistler certainly is the ultimate playground for it.
This post also marks the first Bike Park shred journal. I realized after last summer that mountain biking is becoming part of my shayboarder experience and is something I’d like to continue to share. Looks like it’s not just snowboarding anymore. What do you think?