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  1. #1
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    Calling all Mountain Bikers and Bike Enthusiastis!!

    Hello all!

    My name is Louis and I am part of a university research team working ALONGSIDE Whistler, BC based aviation company!

    We are conducting market research on the feasibility of a new product offering called Heli-biking.

    We are looking for your thoughts, advice, and ideas surrounding the feasibility of this experiment.

    We are coming to you, because this will be offered to people LIKE you; those looking for a new way to enjoy mountain biking or looking for a new sport to try!
    This product is exactly as it sounds; a helicopter will take you thousands of feet into the beautiful BC wilderness and mountainside, dropping you off at the top of a mountain at the start of a custom built downhill mountain track.

    Bikes will be transported via a custom built helicopter bike rack (first in Canada to be approved by the federal governments transport authority)


    Message from the operator

    In response to the comments regarding "freeriding" off trail, and harming the plant/wetland ecology of the area, as a representative of the company I would like to personally apologize for any false statements and misrepresentation in the video that was showed. We have a very in-depth sustainability plan, and preventing freeriding is of the upmost importance to us. As the popularity of bike-drops started to grow, we noticed that people were starting to ride in places where trails didn't exist yet.

    For this reason, alongside wildlife associations and trail builders, we have donated our time and helicopters in the past, to build trails where these practices were happening. Now, with the growth of our own business, we know that this is something we must be on top of right from the get go. As much as we operate a business in the area, as are also mountain bikers, hikers, and general users of our local wilderness. It is important to us to maintain the pristineness of these areas as much as we can.

    For this reason, we do NOT PERMIT ANY RIDING OFF OF THE TRAILS, and will be reinforcing this with an educational session as part of the helicopter safety briefing before the ride.

    As for the video, the freeriding taking place was a one‐time event with Blackcomb Helicopter’s Staff to test‐ride the grade and terrain of where we intend to build our new trails this summer. The lines they rode on that particular day, were the exact locations of our future trails, and do not display what we intend our end product to be. The trails will be built using modern techniques alongside the natural terrain to keep erosion and human impact to a minimum. This video had not been shared with the public as it was for internal use.

    We apologize for any confusion, and hope that everybody can be as excited as we are for this incredible new mountain bike venture!”
    Last edited by UniversityHeliBikers; 03-31-2017 at 05:23 PM.

  2. #2
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    Is this $125cad?
    That's a sweet deal really.

    What is your policy on dropping solos 25 to 50 miles out?

  3. #3
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    I like it.

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    I've heli skied a fair amount and have a few observations.

    1. $125 isn't going to be even close to covering your costs. Try 3x.
    I'd use a minimum of $3000/hour hobbs.
    2. Where you putting the bikes? Skis go in the basket fairly easily, with the ship running.
    Bikes going into a ship, means your shutting down, taking valuable time and space.


    I don't see it, except super high end trips including lodging.

  5. #5
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    Is the OP saying the heli will reach beyond where the lifts reach, AND have trails? How much farther can you go? Who's building these trails?
    (I've never seen it without snow on it)

    -F
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdxmark View Post
    Is this $125cad?
    That's a sweet deal really.

    What is your policy on dropping solos 25 to 50 miles out?
    Custom / chartered lifts are available but will have to be negotiated with the company.
    Before offering heli-biking, they operated on a chartered basis until demand increased.

    And my apologies, the price to $675 per helicopter load, equating to $135 per person (based on 5 passengers)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    Is the OP saying the heli will reach beyond where the lifts reach, AND have trails? How much farther can you go? Who's building these trails?
    (I've never seen it without snow on it)

    -F
    The helicopter will reach beyond the lifts and will take you to custom built trails that are built by both the heli-bike company (Largest aviation company in the region) as well as a company called Joyride that builds trails and obstacles and ramps.

    This will be a spring / summer (seasonal) option for consumers.
    These are tenured trails that no other company can use and are custom designed BY mountain bikers FOR mountain bikers!

    Quote Originally Posted by Low Pressure View Post
    I've heli skied a fair amount and have a few observations.

    1. $125 isn't going to be even close to covering your costs. Try 3x.
    I'd use a minimum of $3000/hour hobbs.
    2. Where you putting the bikes? Skis go in the basket fairly easily, with the ship running.
    Bikes going into a ship, means your shutting down, taking valuable time and space.


    I don't see it, except super high end trips including lodging.
    $125 is based on a 5 person occupancy, so really the price is $625 for one helicopter load. Less than 5 will cost more per person. The ride sort of combines a helicopter tour of the mountains and Whistler Village as well as a lift to the trails.

    The bikes will be placed on a customer built bike rack.
    This is one of the (if not) the first bike racks in the world designed specifically for helicopter use that took 1 year to develop, and is the only one in Canada approved by Canada's Transport Authority.

    Calling all Mountain Bikers and Bike Enthusiastis!!-aero-design-bike-as350-355-2.jpg
    Last edited by UniversityHeliBikers; 03-31-2017 at 02:41 PM.

  7. #7
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    My advice when asking for feedback on mtbr is to understand that the nitwit on the other side of the screen might just be someone you drank beer with last night. The internet brings out some peoples inner a-hole. So be resilient.

    For real advice I would suggest just getting the word out to everyone on Earth on a mountain bike and simply going for it and see how things Stack Up.

  8. #8
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    $135 CAD per drop sounds pretty good depending on how far out you get dropped and what the trails are like coming down. How many miles of trail, and how much vert per fun are we talking here?

    And what is the max capacity of the heli for bikes/riders? Photo looks like 6 maybe.

    $695 per person for 3 runs in a half-day and a lunch not so much. To put that in perspective, a season pass at Whistler Bike Park is $639. So, if I'm gonna spend more than that, those three runs better be pretty dang long and world class. Oh, and preferably not the same run 3x.

  9. #9
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    Is it safe to assume any damage to the bikes while in transit will be covered by the helicopter company?

  10. #10
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    The photo..that's a nice rack
    ...

  11. #11
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    So like an E-bike?
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  12. #12
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    First up, heli biking is not new, it's just been on a very small scale with nothing really organised with a proper option to transport bikes, usually transported in a sling. So the new part to this would be having it as something not needing loads of advanced planning, i.e. flights paths files and given to run on a daily basis and the rack system for safe, secure transport of the bikes and at a reasonable cost. The company I worked with offered island tours which were about 50 miles/30 minutes for $182 US or 30 miles/20 minutes for $142 US, so the pricing on this is very good.

    As someone who made a living working using A-Stars I've a few thoughts. First being that safety is a huge factor, one fool lifting a bike just a smidge too high out of the rack and things could get real nasty, real quick, which leads into the amount of passengers that can be carried. A normal A-Star can take a total of 6 people (1 pilot, 5 pass), however, the pilot cannot exit the helicopter without shutting it down (this adds lots to the operating cost), so if they also need an attendant to deal with the passengers and bikes safely, that reduces it to 4, unless they fly that person(s) up to the drop site(s) on the first drop of the day and they spend the entire day there.

    To me this would be an awesome experience, not something I would spend the day doing unless I was rich, but definitely worth it once in a while as long as there were good trails to get me back down and not over my skill set - most heli biking I've seen has been to get to some seriously technical and steep stuff, not for the avg rider.
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  13. #13
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    There's always someone who can justify doing this. The local heli-tour company charges a bit more than this and they are constantly running.

    I think you'll need to have some great advertising/media in order to get the average Joe to pony up for a run. Show how awesome the trail they get exclusive access to and they'll line up. If the trail is unknown or average, no one will take that gamble.
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  14. #14
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    I'd be in for this and I filled the survey.

    I've done a few trails (e.g., Comfortably Numb) from the Village and XC in Whistler Blackcomb is a LOT of work. Getting dropped off way out at the top of a big mountain and riding back seems idea to me, especially if we're riding in the park as well. I'm almost certain they have this in Revelstoke.

    Quote Originally Posted by UniversityHeliBikers View Post
    Hello all!

    We are conducting market research on the feasibility of a new product offering called Heli-biking.

    • Single ride ($135 each per “drop” / 5 person trip $675)

  15. #15
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    Bike rack fits tires of 3/4/5 inches?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by UniversityHeliBikers View Post
    Custom / chartered lifts are available but will have to be negotiated with the company.
    Before offering heli-biking, they operated on a chartered basis until demand increased.

    And my apologies, the company had agreed to increased the price to $675 per helicopter load, equating to $135 per person (based on 5 passengers)



    The helicopter will reach beyond the lifts and will take you to custom built trails that are built by both the heli-bike company (Largest aviation company in the region) as well as a company called Joyride that builds trails and obstacles and ramps.

    This will be a spring / summer (seasonal) option for consumers.
    These are tenured trails that no other company can use and are custom designed BY mountain bikers FOR mountain bikers!



    $125 is based on a 5 person occupancy, so really the price is $625 for one helicopter load. Less than 5 will cost more per person. The ride sort of combines a helicopter tour of the mountains and Whistler Village as well as a lift to the trails.

    The bikes will be placed on a customer built bike rack.
    This is one of the (if not) the first bike racks in the world designed specifically for helicopter use that took 1 year to develop, and is the only one in Canada approved by Canada's Transport Authority.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks! This sounds awesome.

    If I felt I was riding well, I'd probably do it one time while I was there. If it blew my mind, I'd pony up for a day pass, but that would be an exceptional expense for me.

    -F
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbowho View Post
    My advice when asking for feedback on mtbr is to understand that the nitwit on the other side of the screen might just be someone you drank beer with last night. The internet brings out some peoples inner a-hole. So be resilient.

    For real advice I would suggest just getting the word out to everyone on Earth on a mountain bike and simply going for it and see how things Stack Up.
    Thanks! We were hoping that since this subject might be super interesting for some, that honest responses will pour in!

    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    $135 CAD per drop sounds pretty good depending on how far out you get dropped and what the trails are like coming down. How many miles of trail, and how much vert per fun are we talking here?

    And what is the max capacity of the heli for bikes/riders? Photo looks like 6 maybe.

    $695 per person for 3 runs in a half-day and a lunch not so much. To put that in perspective, a season pass at Whistler Bike Park is $639. So, if I'm gonna spend more than that, those three runs better be pretty dang long and world class. Oh, and preferably not the same run 3x.
    Thanks for your reply, it's insightful to have a perspective from a season pass holder.
    The single drop will be at the top of Rainbow Mountain + Mount Barbour and the trail is 1,500 meters (5,000 feet drop). The Rainbow Mountain trail will take about 2.5 hours to ride, and the Mt. Barbour is actually around 3-5 hours of riding!

    Our deepest apologies for the misinformation.

    The max capacity is 5 riders / bikes for each helicopter. They are planning 7 trails in the future but for the present 3 run offering, all are different trails.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shotgun Jeremy View Post
    Is it safe to assume any damage to the bikes while in transit will be covered by the helicopter company?
    Yes the rack that is used is approved and insurance is in place to cover damage resulting in a bike rack failure. At this point in time, there is no formal insurance policy in place.

    Our deepest apologies for the misinformation.


    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    First up, heli biking is not new, it's just been on a very small scale with nothing really organised with a proper option to transport bikes, usually transported in a sling. So the new part to this would be having it as something not needing loads of advanced planning, i.e. flights paths files and given to run on a daily basis and the rack system for safe, secure transport of the bikes and at a reasonable cost. The company I worked with offered island tours which were about 50 miles/30 minutes for $182 US or 30 miles/20 minutes for $142 US, so the pricing on this is very good.

    As someone who made a living working using A-Stars I've a few thoughts. First being that safety is a huge factor, one fool lifting a bike just a smidge too high out of the rack and things could get real nasty, real quick, which leads into the amount of passengers that can be carried. A normal A-Star can take a total of 6 people (1 pilot, 5 pass), however, the pilot cannot exit the helicopter without shutting it down (this adds lots to the operating cost), so if they also need an attendant to deal with the passengers and bikes safely, that reduces it to 4, unless they fly that person(s) up to the drop site(s) on the first drop of the day and they spend the entire day there.

    To me this would be an awesome experience, not something I would spend the day doing unless I was rich, but definitely worth it once in a while as long as there were good trails to get me back down and not over my skill set - most heli biking I've seen has been to get to some seriously technical and steep stuff, not for the avg rider.
    Absolutely agree, it's not a world's first. The bike rack is a revolutionary product that although may not be the first in the world, has definitely revolutionized how bikes are transported. As for the single ride option, it is definitely a good price point. The 3 run package prides itsself on the selling feature of being in the Beautiful British Columbia mountainside and near Whistler, one of the most beautiful resorts in the world and home to the 2010 Winter Games.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    There's always someone who can justify doing this. The local heli-tour company charges a bit more than this and they are constantly running.

    I think you'll need to have some great advertising/media in order to get the average Joe to pony up for a run. Show how awesome the trail they get exclusive access to and they'll line up. If the trail is unknown or average, no one will take that gamble.
    Advertising is definitely a must for the company and they have plans for that soon!
    The company will soon be offering guided tours with local mountain biking tour guides! Guided and non-guided tours will be available.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Bike rack fits tires of 3/4/5 inches?
    The rack can take up to a 4' tire / 29" diameter.

    Our deepest apologies for the misinformation.


    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    Thanks! This sounds awesome.

    If I felt I was riding well, I'd probably do it one time while I was there. If it blew my mind, I'd pony up for a day pass, but that would be an exceptional expense for me.

    -F
    Thanks, if we told someone new about this great idea, we've done our job!
    Last edited by UniversityHeliBikers; 03-31-2017 at 02:39 PM.

  18. #18
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    Seems a bit too decadent to me.

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    I would definitely make a point to do this if i were in the BC area. Probably would not make a trip just for it, though, because i am well over 2,000 miles away. Looks like an experience i would never forget
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Seems a bit too decadent to me.

    It's not a dark chocolate cheesecake.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Seems a bit too decadent to me.
    Our deepest apologies for making misinformed and incorrect replies and responses.

    Riders MUST follow the designed and built trails. There is a very large sustainability factor that absolutely MUST be supported. Failure to follow the designed and laid out path can / will result in trail closure.

    Riders, PLEASE follow the trails designed to minimize harm to the environment and local wildlife. Not just in Whistler, but your local trails as well!

    Our deepest apologies for the mistake.


    Quote Originally Posted by the_joe View Post
    I would definitely make a point to do this if i were in the BC area. Probably would not make a trip just for it, though, because i am well over 2,000 miles away. Looks like an experience i would never forget
    Great to hear! At the end of the day, we are spreading the word and getting people interested. What better way to see BC mountainside / the resort and its surroundings than in a helicopter and a ride down the mountain! $135 (per person for 5 passenger occupancy) for that is pretty decent considering a tour around the mountain costs around the same!

    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    It's not a dark chocolate cheesecake.
    They can also do custom charter lifts to whatever drop point you so desire
    Last edited by UniversityHeliBikers; 03-31-2017 at 02:46 PM.

  22. #22
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    Here's a question for you all;

    If this was available in your local area, would you all do it?

  23. #23
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    I like this idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UniversityHeliBikers View Post
    Here's a question for you all;

    If this was available in your local area, would you all do it?
    Yes, it seems like an awesome way to kill a couple of birds with one stone!

  25. #25
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    Why is this available only in BC?

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    Quote Originally Posted by UniversityHeliBikers View Post
    Here's a question for you all;

    If this was available in your local area, would you all do it?
    No giant mts in eastern MA. So, no. And mt bikes have low gears for a reason.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by UniversityHeliBikers View Post
    Here's a question for you all;

    If this was available in your local area, would you all do it?
    No because Illinois is flat as hell
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by UniversityHeliBikers View Post
    Here's a question for you all;

    If this was available in your local area, would you all do it?
    Probably not. I've ridden most of the trails in my area, and went there under the power of my own 2 legs, or done a traditional shuttle in a few instances.

    To do something like this in my home area, the trails and scenery would have to be far and away better than anything that I could access on my own. I'd be more likely to do something like this in a world class riding destination outside of my home area.

    One thing your concept has going for it is exclusivity. If you were just dropping folks off at a remote location to access trails that you could otherwise get to, all you are paying for really is saving the time/effort of pedaling there yourself or figuring out some other means of shuttling.

    If you've got world class trail builders and world class terrain/scenery and no other way to access it, then you've got something more people are willing to pay for.

    In a way, this concept isn't that far off of what they are offering at Retallack. Their experience is geared more towards the whole full-service lodge based experience, whereas what you are proposing is more of a day trip experience, which makes sense in that you have a lot of traffic coming through Whistler, and seemingly, a lot of people with a lot of money.

    For us average joes that aren't rich, I think a key issue is the limitations on group size. A group of 5 is the optimal number to keep cost manageable, so my riding group of 6 or 7 guys who do annual week long trips together would be out of luck.

    I might be able to scrounge up one or two of my normal crew to do something like this as a one-off experience, but 1 to 3 guys paying the full heli cost and leaving a couple seats open in less palatable.

    If your company could set a minimum 3 passenger limit to guarantee a flight will happen, keep the cost constant per passenger regardless of whether the last 2 seats are filled, and then work to fill those open seats with paying customers, I think you'd exclude less people.

    As popularity grows, it doesn't seem like you'd have that much trouble filling the open seats. You'd likely have to charge a fairly high non-refundable deposit to keep people from bailing on a reservation and hosing 1 or 2 passengers that booked those open seats.

  29. #29
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    Seems a little too Trumpish for my liking.
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  30. #30
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    Hmmm, perhaps if it picked me up in the turning space about 50 yards from my house and ran me up the top of Mt Lemmon over there for 30 bucks or so, I'd think about it...
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  31. #31
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    When you get dropped off at a trail, you can always make your own path down. The path they make isn't the one you have to follow!

    In most places this is contrary to common trail use ethics.

    I was on a heli-ski trip in Haines, AK a few years ago and someone there was talking about a similar project - also in northern BC. I wonder if you guys know each other or are involved in the same project.

    Riding around in helicopters is pretty darn fun and anybody considering this should factor in that the trip up is way more of a rush than your typical shuttle. That alone is worth some $.

    That said, I wouldn't spend that much money to ride my bike down a hill. Maybe if I was an elite level DH rider it would be worth it. As it is, I would be better off spending that money on travel/lodging/dining during a MTB vacation.

    Good luck though!

  32. #32
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    Heli-biking just seems so lame. I think the same thing when I see people shuttling because they can't ride an extra few miles though. Meh.

  33. #33
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    i think its a decent idea and if you can include or suggest a place for people to rent high end DH bikes that would really appeal to the richer folks who are in the area for vaca.

    If i were in the area i'd possibly pay for 1 run, would be a fun experience.

    Once you are up what is the expectation regarding run completion time?? is there some type of check in at the bottom? could i just take the heli up and then go my own way into the backcountry?? Just seems there is some liability there.

    I also agree that there must be someone who loads and unloads the bikes or as others have said..... that could get really really bad...
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post
    When you get dropped off at a trail, you can always make your own path down. The path they make isn't the one you have to follow!

    In most places this is contrary to common trail use ethics.
    Agreed and just watched the OP's video.
    Jackwagons thrashing off trail = extremely lame! I would never support, condone, or participate in this activity. Maybe I am just too old, but I hate the way the sport has changed over the years to this "all about me" mentality. Nuff said.

  35. #35
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    $675 for a solo drop and pick is still reasonable. I'd probably find a group in the area to go with. These prices will bring a lot of Americans up.

    Quote Originally Posted by UniversityHeliBikers View Post
    ... $675... Custom / chartered lifts are available but will have to be negotiated with the company.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  36. #36
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    MEMBERS,
    Please read the following message from the operating company for which we have worked alongside for this project.

    Message from the operator


    In response to the comments regarding "freeriding" off trail, and harming the plant/wetland ecology of the area, as a representative of the company I would like to personally apologize for any false statements and misrepresentation in the video that was showed. We have a very in-depth sustainability plan, and preventing freeriding is of the upmost importance to us. As the popularity of bike-drops started to grow, we noticed that people were starting to ride in places where trails didn't exist yet.

    For this reason, alongside wildlife associations and trail builders, we have donated our time and helicopters in the past, to build trails where these practices were happening. Now, with the growth of our own business, we know that this is something we must be on top of right from the get go. As much as we operate a business in the area, as are also mountain bikers, hikers, and general users of our local wilderness. It is important to us to maintain the pristineness of these areas as much as we can.

    For this reason, we do NOT PERMIT ANY RIDING OFF OF THE TRAILS, and will be reinforcing this with an educational session as part of the helicopter safety briefing before the ride.

    As for the video, the freeriding taking place was a one‐time event with Blackcomb Helicopter’s Staff to test‐ride the grade and terrain of where we intend to build our new trails this summer. The lines they rode on that particular day, were the exact locations of our future trails, and do not display what we intend our end product to be. The trails will be built using modern techniques alongside the natural terrain to keep erosion and human impact to a minimum. This video had not been shared with the public as it was for internal use.

    We apologize for any confusion, and hope that everybody can be as excited as we are for this incredible new mountain bike venture!”

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Again, our deepest apologies for the incorrect information we have provided in this thread.

    The information provided did not paint a good picture for the sport of mountain biking, Heli-biking in general, and especially the operating company we are working alongside and have NO relation to.

    We apologize for any confusion and anger our responses have created. Whistler mountain is a beautiful creation of nature and we want to preserve it. Blackcomb Helicopters has demonstrated through its efforts of its support for such a goal.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by UniversityHeliBikers; 03-31-2017 at 05:25 PM.

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