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  1. #1
    jju
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    Must do XC trails in BC and Alberta in 3 weeks

    Hello,

    We are coming to Canada for 3 weeks, with XC (4" full suspension) iron horse azure and scott spark bikes.
    Plan is to visit:
    1. Squamish
    2. Whistler
    3. Tyax
    4. Kamloops
    5. Revelstoke
    6. Golden
    7. Banff
    8. Canmore
    9. Sheep river
    10. Fernie
    11. Nelson
    12. New Denver
    13. Rossland
    Could you recommend must do XC trails in the areas? Also maybe youwould suggest to remove some points or go to any other?
    what is your recommendations about maps (GPS?, paper? where to buy?)
    Do you have particular ideas where to stay?

    Waiting for your comments

    jj
    Last edited by jju; 02-20-2013 at 12:36 PM.

  2. #2
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    Here's my 2 cents...

    Try to arrive later in the summer, say mid August to ensure the Alpine stuff is snow free

    Whistler: Comfortably Numb, purely for the joy of it being over.
    Squamish: Anything, I would spend more time here than in whistler, especially for XC
    Revelstoke: Kestone Standard Basin, Frisby Ridge
    Golden: Moonraker trails; CBT mainline
    Alberta: Cox Hill/Jumping pound ridge; Baldy Pass; Powderface; Highline; West Bragg Creek; Moose mountain; Gorge Creek (check out bikepirate.com)
    Fernie: Mad cow/Swine flu; Hyperventilation; castle rocks; Slunt; lots to choose from. Good map available from local shops.

    You really can't go wrong, the list is endless.

  3. #3
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    You also might want to slim that list down for a 3 week vacation, it might not seem like it but there's some substantial driving time needed between those areas. You've got enough destinations for a 5-6 week vacation. It's a day's drive from the Squamish/Whistler/Pemberton area to Revelstoke/Golden area and another day to get from Canmore/Banff down to Rossland. You've listed locations where you could spend a few days in each area riding.

    Have a read through this sticky Where to ride in Western Canada?
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  4. #4
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    Cut back the number of stops....

    Check out Ridgline on Moose Mtn in kananaskis....

  5. #5
    jju
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    The plan is to be in Canada from the middle July until the first week of August. Do you have any suggestions about accommodation or spots where we should do reservations much in advance. Is it possible to get a spot in the camping without reservation?
    What is your opinion about Tyax trail, it is far away/worth travelling?

    thanks
    Last edited by jju; 02-20-2013 at 12:41 PM.

  6. #6
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    I would cut way back on the number of stops, unless you'd rather be driving than riding. I would think one new destination every 4 days. You should definitely book your camping prior to arriving. Most Camping BC sites open up for reservations 3 months prior to the date. I'd skip Canmore for biking. Someone from Canmore may disagree, but in my opinion it's a long way from some of your other planned destinations for marginal riding. Tyax lodge has great riding around it, but requires a vehicle capable of real off-road use to safely get there the fast way. Don't take an RV over the Hurley Pass!

  7. #7
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    Sorry, calling the riding in the Canmore area marginal is laughable...

  8. #8
    jju
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    Which of those places we should skip then? We go on reading and each of the places seems worth going...It is decided though - we skip Tyax. Maybe we shouldn't go to the southern side at all (Rosland, Fernie, New Denver, etc.)?
    We really don't want to be driving instead of riding.. it's our first time in Canada, so we have no clue whatsoever!..

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jju View Post
    Which of those places we should skip then? We go on reading and each of the places seems worth going...It is decided though - we skip Tyax. Maybe we shouldn't go to the southern side at all (Rosland, Fernie, New Denver, etc.)?
    We really don't want to be driving instead of riding.. it's our first time in Canada, so we have no clue whatsoever!..
    Calgary to Revelstoke is a minimum 4 hour drive....if you do it at night when the rV's are parked.....it can easily stretch to 8 hours plus if a mudslide (frequent) or accident (very frequent) causes a jam.

    North to South is a little easier....

    I would plan to travel at night...but then the scenery is very impressive. I would allow a full day to travel 400 km.....your trip I would guess is over 2000 km so you have a 5 days of travelling at the very least.

    Travel to an area then ride the area for at least three days, before you pick up and do a days travel...

    All of those areas have at least 3 full day epics, or many smaller rides in them.

  10. #10
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    A lot of the recommendations would be based on your experience and technical skills level. Have a look through the thread on western Canada trails for some photos of these areas so you can get a sense of what the terrain is like.

    It's worth using Google Earth to plot various legs of the trip to see how long they indicate it will take to drive between places. What you don't see on a map are lots of mountain passes, 2 lane or 3 lane roads with passing lanes, and long and twisty driving routes, especially the south portion of BC. You look at the map and think maybe 4 hours, but it's actually closer to 8 hours because of the traffic and passage through many small towns etc. The #1 Trans Canada highway is generally quicker driving times, but they do all the road maintenance in June/July/August through the mountains so you can easily get caught up in numerous construction zones or accident traffic jams. Both Alberta and BC have road report websites that will give you info when you're closer to traveling.

    There is some great XC riding in the Canmore & Kananaskis area, enough for at least 3-4 leg burning days, with big big climbs in real mountains where you could easily end up above the treeline at 8000' elevation. And you could be snowed on any month of the year in the east slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

    The Revelstoke area also has a couple of big alpine XC rides in real big mountains, the weather is always pretty variable at that elevation, so you'd want to be prepared for big changes and sudden rain and thunderstorms in the summer (and grizzly bears).

    The trails around Golden and Nelson tend to be a bit steeper and more AM/freeride-ish, so you might want to skip those areas on 4" travel bikes.

    In between Revelstoke and the west coast, Salmon Arm/Sicamous have some nice XC trails as well that would likely be more enjoyable on XC bikes than the Kamloops area.

    Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton have some epic west coast XC riding, enough for days and days but a lot of that is what might be called Freeride or All Mountain riding elsewhere on the continent. Squamish likely has more trails that are enjoyable on a 4" travel bike, but Whistler has some natural XC trails plus the Lost Lake trail network.
    Last edited by rockyuphill; 02-22-2013 at 02:14 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Must do XC trails in BC and Alberta in 3 weeks

    I wouldn't skip out on riding Kananaskis - bikepirate.com has the best descriptions and I would recommend Jumpingpound / Cox Hill assuming it doesn't snow and pneuma/moosepackers/ridgeback.

    I had a great time riding in kamloops, and you'll probably have to drive through there anyway. Broken shoulder, burn the berms, rio Escondido, razorback. Talk to brad at Taboo cycles there- it's right off the highway.

  12. #12
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    As Rocky suggested, with the bikes you are bringing drop Nelson and Golden off of your list, they will not be fun. I'd suggest doing either the coast or the east of BC, too much driving and not enough riding if you do both. For XC stuff in the Rockies/Kootenays I'd recommend Rossland, Fernie, Kananaskis, and Revelstoke, Banff is not a biking destination, more of a shopping mall in the mountains. There is a lot of riding in these areas that would be good for 3 - 5 days in each. You might also want to check out some of the US trails just across the borders too, there is some fantastic riding to be had within 1 hour of the border in Montana and Idaho.

  13. #13
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    and here's a timely new video from the Revelstoke area

    Kona House of the Big Wheel 3 on Vimeo

    and a Bike Mag photo of the day from Kananaskis Country in Alberta

    Photo of the Day: Ryan Creary - February 22, 2012
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  14. #14
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    Lots of good info above.

    Will you be arriving and departing in Calgary or Vancouver? Do you enjoy long remote xc riding or prefer to be closer to amenities?

    I would not be too quick to blow off Tyax (Chilcotin/Spruce Lake?) This is epic riding and the experience of a lifetime. As is Seven Summits in Rossland. Access to these rides and the alpine in Revelstoke will depend on how late a snowpack we have this season. Last few years, the snowpack has lingered well into late July in some locations. Best to check in late May/June before setting your itinerary.

  15. #15
    jju
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    Thank you for a good info. Could you recommend where a staying places in Squamish and Whistler.

  16. #16
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    Are you camping or staying in hotels? If you're camping you can try the Alice Lake campground in Squamish, it's right where the trails start. Mid week you might find spots, but on weekends you may already be too late to book camping spots. Sandman Inn in Squamish would be a reasonable choice if you're looking for a hotel, it's located half way between the north and south end so equal access to all the trail networks.
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  17. #17
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    I don't know Canada super well, but I'd recommend adding in a stop in Pemberton if you plan on going to Whistler, as its just 30 minutes north from there. Really nice trails all around there, I'd go into a bike shop and get a map. Big nimby is a good long switch-back climb with lots of downhill options from fairly gnarly to mellow.
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  18. #18
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    Regarding Canmore, when's the 24 Hours of Adrenaline - July 27th weekend? Wouldn't want to ride in Canmore at the same time the race is being held.

  19. #19
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    July 20, 2013 24 Hr Sports
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jju View Post
    The plan is to be in Canada from the middle July until the first week of August. Do you have any suggestions about accommodation or spots where we should do reservations much in advance. Is it possible to get a spot in the camping without reservation?
    What is your opinion about Tyax trail, it is far away/worth travelling?

    thanks
    a lot of the camping in provincial sites will be completely full on weekends, with reservations, walk ins will fill by Friday morning for a weekend. consider booking for the August long weekend or time getting to campgrounds by Thursday to get a spot.

    In Fernie, the provincial park is lovely with access to many of the bike trails (Project 9, Slunt, brokeback and many more) available right from the campground. But it is small and busy. it is also just minutes from town, I *think* there might be showers there. BC Parks - Province of British Columbia

    Grab yourself a copy of backroads maps for the areas you will be in. In that it will list all provincial rec sites which are often cheap, and sometimes easier to get into. They are usually a fair drive from major towns. Kootenay Rockies BC Digital Maps v3 [978-1-897225-38-7] - $49.99 : Backroad Mapbooks, Recreation maps, GPS maps, Topo maps, Fishing maps, Digital maps for BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada

    Most of the places you list have hostels. I would consider this option.

    In Rossland consider doing the IMBA epic 7 summits, there is a small campground (Nancy Green) very close to the start, I would look into reserving this. However you will need to arrange a shuttle for your car at the end about 33kms away, unless you want to ride the road back.

  21. #21
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    consider avoiding Fernie the last weekend of July, it is the Transrockies weekend. Totally still possible to ride the trails, but will have to be aware of which are in use and when, campgrounds will fill very quickly for this time frame. The TransRockies Challenge - Mountain Bike Race

  22. #22
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    There are no showers at the Provincial Park campground in Fernie, but you can access the showers at the Aquatic Center by the jump park downtown.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jju View Post
    Thank you for a good info. Could you recommend where a staying places in Squamish and Whistler.
    Camping at Alice lake just north of squamish would be awesome like mentioned but book as soon as possible because it's a sweet campground so it's popular. Whistler has every kind of accomodation, not a lot of camping but there's a park in spruce grove(can't think of the name). Tantalus lodge is a good bike-friendly hotel close to the lifts and trails... There's hostels and stuff too, can't really go wrong. Not sure if it really makes sense to stay in whistler then pack up and stay somewhere else in squamish as they are so close (30-40 mins). Go to Tantalus bikes in squamish and get a trail pass and map, and get the same at pretty much any bike shop in whistler.

    I was thinking of suggesting some other areas you should check out but I think you need less destinations than you have planned, with more time at each. There is awesome biking all over BC so you will have fun no matter what.

  24. #24
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    Hey I gotta say go north young son!
    Great riding in Williams Lake and Prince George. I would take you out if you make it to Prince.

  25. #25
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    Vancouver Island should be on your list.

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