Whistler lift service and what to expect in general- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Whistler lift service and what to expect in general

    With some luck I should be in Whistler July 16 and riding the 17th. My question is how many lifts operate, how long do lines get and ultimately how many runs are reasonable
    in a day given the above?
    Are there trail closures due to activities/time of day etc other than maintainence?
    What the deal on night riding?
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  2. #2
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    the lifts are open until 8pm

  3. #3
    slaving away in paradise
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    The lines on weekends at the Fitz chair (bottom) can get about 20+ minutes, but you'll get more
    vert feet in one day than you will in 3+ months shuttling back home.

  4. #4
    West Coast FTW!
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    3 lifts operate til 5pm then the gondola stops and Fitzsimmons and Garbonzo run, Garbonzo til 7pm and Ftiz til 8pm,
    if it is Saturday expect 15-20 minutes if you are with a group otherwise rock the singles line and wait 5 minutes or less, actually rock the singles line at the Gondola super short.
    if you can ride from 10am -8pm you can get 3-4 runs an hour riding the lower park, less if you head up Garbo, therefore if you can handle it 30-40 runs a day if you don't stop
    there will only be closure if a) there is maintenance to be done, b) someone is hurt bad and they need to close the trail, or c) the weather is really wet and the trail could not handle the **** kicking it would get,
    and with the bikes you have in your sig you may want to just ride the Valley trails for free.....

  5. #5
    slaving away in paradise
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcbud
    and with the bikes you have in your sig you may want to just ride the Valley trails for free.....
    LOL, I didn't see that! Either do what bcbud says or rent a bike, even many of the green runs
    will do some damage to a light duty bike.

  6. #6
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    wow, wasnt expecting my Pitch not to make the cut. I havent ridden the Enduro since I got the Pitch. The wife's on a new Canfield ONE, I guess with 6"/8" travel she's not well equipped either....
    No one gave me a second look at Snowshoe and I rode some sick single diamond trails.
    I know its not a great indicator but I've watched all the helmet cam videos at the official Whistler site and none of the blue trails looked particularly challanging so I figured worst case we could at least handle the green.
    Just watched a bunch again and those videos must be mighty deceiving as Blue Velvet looks like stuff my wife could handle, wide, smooth, nice tabletops no gaps or steeps.
    Last edited by crossup; 07-03-2010 at 09:09 PM.
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  7. #7
    slaving away in paradise
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    I saw a guy fly by me on Goats gully on a 4"x4" XC bike, xc helmet and clipless pedals with
    no body armor (no knees nothing). But that guy is one in many times I've ridden there.

    I guess it's all about how good you are and how much punishment you're willing to put your
    bike through and how fast you want to go. You could hit up Heart of Darkness and Bline or
    even Angry pirate, but with the crater sized braking holes and such you're going to put lots
    of abuse on your bikes and you leave no room for error.

    You really can go slower (and burn up some brake pads), and the green runs like golden triangle
    will treat you well, but I know even my wife (not a big adrenaline junkie) was hitting up the CIU
    to HOD run a lot. She was rocking a '02 bullit and later a trail sx so she had a slack enough
    head angle to mellow out some of the rough.

    I'd say try it out on your bikes, but be prepared to rent some bikes after a couple runs as
    you might want to go that much faster (it is addictive).

  8. #8
    West Coast FTW!
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    Quote Originally Posted by crossup
    wow, wasnt expecting my Pitch not to make the cut. I havent ridden the Enduro since I got the Pitch. The wife's on a new Canfield ONE, I guess with 6"/8" travel she's not well equipped either....
    No one gave me a second look at Snowshoe and I rode some sick single diamond trails.
    I know its not a great indicator but I've watched all the helmet cam videos at the official Whistler site and none of the blue trails looked particularly challanging so I figured worst case we could at least handle the green.
    Just watched a bunch again and those videos must be mighty deceiving as Blue Velvet looks like stuff my wife could handle, wide, smooth, nice tabletops no gaps or steeps.
    Snowshoe is a whole nother ball game then Whistler, the braking bumps are what murder people here. Those helmet cames are also done by people riding full on DH bikes (usually) so they look smoother then the camera allows. ALL trails in the park CAN be ridden on any bike but it all depends on how fast and smooth you are, and how you brake. I have ridden CIU on a hardtail but it was only for a few runs and my wrists were done. Have fun while you visit.....

  9. #9
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    First, thanks for the great responses BC and Kauai
    While we like to go fast, its relative- I'm turning 60 this year and the other half of the honeymoon is 56. She refuses to wear(so far anyway, but I think her resistance is weakening) a full face helmet so risk taking is not a good option. On the otherhand, I have 15 years of racing motocross experience as an Expert non-pro(although I have won money at proraces) and still love sick air. I'll be wearing a Deviant II full lid, full armor except for backpack instead of spine armour. She had the armour but only a good Specialized helmet that had good back of the head protection. She's only been riding a year but is a pretty agressive when she's enjoying things and has taken some damned hard falls without dampening her spirit( she usually overcompensates then).
    We're used to serious roots and erosion damage but braking bumps are rare...the good news is her Canfield's rear suspension is magic and will keep the tire planted. Getting the RS Revelation's we both run to be effective on the braking bumps will be the hard part. At least we both have good Avids on 8" rotors.
    Anyway, the point of relating this is that we are more interested in just enjoying a long, no pedal downhill trail than seeing how big we can whip a tabletop. So as I see it, the real issues will be staying off the fast line and out of the way and finding the smoothest lines around where its torn up.
    As to how much punishment, since we are planning 8 days there, we have to moderate but on the otherhand, we are both light(sub 140 pound) and have XT and XTR level gear so I expect it to take anything we can dish out. As a plus, her bike is new with only 50 miles or so of breakin and mines proven at Snowshoe, where both me and it got the snot beat out of us(spent a lot of time on trails that were too much for me but there's no way to bailout) but neither is worse for the wear.
    Hopefully they will have a DH bike for rent small enough for my 5'3" honey so she can check out the real deal and maybe help get her used to a tall bike- I can re-shock her bike to give 8.2" rear travel but since she's got very little standover clearance with 6.5" travel she needs to get used to dealing with no standover before I can redo her bike. Right now I'm trying to find a KS adj. seatpost so she can drop it, the Canfield has a short frame so a fixed post can only move an inch or so. Looks like a 300mm, 3" drop will fit.
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  10. #10
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    The previous advice given is pretty accurate. Your bikes will be able to make it around the mountain no problem, it's just going to be an issue of riding trails that are suitable for them as opposed to the full DH tracks. When I take my small bike in the park there's trails that I avoid just cause of massive brake bumps that beat the crap out of small bikes (and even DH bikes!). That being said there's also a lot of trails that I prefer riding on a small bike. Some good options are Angry Pirate, B-line, Ninja Cougar, Karate Monkey, Samurai Pizza Cat or World Cup Singletrack, Ho Chi Min, Heart of Darkness. Up top Blue Velvet can be a good option if it's in decent shape, and I think it should be soon, as the snow has only just melted up there. If you find yourself in a situation where your bike feels too small for the hill you'll have no problem finding a DH rental, and to be honest that is what's best suited for riding in the bike park.

    Your bikes would be great for riding in the valley and there's loads of trail options for all levels of riders. If you don't mind a pedal up there's lots of freeride trails that are similar to whats in the bike park only much more natural, ridden by waaaay less people and of course no brake bumps!
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  11. #11
    slaving away in paradise
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhistlerRideSupply
    Your bikes would be great for riding in the valley and there's loads of trail options for all levels of riders. If you don't mind a pedal up there's lots of freeride trails that are similar to whats in the bike park only much more natural, ridden by waaaay less people and of course no brake bumps!

    Not sure how fit you guys are, but maybe comfortably numb as a outside bike park ride? I took
    my wife on river runs through it, and she did ok (wished she had some elbow and knee pads though).

    A FF is a great thing at the park, you really get going faster than you think you're going to go.

  12. #12
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    Pretty fit, I can go at least 2 hours with a 5 min break at 1 hour at a 'fast as I can go'/max respiration rate limited pace. Hope to do some valley and general trail riding too but thats what will wear her out quickest and she' s not quite as addicted as I am so to keep her away from the pool I'll try to minimise the pedaling
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  13. #13
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    Thanks again for the great advice. Sounds like we may be trying a rental but as mentioned before, at our age, high speed crashing is to be avoided when on vacation away from home.
    We still bounce ok but we pay more with the sore
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  14. #14
    North Van/Whistler
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    You might have missed this review. Covers off the trails http://reviews.mtbr.com/blog/whistle...-guide-review/
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  15. #15
    dft
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    Quote Originally Posted by kauaibullit
    The lines on weekends at the Fitz chair (bottom) can get about 20+ minutes, but you'll get more
    vert feet in one day than you will in 3+ months shuttling back home.
    just alittle exagerration here maybe double a big shuttle day. i've done 20k vert in a shuttle day non-lift assist. (cars can be pretty fast up the hill

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by crossup
    wow, wasnt expecting my Pitch not to make the cut. I havent ridden the Enduro since I got the Pitch. The wife's on a new Canfield ONE, I guess with 6"/8" travel she's not well equipped either....
    No one gave me a second look at Snowshoe and I rode some sick single diamond trails.
    I know its not a great indicator but I've watched all the helmet cam videos at the official Whistler site and none of the blue trails looked particularly challanging so I figured worst case we could at least handle the green.
    Just watched a bunch again and those videos must be mighty deceiving as Blue Velvet looks like stuff my wife could handle, wide, smooth, nice tabletops no gaps or steeps.
    You 'could' ride the park at whistler on either of those bikes, but you won't be able to really experience the trails the way they were meant to be ridden. Those tabletobs, gaps, and drops look MUCH smaller on any video than they do in real life. Take how they look in the videos and multiply it by about 5. Also, most of the videos are taken by guys that have ridden the trails many times, so they're going to pick all the right lines.

    I've been to whistler twice for a week each time, a downhill bike is key for the park. Your pitch or enduro should be perfect for the valley trails though, but don't be surprised if you run into stuff in the valley that makes you question your sanity as well. In my experience a black at whistler translates to a double black just about anywhere else. Whistler is progressive, so expect to ride stuff that you never have before.

    Be careful, it's an easy place to ride above your abilities, especially with 8" of travel under you. I made the mistake of trying to ride from 10am to 8pm without any substantial breaks, after already riding the valley trails for 4 solid days prior. After riding the amazing and gnarly garbanzo trails repeatedly all day I crashed hard on crank it up... the easiest trail I rode (yet so fun with all the opportunities for air). When you're worn down and having so much fun it's hard to stop.

  17. #17
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    Just got back and surprise surprise the old Pitch turned out to be every bit as competent as the Norco A-line I rented. Normally I will admit the Norco would spank the Pitch pretty bad, but as it turns out, Whistler hasnt seen any rain for several weeks and the whole mountain was one continuous braking bump/dust bin/blue groove bundle of fun. No one I talked to had ever seen the park so dry or torn up.
    So the real decider was how well your suspension worked on high speed braking bumps...my Pitch dialed in perfectly although I had to talk to a LOT of riders to figure out
    I was having less trouble than many with the chatter. The other thing that leveled the field for my Pitch was the A-line being too stiffly sprung for my lightweight a$$ despite my riding a small A-line supposedly setup for us weight challanged people.
    Surprisingly many single diamond trails were easier than some intermediate trails. I almost giggled my self to death after my first A-line run as I was expecting more challange than just going fast enough to clear the bigger table tops which I mostly didnt. It was so smooth(QUITE the exception to all the other trails) and flowy you really didnt use the brakes much so it was all about keeping momentum up.
    Only got in three full days on the park but rode ALL the trails except OLD School and the double diamonds but I did get a taste of a few of the easier sections of Schleyer and a couple others. Unfortunately the snow never left the top of the mountain so Una Moss(sp) was never opened I never took the gondola ride to check out top. But most runs were made from Garbonzo so I spend some real quality time on the mountain.
    Must be something about the clean air there, as I couldnt seem to get enough riding, I'd ride 4-5 runs down the hill, then we'd pedal over to Lost Lake and go up Tin Man to access the real trails like Pinochoi's Toys from the top of the mountain without having to deal with a real climb. Also rode some awesome stuff literally just across the street from where we stayed and did three days riding at Brakenridge, Squamish and Lake Garabadi. At Alice Lake I ride a trail that was a solid 1/2 km of nothing but board track/skinnies. Amazing how quick you can get into that, as I went from zero experience to the 6" logs in one go
    Last edited by crossup; 07-25-2010 at 06:06 AM.
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  18. #18
    West Coast FTW!
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    you didn't miss much in Una Moss, its really short and leads to the road/ski trail which isn't all that fun, glad you had a good time on your Pitch, as for the trials you rode just some spelling and names are different, Tin Pants is the pea gravel trail in Lost Lake, also it's Pinnochios Furniture also part of the sweet Zappa trail network, and Brackendale is just north of Squamish, and Lake Garibaldi is up in the alpine just south of Whistler, hope you can make it back here some day and hit up the other parts of the area like Pemberton and the North Shore in Vancouver....

  19. #19
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    Yeah, wrote that from memory, havent slept since Whistler as we did a redeye flight and had a lot to do before work tomorrow.
    But right, we rode Tin Man and Molly Hogan cinder trails to avoid getting tired climbing and still get up to the trailheads by pedaling.
    So we rode Cut Yer Bars next to the condo we were at, then Molly Hogan to Im Not Satisfied/Johnny Cant Read. When we climbed Tin Man, we took Fountain of Love to her first fav, The Torture Never Stops/Disco Boy/Dinah Moe Humm/Peaches en...
    On a revisit I rode Pinocchio's Furniture to Old Mill Where we took Zoot Alores to Ms Pinky/Soap n Old Clothes and lot White Gold half way thru(too man fire roads).
    We also did the Lake Loop
    In Brakendale we parked at the school lot on Ross Rd and did Cracked Patella to Larrys Loop to get to the interior trails, which we her most fav trails- Two Stroke and Rusty Buckets. Then I ran Wonderland on the Alice Lake side, which truely was a wonderland and just for grins did the first loop again 16 miles of 110% pure grin city!, Im figuring I had more than an hour of no pedaling and never had to feel like I was climbing to get back up.
    We also did the Mcintosh Memorial trail at Alice Lake to get to Robs/Cliffs corners(yawn) and my jaw dropping surprise, Dont Tell Jude, quite an introduction to board and log riding.
    I never dreamed I find and run such a huge board trail and even the Tracks from Hell board was impressive(something like 500 ft of dead straight 18" board over a swamp).
    We also did the out and back Cheakamus RIver Trail to Lake Garabaldi.

    Needless to say, Dont Tell Jude made Devils Club in the park seem too easy but I freely admit to being spooked by Old School's height and unforgiving framing.

    So riding to die for, great people and of course those wonderful skunks that seem to be in everyones room/condo/house

    And yes, I can report I didnt even flinch when I found my self passing bears within 15 ft of the trail...think I was more surprised by a horse sized deer and the high altitude mosquietos.



    Should see a nice mountain vista behind the wife but the camera apparently couldnt handle the brightness, and my last day on the mountain on the Norco
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Whistler lift service and what to expect in general-100_0298a.jpg  

    Whistler lift service and what to expect in general-100_0308a.jpg  

    Last edited by crossup; 07-25-2010 at 08:19 PM.
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  20. #20
    Mojo0115
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    Your pitch would have had the brakes set moto style as well I assume. We bumped into you along blue velvet during your first run down. It sounds like you got used to brakes being in bike left/right rather than moto style.

    I am surprised that people are calling Whistler blown out and torn up as it seems in amazing condition to me! But then my home riding is the likes of Sol Vista and Winter Park and compared to Sol Vista Whistler is hero dirt even at its worst!. We mostly have been riding Garbonzo trails as they are less crowded and a lot cooler (temperatures).

  21. #21
    slaving away in paradise
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    ^ I've always thought the same thing. Every time I've gone to WBP and people complain about
    the trails being "bombed" I think "where do you ride". WBP is great. Keep in mind I have 8" of
    travel so it smooths it all out.

  22. #22
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    Correct being an ex motocrosser/street rider I've keep my bikes setup moto as is my wifes for the same reason. And you're right, I found it somehow pretty natural to use normal brakes even though I have zero experience that way. So while I rode carefully on that run to not get into a panic situation, I did let'er eat. Turns out I needed a small bike too as that one was a medium and the rear suspension was stiff enough at my weight that it ONLY moved when I rear wheel landed a jump. So I was lucky enough to swap for moto brakes on a small frame with softer setup which worked better much better but was still harsher than my Pitch.

    To answer the blown out, I thought only a few like In Deep and the bottom of A-line were blown out. But the omni present braking ripples are NOT anything I've run in to on the east coast, including Snowshoe's runs. But of course we get the same in motocross except sometimes they get BIG like you start jumping them, so I knew the key was just to ignore the ripple and keep the speed higher not lower on the ruff stuff, so you skim the tops instead of getting the whole bump.

    Quote Originally Posted by zzsean
    Your pitch would have had the brakes set moto style as well I assume. We bumped into you along blue velvet during your first run down. It sounds like you got used to brakes being in bike left/right rather than moto style.

    I am surprised that people are calling Whistler blown out and torn up as it seems in amazing condition to me! But then my home riding is the likes of Sol Vista and Winter Park and compared to Sol Vista Whistler is hero dirt even at its worst!. We mostly have been riding Garbonzo trails as they are less crowded and a lot cooler (temperatures).
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  23. #23
    West Coast FTW!
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    Quote Originally Posted by kauaibullit
    ^ I've always thought the same thing. Every time I've gone to WBP and people complain about
    the trails being "bombed" I think "where do you ride". WBP is great. Keep in mind I have 8" of
    travel so it smooths it all out.
    for us locals who ride the park 40 plus days a year we know when the park is in prime shape and how blown out and full of holes it can get, early season and late season are the best times because the park still has moisture in it and it rains every now and then, we haven't seen any rain in a month so its hard for the crew to keep up with the trails that turn to dust due to the composition of the soil, some trails can hold up but for trails like Aline and Crank it Up which can see up to 1000 runs in a day they have some giant wheel sucking holes in the berms these days.....where do I ride...the WBP....

  24. #24
    slaving away in paradise
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcbud
    for us locals who ride the park 40 plus days a year we know when the park is in prime shape and how blown out and full of holes it can get, early season and late season are the best times because the park still has moisture in it and it rains every now and then, we haven't seen any rain in a month so its hard for the crew to keep up with the trails that turn to dust due to the composition of the soil, some trails can hold up but for trails like Aline and Crank it Up which can see up to 1000 runs in a day they have some giant wheel sucking holes in the berms these days.....where do I ride...the WBP....

    Still doesn't mean it's bad compared to most places in the world, so I'm not sure what point
    you're trying to make. I've ridden it "bad" and "buffed" the "bad" just isn't that bad so HTFU.

  25. #25
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    While the bumps were not adding to the fun, in many cases I was able to take different lines and miss most or all of the bumps in a given turn/jump approach. Where I couldnt take lines outside of the bumps I still took off center lines to hit the smaller bumps. So overall nothing to complain about but it is nice to consider how sweet it must be when smooth.
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