Whistler for the non-bold, cross-country type, via timeshare- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Whistler for the non-bold, cross-country type, via timeshare

    Trying to make plans for the best use of our timeshare next year and I see there is a unit available in the Upper Village at Whistler from Sept 1-8, 2019, which works pretty well with when weíd be wanting to travel next year.

    Id be traveling with my husband, who does not ride, but is perfectly fine with me riding as much as I want.

    Fairly new to MTB, been riding two years as kind of a side gig to road racing. Have fitness but not as much skills and Iím not very bold. I really mostly like scenery when I ride, I love beautiful trails. Intermediate skills and really am a cross country wild trail type. Iíve ridden once in a bike park but I was by myself and didnít know what to make of it. A guy at the beginning commented to me that I had the ďwrongĒ type of bike for that park (ie not a downhill bike) and that rattled my confidence and all I did was ride the one beginner trail all day. It was fun but eventually got boring and I was left feeling Ďmehí.

    So Iím not sure Iím a bike park person. I recently bought a friends 2018 Scott Spark, though, and Iím finding myself way more confident on it, who knows where Iíll be in a year? (Because this is a timeshare exchange, waiting to book isnít really an option, the unit Iím considering booking could get booked any time and then weíd be out of luck.)

    Questions:
    1. Whistler Bike Park is different from most parks (better), as I understand it. Is it the kind of place that cross country types like me enjoy? Iím not opposed to riding a gondola, it just would never occur to me to do anything other than pedal up.

    2. Is the Upper Village a good location to stay for MTBers. The property in question (Embarc Whistler) gets good reviews and has features we will make use of like a full kitchen and washer-dryer.

    3. Other than the bike park, are there cross country wild trails appropriate to my skill/experience level. I will admit the bike park idea is appealing because husband could sleep in vs shuttling me to a ride start. But he 100% will shuttle me happily wherever I want to ride. Populated trails are a little better for me, since Iíll be riding solo, just in case I break a clavicle. But I rode tons solo in Sedona and felt ok about it.

    For a frame of reference, weíve done vacation riding in Tahoe, Big Bear Lake CA, and Sedona. Tahoe Rim Trail from the Meadows to Marlette Lake was hard for me, both technically and due to distance. In Big Bear, Skyline Trail is a great challenge still, I have to walk some bits but can ride most of it. In Sedona my favorite trail was Chuckwagon, I walked some sections.

    Going to Park City to ride in a few weeks, the later this year St George UT and back to Sedona and Big Bear. Iíll have a few days of mtb in Santa Cruz next April and I have a road race in Albuquerque next June, hope to tack some MTB in New Mexico onto that trip. Oh yeah and Iím doing a womenís mtb clinic in Mammoth Lakes CA this summer. That plus local trails, hopefully Iíll have some more skills by Labor Day 2019. But Iím so not-bold that progress is slow...

    Input would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    1. Yes, bigger and better than every other bike park, with trails ranging from easy to insane and everything in between. Recommend a lesson of some sort to wrap your head around a different style of riding, you should be here for the last women's night (every Monday and Wednesday night women's clinics) in the bike park which usually turns in to quite a party.

    2. Yes embarc is a great location, upper village has its own amenities and its a short walk over to the main village, even free buses if you're too lazy to walk about 5 minutes. I don't know anything about embarc itself though, the outside looks nice.

    3. Yes lots of locals don't even ride the park there's more trails around town than the bike park. Also your husband doesn't really need to shuttle you anywhere you can ride to all the trails pretty easily. I live a couple miles from where you're staying and only drive if I'm actually leaving whistler to ride. Although, the neighboring towns Pemberton (30 minute drive north) and Squamish (40ish south) have awesome riding too, I feel there's a case to be made that Squamish has better trails than Whistler (different at least). I don't really know what to recommend because I don't know any of those trails you reference

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin267 View Post
    1. Yes, bigger and better than every other bike park, with trails ranging from easy to insane and everything in between. Recommend a lesson of some sort to wrap your head around a different style of riding, you should be here for the last women's night (every Monday and Wednesday night women's clinics) in the bike park which usually turns in to quite a party.

    2. Yes embarc is a great location, upper village has its own amenities and its a short walk over to the main village, even free buses if you're too lazy to walk about 5 minutes. I don't know anything about embarc itself though, the outside looks nice.

    3. Yes lots of locals don't even ride the park there's more trails around town than the bike park. Also your husband doesn't really need to shuttle you anywhere you can ride to all the trails pretty easily. I live a couple miles from where you're staying and only drive if I'm actually leaving whistler to ride. Although, the neighboring towns Pemberton (30 minute drive north) and Squamish (40ish south) have awesome riding too, I feel there's a case to be made that Squamish has better trails than Whistler (different at least). I don't really know what to recommend because I don't know any of those trails you reference
    Ok thanks. I booked the place today.

    Iíll have to figure out bike logistics- shipping my bike vs renting one up there.

    My first thought was to fly up to Vancouver and stay a couple of nights there prior to Whistler. But should I consider one of those other mtb towns you mention? Realistically it would just be a night or two, might not be worth it just to get in one ride.

    If I decide to ship my bike, do you have any leads as to a shop I might be able to ship to that could accept delivery and assemble the bike for me?

  4. #4
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    In my limited bike travel experience I really like not having to deal with the hassle transport and preferred rental, unless it's a road trip. In Whistler the options are endless for rentals.

    I'd say it depends on your transportation, shuttles and buses between Whistler and Vancouver can be straight forward, adding a stop in Squamish I guess would make it more tricky, I wouldn't want to bother. If you'll have a vehicle just making a day trip would be better there's no need to stay in Pemberton or Squamish they're pretty close.

    Lots of great shops, my go to is Bike Co.

    Arbutus routes is good and right by where you are staying so that would make things easier too.

  5. #5
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    If you find Chuckwagon in Sedona about right for difficulty ( ie walking some stuff) you're a Whistler green. Blues you can do but you'll find them hard. Highline is a Whistler blue. Hangover is a Whistler black. Whiteline would be a double black.

    Too many trails to mention within a 15 minute spin from your door. Warm up at Lost Lake and see how you go feom there.

    Take a lesson at the bike park. Hire kevin. You'll learn tons
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeL View Post
    If you find Chuckwagon in Sedona about right for difficulty ( ie walking some stuff) you're a Whistler green. Blues you can do but you'll find them hard. Highline is a Whistler blue. Hangover is a Whistler black. Whiteline would be a double black.

    Too many trails to mention within a 15 minute spin from your door. Warm up at Lost Lake and see how you go feom there.

    Take a lesson at the bike park. Hire kevin. You'll learn tons
    Hmm. Well that doesnít sound very fun. If 90% of the trails are going to be too hard for me, maybe I should just go somewhere else. This trip would already involve a flight and bike rental vs something I can drive to with my own bike and find more trails at my level. Itís a lot of trouble to go to just to ride the dregs of a place.

  7. #7
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    I don't think it's nearly that bad. I've taken my wife, who is on the beginner level, there a few times and she's had a load of fun.

    There really are a lot trails for everyone at Whistler. We are going there again this August and I'm sure that the whole family will find fun trails.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    I don't think it's nearly that bad. I've taken my wife, who is on the beginner level, there a few times and she's had a load of fun.

    There really are a lot trails for everyone at Whistler. We are going there again this August and I'm sure that the whole family will find fun trails.
    Interestingly, a guide/instructor who I rode with in Scotland just put up a YouTube video of a trip he did- to Whistler! It was pretty informative, gave a good overview of what to expect. But mostly it was helpful, I shot him a message that I had this Whistler trip book but was waffling on it. His opinion is thereís plenty of blue and green fun stuff that I could ride. Gave it two thumbs up.

  9. #9
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    I'm entirely unsure where you got the impression you'd be limited in riding. A casual glance at trailforks show over 100 blue green trails in Whistler
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeL View Post
    I'm entirely unsure where you got the impression you'd be limited in riding. A casual glance at trailforks show over 100 blue green trails in Whistler
    Well, actually your reply indicated that I'm at a Whistler green level and that the blue stuff would be challenging for me. So I might do some blue trails on my vacation but pushing limits while riding solo in an unfamiliar place is not always the smartest move. And my assumption is that more advanced riders are gonna be bombing down the blue trails in the mountain bike park and just stopping to walk something tricky is more dangerous (as relates to other riders) than on wild/natural trails where you have a greater chance people are out riding to enjoy the trail/envirnoment rather than to rip down a trail.

    In Trailforks, I see a total of 356 trails of all levels. 31 of them are green. And I would guess some percentage of the green trails are connector type roads, rather than trails you'd ride because they're beautiful or fun.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    Well, actually your reply indicated that I'm at a Whistler green level and that the blue stuff would be challenging for me. So I might do some blue trails on my vacation but pushing limits while riding solo in an unfamiliar place is not always the smartest move. And my assumption is that more advanced riders are gonna be bombing down the blue trails in the mountain bike park and just stopping to walk something tricky is more dangerous (as relates to other riders) than on wild/natural trails where you have a greater chance people are out riding to enjoy the trail/envirnoment rather than to rip down a trail.

    In Trailforks, I see a total of 356 trails of all levels. 31 of them are green. And I would guess some percentage of the green trails are connector type roads, rather than trails you'd ride because they're beautiful or fun.
    I'll throw my 2 cents in. If you walked sections of Chuckwagon, I'm going to define you as a strong beginner/low intermediate technically as applied to riding coastal BC (N.Van/Squamish/Whistler/Pemberton). These areas are the highest concentration of technical trails you'll find anywhere.

    In my opinion, for a bike specific vacation, meaning your daily focus is on riding 3+ hours, these areas are best suited to strong intermediates willing to push their limits or advanced/expert riders.

    That is not to say there aren't plenty of trails for beginner/intermediates in Whistler, there are, but again, in my opinion, the area is tailored to stronger technical riders, which is the focus of most of the trails. So I guess my summary would be, a fit beginner/intermediate rider, prepared to ride lots, day after day, is likely going blow through the easier trails pretty quickly. I think the area is better suited to beginner/intermediate riders looking to add some riding to a Whistler vacation, enjoying what the village has to offer, and adding a ride here and there.

    Here are few things I would recommend, you can decided how that might fit into how your vacation wants to play out

    1) Bike park. A day or maybe a couple half days, or maybe 2 days. Get a rental big bike, get padded up and enjoy. Plenty of blue/green trails that are enjoyed by all levels. Especially the flow/jump trails, there are no mandatory gaps, you can ride them as slow as you want, speeding up as you get more comfortable.

    2) Roam around lost lake trails, Cut'yer bars and maybe try 'A river runs through it'. While the later is technically a black diamond, its a cool trail, close to town, lots of traffic, not major elevation (so crazy descents). Even ride out and come back on Flank Trail, some nice views.

    3) If you have the fitness, TRY, TRY, TRY to find a riding partner (or be bold and go solo, there should be plenty of traffic that time of year) and do Into the Mystic/Lord of the Squirrels. It's an epic ride, but give a quick google.

    4) Go ride around the Cheakmus river area. Some nice views around the river.

    5) If you have a vehicle and your husband will shuttle, take a day trip into Squamish, get him to shuttle you up to the top of Garbaldi, do Meadow of the Grizzly, Half Nelson, maybe some others. Let him go for a beer at Backcountry Brewing while you explore after the shuttle up.

    So again, plenty to do, just plan and preparing properly is the key. Again, the mixed opinions here are that the majority of riding is tough, so you aren't going to really experience what the area is tailored to, what a strong rider might. But still plenty of fun to be had.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    I'll throw my 2 cents in. If you walked sections of Chuckwagon, I'm going to define you as a strong beginner/low intermediate technically as applied to riding coastal BC (N.Van/Squamish/Whistler/Pemberton). These areas are the highest concentration of technical trails you'll find anywhere.

    In my opinion, for a bike specific vacation, meaning your daily focus is on riding 3+ hours, these areas are best suited to strong intermediates willing to push their limits or advanced/expert riders.

    That is not to say there aren't plenty of trails for beginner/intermediates in Whistler, there are, but again, in my opinion, the area is tailored to stronger technical riders, which is the focus of most of the trails. So I guess my summary would be, a fit beginner/intermediate rider, prepared to ride lots, day after day, is likely going blow through the easier trails pretty quickly. I think the area is better suited to beginner/intermediate riders looking to add some riding to a Whistler vacation, enjoying what the village has to offer, and adding a ride here and there.

    Here are few things I would recommend, you can decided how that might fit into how your vacation wants to play out

    1) Bike park. A day or maybe a couple half days, or maybe 2 days. Get a rental big bike, get padded up and enjoy. Plenty of blue/green trails that are enjoyed by all levels. Especially the flow/jump trails, there are no mandatory gaps, you can ride them as slow as you want, speeding up as you get more comfortable.

    2) Roam around lost lake trails, Cut'yer bars and maybe try 'A river runs through it'. While the later is technically a black diamond, its a cool trail, close to town, lots of traffic, not major elevation (so crazy descents). Even ride out and come back on Flank Trail, some nice views.

    3) If you have the fitness, TRY, TRY, TRY to find a riding partner (or be bold and go solo, there should be plenty of traffic that time of year) and do Into the Mystic/Lord of the Squirrels. It's an epic ride, but give a quick google.

    4) Go ride around the Cheakmus river area. Some nice views around the river.

    5) If you have a vehicle and your husband will shuttle, take a day trip into Squamish, get him to shuttle you up to the top of Garbaldi, do Meadow of the Grizzly, Half Nelson, maybe some others. Let him go for a beer at Backcountry Brewing while you explore after the shuttle up.

    So again, plenty to do, just plan and preparing properly is the key. Again, the mixed opinions here are that the majority of riding is tough, so you aren't going to really experience what the area is tailored to, what a strong rider might. But still plenty of fun to be had.
    Thanks for the specifics, I think what you're saying is kind of the vibe I'm getting: Whistler is geared toward a more advanced rider than me and it might not be quite what I'm looking for from a vacation. I'm really looking for epically beautiful and not getting hurt. My primary goal for the trip would *not* to expand my mtb skills except as a side effect of doing some enjoyable rides. If I could be sure I could get good instruction, I'd be open to riding with an instructor one day but I've been down that path before and so far my experience is the quality of instruction varies widely- so I'm not sure I'd want to spend my money on a random instructor. But mostly- I don't want to ruin a vacation by breaking my clavicle, spending a bunch of time dealing with that, being unable to fly home on schedule due to fear of a pulmonary embolus post op etc. Not worth it to me.

    That said, I don't really hesitate to ride solo when I go places. I rode around 60 solo miles in a week in Sedona. I just get off the bike when necessary, no biggie. Looking at Lord of the Mystic/Into the Squirrels, that looks right up my alley as far as scenery goes. A bit of a tough ride with 3000 ft of climbing, but I commonly go out solo and ride 20ish miles with 2500ish ft of climbing on the MTB so its not too much of a stretch from that perspective. What's the reason to find someone to ride with for that one?

    I'm still torn on whether to keep this trip but I have plenty of time still to figure it out. I don't have tons of mtb friends, with the road racing I kind of have to stick to a schedule that works for those goals and work the mtb in when I can. But I'm doing a women's clinic with some women from a local mtb group, maybe I will know more mtb people then and someone will want to join and stay in the spare room of our condo. If that were the case, everything changes because I'd be willing to puch a few morw limits. And I might be way better at mtb then- I have a new confidence-inspiring bike, and the trip is more than a year away. So we'll see.

    In between now and then, I'll be riding in Park City, St George Utah and Sedona (again). I can easily swap the Whistler trip out for Park City if I find I really like that. Or just go back to Tahoe and ride with my coach who lives up there. I've also been wanting to get up to Bend. Plenty of options, if Whistler is not the right fit for me, I have other places I can go.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    Thanks for the specifics, I think what you're saying is kind of the vibe I'm getting: Whistler is geared toward a more advanced rider than me and it might not be quite what I'm looking for from a vacation. I'm really looking for epically beautiful and not getting hurt. My primary goal for the trip would *not* to expand my mtb skills except as a side effect of doing some enjoyable rides. If I could be sure I could get good instruction, I'd be open to riding with an instructor one day but I've been down that path before and so far my experience is the quality of instruction varies widely- so I'm not sure I'd want to spend my money on a random instructor. But mostly- I don't want to ruin a vacation by breaking my clavicle, spending a bunch of time dealing with that, being unable to fly home on schedule due to fear of a pulmonary embolus post op etc. Not worth it to me.

    That said, I don't really hesitate to ride solo when I go places. I rode around 60 solo miles in a week in Sedona. I just get off the bike when necessary, no biggie. Looking at Lord of the Mystic/Into the Squirrels, that looks right up my alley as far as scenery goes. A bit of a tough ride with 3000 ft of climbing, but I commonly go out solo and ride 20ish miles with 2500ish ft of climbing on the MTB so its not too much of a stretch from that perspective. What's the reason to find someone to ride with for that one?

    I'm still torn on whether to keep this trip but I have plenty of time still to figure it out. I don't have tons of mtb friends, with the road racing I kind of have to stick to a schedule that works for those goals and work the mtb in when I can. But I'm doing a women's clinic with some women from a local mtb group, maybe I will know more mtb people then and someone will want to join and stay in the spare room of our condo. If that were the case, everything changes because I'd be willing to puch a few morw limits. And I might be way better at mtb then- I have a new confidence-inspiring bike, and the trip is more than a year away. So we'll see.

    In between now and then, I'll be riding in Park City, St George Utah and Sedona (again). I can easily swap the Whistler trip out for Park City if I find I really like that. Or just go back to Tahoe and ride with my coach who lives up there. I've also been wanting to get up to Bend. Plenty of options, if Whistler is not the right fit for me, I have other places I can go.
    Only reason i said to find someone to ride with on Lord of the Squirrels is that somewhere i got the impression you were not 100% comfortable riding big epics alone. If you went to Whistler, i just highly recommend it. And its about 4500ft of climbing, you need to get up to the start which adds atleast another 1000-1500 ft.

    But yes, Whistler is geared towards strong technical riders to really take advantage of what it has to offer. It would not be on my recommended destinations for people still advancing their technical skills. Breckenridge, Bend, Durango, etc.....many other places to get big, beautiful rides that are more accessible for all riders

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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    Only reason i said to find someone to ride with on Lord of the Squirrels is that somewhere i got the impression you were not 100% comfortable riding big epics alone. If you went to Whistler, i just highly recommend it. And its about 4500ft of climbing, you need to get up to the start which adds atleast another 1000-1500 ft.

    But yes, Whistler is geared towards strong technical riders to really take advantage of what it has to offer. It would not be on my recommended destinations for people still advancing their technical skills. Breckenridge, Bend, Durango, etc.....many other places to get big, beautiful rides that are more accessible for all riders

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    Oh yeah... Breckenridge. That's the first place I ever tried a mtb- exactly two years ago yesterday according to Facebook. I was visiting a friend who used to live there- he lent me a mtb and so it began. Tons of good timeshare options there. Another really good possibility.

  15. #15
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    I have trouble picturing an enthusiastic mountain biker not enjoying Whistler. Also with instruction, probably some of the highest quality options around. Lee recommended me which is nice, I'm not one to toot my own horn and also am pretty well booked up the whole season (although September is easier) but I've been guiding/coaching/instructing here for 8 summers now with the Whistler bike park, the Pemberton high school and big mountain bike adventures. Can help guide you in the right direction if that's what you're after.

    And I think a recommendation that hasn't been discussed too much is doing some riding in Squamish as well as Whistler as there's amazing riding in the less gnarly realm there too. Something like 2 days Squamish 2 days Whistler 2 days bike park would be sweet. Maybe throw in Pemberton too. Heck, if spectacular scenery and non dare devil trails is what you want take on a tyax adventures trip in the chilcotins as well, some of the most spectacular riding anywhere.
    Last edited by kevin267; 06-26-2018 at 01:34 PM.

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    As someone who spends a couple weekends each summer at Whistler and is very much an intermediate rider, Whistler is awesome (and I haven't even hit the bike park yet). Since we're usually up for just 2 or 3 days, we usually hit Lost Lake trails one day and the Cheakamus River trails the other. Both of those are a ton of fun for an intermediate rider. We've done some other rides too, such as riding the road up Kadenwood and then trails down to Cheakamus--all Whistler blue trails, some very fun and fast, some a bit more than we could handle, but even that was still fun, and never felt dangerous. Haven't done Lord of the Squirrels yet--we put the kids in bike park lessons and we weren't confident we had the time to do that ride between drop off and pick up.

    If we were staying a week with a focus on biking, I'd probably try the bike park one or two days (take a lesson, all the instructors our kids have had have been great), and hit Squamish as well. But there's plenty of other stuff to do also. Hiking either on Whistler/Blackcomb or elsewhere in the valley, canoes and such on Alta Lake and plenty of other things (my wife would recommend Scandinave Spa). Yes, there are plenty of trails that are geared to strong technical riders, but there is definitely enough there to have an absolute blast riding and not get bored. I'd keep your booking for sure.

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    Whistler is awesome, and pretty much anywhere in Village is good to stay if you're on bike! We stay close to Blackcomb side usually, condo near golf course is a short ride to Lost Lake trails.
    Our crew has been going for last few years, stay almost 10 days, and never step into the park except for TOTW.
    Lost Lakes would be great for you to get into the groove. Beginner wide gravel paths to warm up, then turn off onto some blue trails, some with wood features. It's also well travelled and fairly compact so you'll likely see others if you need assistance and its not too long a haul if you need to hike it out. We usually hit up Lost Lakes as our shake down when we arrive and assemble bikes, and for easy recovery days.
    I highly recommend Squamish for "wilder" trails in the sense they feel more foresty and jungly. Everyone recommends the flow trail Nelson/Half Nelson when you first ask about Squamish, but honestly we enjoy the other trails more.

    Whislter's got more chunky edged rocks, Squamish is smoother.

    For epic rides, the Lord of the Squirrels is pretty awseome, ride up into the alpine and enjoy the scenery! It's a haul though. Just take it easy on the downhill and you should be fine. Riding alone is generally not advised from the standpoint of if something happens. The epic rides take you into more remote areas so its a good idea to have someone else around. There's wildlife to consider too. I haven't encountered any bears there, but fresh signs, and seen them near village. but again safety in numbers is good idea.

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    Well, I wound up cancelling the timeshare booking that I made. Not so much that Im dead set against Whistler but I had the opportunity to change next years Whistler reservation at no cost to a reservation in a 2BR condo in Sedona over Thanksgiving of this year. Since I know and like Sedona mtb that seemed like a reasonable swap.

    I am just back from Park City which was pretty much perfect for me. We liked it so much that we bought a summer timeshare we can use every even year, weíll for sure go back to Park City in 2020. But liked it enough that we might go back next summer. Bend and Tahoe are also on the short list. Whistler right now is lower priority, it might be a little over my abilities. But lol even the bike park employees that I was chatting with in Park City were telling me to go to Whistler over Park City.

    I have a womanís mtb clinic in Mammoth Lakes CA this weekend, though. Weíll see if I start to feel more bold after that.

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    Well, hell, I'm too late, I see you've cancelled your res to BC.

    My non-bold beginner gf and I are hitting Squamish next month...; there's just too many beautiful riding options around for her not to have a good time!
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodchips View Post
    Well, hell, I'm too late, I see you've cancelled your res to BC.

    My non-bold beginner gf and I are hitting Squamish next month...; there's just too many beautiful riding options around for her not to have a good time!
    Well please post back and let me know how she likes it. Once I get more timeshare allotment Jan 1, I can make another trade. Its likely that Whistler will still be available then, so if it seems promising, I could probably still book a unit.

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    Will do... trip is at the end of August, so expect something beg of Sep.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    Well please post back and let me know how she likes it. Once I get more timeshare allotment Jan 1, I can make another trade. Its likely that Whistler will still be available then, so if it seems promising, I could probably still book a unit.
    Unfortunately, she broke her arm 3wks before the trip, and was not able to ride.
    2019 Salsa Cutthroat Rival 1
    2017 Santa Cruz TB3 CS

    https://www.strava.com/athletes/11152127

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