Mountain biking holiday in Whistler Valley, Canada
A mountain biking holiday in Whistler immediately conjures up images of the world-famous bike park, but there’s so much more to riding in Whistler than full-face helmets and body armour…
So, what’s mountain biking in Whistler really like?
This mountain biking holiday in Whistler is a trip-of-a-lifetime, during which you’ll discover all the faces of mountain biking in this part of Canada. In the Whistler Valley and mountains around Squamish you’ll experience some of the most mind-blowing, spine-tingling trails that will challenge your biking skills, but also leave you sore from grinning from ear-to-ear!
Whistler is the home of Crankworx, the most iconic bike park in the world, and, arguably, some of the best natural mountain bike trails in the world. It also happens to be located on the spectacular “Sea to Sky” road, which links Whistler to other incredible biking spots in this part of British Columbia.
On this week-long mountain biking extravaganza in BC you’ll start with a day riding the beautiful, flowing singletrack of Squamish, where you’ll learn a few skills and tips from your local guide, before graduating to the natural, technical trails in the Whistler Valley.
And where else can you get a helicopter to drop you at the top of Rainbow Mountain to ride into a 10-mile descent?!
You’ll have the option to spend half a day soaking up the atmosphere and riding the iconic trails of the bike park, then soak your aching muscles in the Scandinave Spa. On the last day of your epic mountain biking holiday in Whistler you’ll take on the “Top of the World” trail, part of the Crankworx enduro route, which will bring into play everything you’ve learned over the past week of unforgettable mountain biking in British Columbia!
Our mountain biking holiday in Whistler is for advanced mountain bikers with level 4 fitness, and to find out what this means, read the explanation of our skill and fitness levels.
Tour dates 2014
- 6 – 13 July 2014 ONLY 3 PLACES REMAINING!
- 14 – 21 September 2014
Whistler tour diary, by Euan Wilson, H&I Adventures owner
The air stewardess announces over the intercom that we will be arriving in Vancouver international airport in 30 minutes…
As my thoughts turn to riding my bike in the world-famous playground of the Whistler valley, out of the clouds appears the vast expanse of British Columbia and the mountains that make up our playground for the coming week.
With my nose pressed against the window, staring in awe at the mountain range stretching out before me, for what feels like two minutes, we touchdown and a round of applause goes up from a group of travelers behind me. I am not overly impressed at landing, after all that is what our trusty pilot is being paid to do, but I will give my own personal round of applause when I am reunited with my bike and luggage in baggage reclaim. And applaud I did, to strange looks from the rest of the passengers, little did they know that my baby was in that big Evoc bag.
Vancouver has recently been voted the best city in the world in which to live, so I am interested to find out why. It doesn’t take long to work it out: stunning back-drop, international flight connections, diverse community, impressive houses and a bustling harbor area, not to mention you are an hour away from some of the best mountain biking in the world!
Once all the group has assembled, we make that one-hour journey up the Sea-to-Sky highway to the Whistler valley. En-route we are dumbstruck by the true beauty that presents itself around every corner, and we are not even out of the van yet!
Before we know it we arrive at our accommodation for the week, a stunning mountain chalet with its own hot tub, but check-in and bike build must come first before we soak our travel-weary limbs with a cold beer, then dinner in town.
First day and first ride. The weather is amazing; hot, sunny and calm. We pack the van and trailer and head down to Squamish, a very well know trail system that is flowing and very rewarding for the effort put in – perfect for a first day ride, and the first check on the must-do-list of any mountain biker visiting British Columbia.
After a great dinner in a local pub that houses its very own brewery and impressive selection of beers, we bed down for the night to prepare for the next two days of exploring the Whistler valley trails.
Over to next two days we criss-cross the valley weaving in and out of the forest on delightful singletrack punctuated with some fire road climbs and hidden trail entrances. We are trying hard to keep track of which trails we have been on, but with names such as ‘Comfortably numb’ and ‘Emerald Lake’, we just decide to concentrate on having a great time and letting Shaun, our guide, worry about the trail names.
For our fifth day, we don’t need to remember any trails names, all we need to remember is that this is helibiking day! As we leave our chalet and roll down to the helicopter launch pad, the mood is one of big smiles, but little talking – I think we are just a little apprehensive and very excited! We are dropped at 2000m, high on the flanks of the Whistler valley in a blur of rotor blades, wind, photographs, laughter and wide eyes. Our bikes are awaiting our arrival. So we take our last pictures of the helicopter as it disappears out of sight and saddle up, now for the fun bit…
We drop 1400m in a ten-mile descent of flowing trail that will see us riding the Alpine and dropping into the thick forest and popping out at a stunning valley lake where we will take a dip and cool off. Would that be the third item ticked off our must-do-list?! I think so, what a day…
After the mind-blowing day yesterday, we enjoy a long breakfast, re-filling our coffee cups a few more times than normal, eating that extra croissant on the table and sharing pictures from the trip so far, before we hit the bike park trails for the first time on this trip. They have been present all the time, teasing us to come and have a go, so today we head up there with our guide. He leads us around two runs of the trail-bike trails – no need for body armor and full face helmets here, just fun, flowing trails! To follow on from the chilled nature of the day so far, we decided it was only polite to make a visit to the Scandinavian Spa for a few hours in the late afternoon. Life is hard around here! And four and five ticked off the must-do-list!
As we rise for breakfast the next day, I realise that this is day seven and our final riding day, but no need to be sad as this is ‘Top of the world’ day. We’re dropped at the very top of Whistler mountain by the cable car system, at the highest point on the mountain, and that can only mean one thing: everything from here is downhill!
This trail turns out to be a feast of mountain biking, aptly named ‘Top of the world’ for more than one reason. Tick six!
All that is left now is to wash up, pack bikes, get changed and head into town for our farewell dinner in a local restaurant, and maybe a couple of beers. A good night is had by all, recounting the week’s thrills and spills, running over each others pictures, sharing email addresses and promising each other that we will meet up again soon for another mountain bike adventure.
In the morning we eat breakfast with slightly cloudy heads, but manage to feed the hangover monster in our stomaches, ready for the long journey back to real life.
Whistler Mountain Biking Holiday Itinerary
Your mountain bike guide will greet you at Vancouver airport and transfer you to your chalet accommodation in Whistler village.
When we arrive at our home-from-home we’ll build and tune bikes, settle in, and then relax in the jacuzzi. Depending on your arrival time, we may be able to fit in a short warm-up ride.
In the evening we’ll head into town to have dinner and a few beers in one of the many great local restaurants.
After a hearty breakfast prepared by your hosts, we’ll gather in the bike garage to get ready for your first big day on the bike in BC. Your expert local guide will start off with a short skills training session to ensure that everyone has the confidence and ability to make the most of their time in Whistler. You’ll cover skills like braking efficiently, riding roots, cornering and tackling drops and rock rolls.
When everyone’s ready to rock we’ll drive out to Squamish (app. 45 minutes) along the Sea to Sky highway to ride some of the most luscious and flowing trails you’ve ever ridden!
On our first ride in Whistler we’ll pedal straight from our accommodation, then after 200m peel off the cycle path onto pristine singletrack towards our goal of the Lost Lake. These trails are hand-built to perfection and lure us along challenging trails like “Yummy Numby”, then into mouth-watering descents such as “Comfortably Numb”.
We’ll have lunch in town, then cross the valley to see what the west side has to offer. These trails feel much more remote, with less bike traffic, and you’ll feel a million miles away from the buzz of the bike park. Fewer people to share these awesome trails with – bonus!
Unlike most movie sequels, your second day of riding in the Whistler Valley will be even better than the first, leaving you itching to see part III!
We’ll set off from our chalet and discover more technical climbs and tricky descents, as well as that beautiful, flowing singletrack that we all love so much! You’ll weave through forests of cedar as wide as a small family car, down short ladder bridges, and rolling over rocks. No matter what you like to ride, there’s something for everyone today!
At the end of the day we can drop into Olympic Park at the heart of Whistler village and enjoy some delicious pastries from the local bakery, whilst watching life roll by.
Today is a real wish-list day! After breakfast we’ll load bikes and gear into the van and head to the helicopter launch pad. When we arrive we’ll get our cameras ready, set our GoPros to record and climb aboard for the most exhilarating bike uplift service ever!
The chopper will drop us at the top of Rainbow Mountain, and from there, the only way is down! This trail will push us 1400m down the mountain on a descent that lasts for 10 miles, through classic British Columbian alpine singletrack. We’ll breach the tree line and swoop further down the western slopes of the Whistler Valley, ending at Alta Lake.
Alta Lake offers a refreshing end to this epic descent and you’ll be happy to take a plunge in the emerald waters, before we hit the pub to celebrate this most memorable day on the bike.
Today you have the option of taking a break from the bike and having a day off to do as much or as little as you want.
You could choose to spend a morning at the bike park, experiencing the fast, flowing, grin-inducing mountain biking trails, followed by an afternoon in the Scandinave Spa to soothe your aching muscles in the hot baths and steam. A day’s lift pass is CAD$61 and the spa experience starts from CAD$58.
You can, of course, just chill in town or at the bike park, doing some people-watching, or read a book and spend time in the jacuzzi at your chalet – it’s up to you!
This is your final day of riding in Whistler, and we’ve saved the best ’til last!
Our uplift service of choice today will be the chair lift and gondola, which will take us to the top of Whistler mountain, to a height of 2181m. The view at the top will take your breath away as you gaze over dazzling glaciers, majestic mountains, emerald green lakes, and seemingly endless forests.
After taking numerous photos we get down to the business of tackling one of the trails that make up the CrankWorx enduro route. This trail lures us from high in the alpine, through imposing cedar forests, before finally spitting us out at the Whistler Brewing Company for a celebratory beer tasting session!
We’ll enjoy our final meal together in the Alta Bistro and toast an unforgettable week of mountain biking in Whistler and BC.
Sadly, today we pack our bikes, say our farewells and return you to Vancouver airport for your journey home.
Whistler Mountain Biking Holiday Price
£1,720 / $2,924 USD per person (ex. flights, based on two people sharing a room)
A single supplement of £375/ $638 will be payable should a single room be requested.
H&I Adventures is bonded by the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), so you can be sure that when you book with us your money will be safe.
- Seven nights’ chalet accommodation
- Seven breakfasts
- Airport transfers on first and last days of tour
- The services of an experienced, professional local mountain bike guide for the duration of the trip
- Lift pass to Top of the World trail
- Final night meal
- All group safety equipment
- Flights to and from Canada
- Travel and activity insurance
- Personal safety and cycling equipment
- Bike hire – we can arrange hire of a full suspension bike at a cost of £220 / $374 USD for the duration of the trip
- Lift ticket for bike park – CAD$61 per day, payable on-site
- Spa experience – from CAD$58, payable on-site
- Lunches and dinners (except final night dinner) – you should budget $35CAD per day
- Alcoholic beverages
- Any other items not listed as included
Arrival and departure details
Your mountain bike adventure in Whistler will start and end at Vancouver airport. Your guide and/or driver will meet you in the arrivals area of Vancouver airport and he/she will be holding an H&I Adventures sign. We require you to be at Vancouver airport, ready for pick-up no later than 1pm on arrival day.
Travelling to Canada
Riders travelling from Europe can fly direct to Vancouver international airport. Here is a selection of airlines that operate service to/from Vancouver: British Airways, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, KLM.
If you would like help booking your flights, our partners Flight Centre will work with you directly, with our support, to plan your travel itinerary and book your flights. We will advise Flight Centre of your chosen itinerary and from there, they will use their expertise to find you the most suitable flights at competitive prices.
You must book your bike on to your flight in advance, otherwise you could face a heavy charge at the airport. Here are some handy hints and tips on travelling by air with your bike.
Preparing yourself and your bike for the trip
Please read the full kit list before you start packing for your mountain bike tour in Whistler, Canada, to make sure that you have everything you need!
Our mountain biking holiday in British Columbia in Canada, is for advanced mountain bikers with level 4 fitness, and to find out what this means, read the explanation of our skill and fitness levels.
The ideal bike for your Whistler and BC mountain bike adventure is a good quality full-suspension mountain bike with around 150mm of travel front and rear.
To get the most out of your mountain biking holiday in Whistler you should plan some training in advance of your tour, and it is essential that you ensure that your bike has been properly serviced before the trip.
Accommodation and food
One of the things that sets our holidays apart from other mountain bike tours around the world is the excellent accommodation we use, and our mountain biking holiday in Whistler is no exception. We understand that when you’ve had a big day in the saddle on the Whistler trails, you want a warm welcome, hot shower and a comfortable place to relax and unwind – and there’s no better place to relax than in mountain chalet just outside Whistler village.
Our mountain chalet in Whistler is comfortable and comes complete with a hot tub and bike garage and workshop, to ensure that you and your bike are well looked-after!
You will enjoy delicious meals and snacks, in the best local restaurants and bars in Whistler village, and a few beers at the Yukon Brewing Company.
Our mountain bike guides in Whistler
Our mountain bike guides are qualified to the very highest level in Canada. This includes first-aid and for this type of trip they also hold a wilderness expedition leader award, which means that they have the knowledge and experience to lead a group safely in these remote, wild parts of Canada.
In addition to formal qualifications, our guides have years of experience in the saddle on the Whistler trails and will be able to enhance your holiday with facts and fables on local history, flora and fauna.
The team is made up of local riders who are experts in their fields, superb local guides and genuinely nice people. Their passion for mountain biking and for British Columbia is truly infectious and they’re completely committed to responsible tourism and making sure that our business is run as sustainably as possible.
Health and safety in Whistler
- No special vaccinations are required for visiting Canada
- Whistler is a vibrant, natural habitat for many species of wildlife, including bears. Your guide has many years of experience and wilderness training in the Whistler environment, so you MUST follow his instructions at all times while mountain biking in the area
- Your guide is a trained first-aider/first-responder, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you are managing your own health and safety at all times on your mountain bike holiday with us
Currency and foreign exchange
The currency in Canada is the Canadian dollar (CAD), which, in 2013, was almost equivalent in value to USD.
There are cash machines and banks in Whistler village, which you will be able to access every day.
It is not compulsory to tip your guides and drivers in Canada, but if you feel you have had a good experience on your mountain biking holiday in Whistler, you can tip at your discretion.
Visitors from certain countries require a visa to holiday in Canada. Please check www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/ visas.asp before booking your mountain bike holiday in Whistler.
You are required as a condition of booking to be insured against medical and personal accident risks. In this policy you must include cover for mountain biking and we recommend that you take out a policy which covers cancellation and baggage.
We work closely with WorldNomads whose policies are specially designed for mountain bike holidays. You can arrange your insurance cover directly with them and we ask that you send us your policy details.
Please note: if you have arranged your own holiday insurance, you must bring a copy of your policy with you on your mountain bike holiday with us.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) for our mountain biking holiday in Whistler
Q. How many people will be in the group?
A. We only run small group adventures to ensure that everyone has the best experience possible, and there will be a maximum of ten people in each group. The minimum number of people we require to run our mountain bike holiday in Whistler is four.
Q. What’s the age range of people who come on this trip?
A. Our mountain bike vacation in Whistler caters for a wide age range; typically between 30- and 55-years-old, but age is simply a state of mind, as they say, and we welcome anyone over the age of 18! As long as you have a good level of physical fitness and good bike handling skills you will enjoy this mountain bike tour no matter what your age.
Q. What style of mountain biking holiday is it?
A.This mountain biking holiday in British Columbia is a guided mountain bike vacation, ideal for advanced mountain bikers. Riding here, in the mountain biking mecca of Whistler, you’ll experience some tough climbs and technical descents, with drop-offs and north shore, as well as miles and miles of lovely flowing singletrack through the high alpine, and in the world-famous Whistler bike park.
Q. How far will we be mountain biking each day?
A. The distances we cover each day range from 20km to 50km, in accordance with the technical difficulty of each trail. Each evening your guides will chat with you about the following day’s mountain biking and give you an idea of the sorts of trails you can look forward to. If there’s anything you feel anxious about, your guides will be happy to discuss it with you.
Q. What if I come across a section of trail that I can’t ride?
A. Your guide will be very happy to give you some bike skills training during your trip to help improve your confidence and your enjoyment of your Whistler mountain biking holiday. If there is a section that you would prefer not to ride, then you can simply hop off your bike and walk. You won’t be the only one to walk certain sections and it’s not a competition in biking ability; it’s a mountain bike holiday!
Q. Who will be guiding us?
A. Your mountain bike guides are local to Whistler and experienced professionals who have a real passion for mountain biking and for the culture and wild landscape of this region of Canada. Your safety is their number one priority, closely followed by your enjoyment of the tour. They will always be on-hand to answer any questions or requests you may have throughout your trip. You can meet your mountain bike guides on our ‘Why H&I Adventures page?’.
Q. What sort of accommodation will we be staying in?
A. On this mountain bike vacation in Whistler you will be staying in comfortable chalets in Whistler village. Bedrooms are spacious and well-equipped and there’s ajacuzzi and bike garage/workshop area for storing and fixing your bikes. You’ll be just a short walk from town where there are plenty of great bars and restaurants for dinner and relaxing in the evening.
Q. What will the weather be like in Whistler?
A. The weather in July and September in Whistler will be perfect for riding, with long sunny days and a temperature of around 20C/65F to 28C/82F most days. There is generally very little rain during the summer, but it’s wise to bring a rain jacket anyway.
Q. Which meals are included in the tour?
A. Breakfast is included each day and your evening meal on the final night is included also.
Q. What type of mountain bike is best for this trip?
A. A good quality full suspension mountain bike with 150mm travel front and rear will be ideal for this mountain bike vacation. The terrain you will be riding is rough in places and you will feel more comfortable on a full suspension bike for the duration of the trip. Tyre choice is also important for our mountain biking holiday in Whistler, particularly on the front, and you should have a high volume tyre, like a Hans Damf or similar.
If you wish to travel to Canada with your own bike, we have some handy tips on how to travel by air with your bike. We can also arrange bike hire for you for the duration of the trip at a cost of £220 / $374 per bike.
Q. What clothes and kit should I bring?
A. For details of all the kit required for your mountain biking holiday in Whistler please read the full kit list to find out what you need to pack for your mountain bike adventure in Whistler, Canada.
Q. Will I see bears?
A. There is a chance that you will see bears during your mountain biking holiday in Whistler. Your guide is fully wilderness trained and highly experienced at guiding groups of mountain bikers through the Whistler back country, and it is imperative that you follow the instructions of your guide at all times whilst out on the trails.
Booking your mountain biking holiday in Whistler with us couldn’t be simpler:
- Click the ‘Book now’ button, then select your preferred holiday dates
- Follow the simple steps to complete your online booking and pay a 25% non-refundable deposit
- The final balance for your mountain biking adventure is due 60 days in advance of the tour start date
You can add bike rental and travel insurance during the booking process also, then all you need to do is ride your bike and look forward to your fantastic mountain bike vacation with us!
Attention! Don’t forget to read our booking terms and conditions, BEFORE you complete the booking process!
Terms and conditions of booking a mountain bike holiday with H&I Adventures
Please take the time to read and understand the conditions of booking available in the link below prior to booking your mountain bike vacation with H&I Adventures.
We strongly recommend that you also read all the details set out in the web page relating to your holiday prior to booking to ensure that you understand the itinerary and style of the mountain biking holiday you are undertaking.
The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT) provides financial protection under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 for H&I Adventures Ltd, and in the event of their insolvency, protection is provided for the following:
1. non-flight packages commencing in and returning to the UK;
2. non-flight packages commencing and returning to a country other than the UK; and
3. flight inclusive packages that commence outside of the UK, which are sold to customers outside of the UK.
1, 2 and 3 provides for a refund in the event you have not yet travelled. 1 and 3 provide for repatriation. Please note that bookings made outside the UK are only protected by ABTOT when purchased directly with H&I Adventures Ltd.
You are required as a condition of booking to be insured against medical and personal accident risks. In this policy you must include cover for mountain biking and we recommend that you take out a policy which covers cancellation and baggage.
We work closely with WorldNomads.com whose policies are specially designed for mountain bike tours. You can arrange your insurance cover directly with them by visiting worldnomads.com and then we ask that you send us your policy details.
Please note: WorldNomads don’t cover for domestic travel, so for example, if you live in the UK and have booked on a holiday in Scotland, or you live in Canada and have booked our Yukon adventure, you cannot arrange an insurance policy with them.
You must bring a copy of your insurance policy with you on your holiday with us.
The following code of conduct is a guide to how we expect our customers to behave on our mountain biking holidays around the world. By observing them you will have a more enjoyable vacation and will gain the respect of the local people. We ask you to travel respectfully and pay attention to local rules and values.
Why do we have these guidelines?
During our mountain biking vacations we will be travelling through communities, homes and sensitive areas, and as a responsible tour operator we want our type of tourism to be sustainable and of reciprocal benefit to you and all of these communities. Over the years our guides and customers have made friends whilst travelling in these remote areas, and we don’t want any of these relationships to be compromised.
Respecting cultural differences
In the areas that we visit during our mountain bike holidays things may be done differently from where you live and work, which is why we love them, and why you are there. So when dealing with local people please accept their differences and respect their way of life. A traveller who is happy and converses with locals will have a much better experience and will leave a better impression than one who seeks fault.
There are a few general behaviour rules that apply throughout the world:
- Shouting at a member of waiting staff is frowned upon, a gentle hand signal is all that is required
- No smoking in any enclosed public places
- It is impolite to enter a store or restaurant and not say hello in the local language
- In most countries it is inappropriate to express anger in a raised voice. Becoming angry is embarrassing to the local people with whom you are dealing – they will not be embarrassed for themselves, but for you making a fool of yourself
The world is beginning to realise the impact that our waste management is having on our environment. We have identified the recycling points situated along the routes that we take during our mountain bike holidays, so we ask you to keep any rubbish that you may have, so we can dispose of it into the correct bins when we return to civilisation. There are bins for plastic bottles, paper, glass, aluminium cans and general rubbish.
When our guides are on the hill they will be picking up any litter that they come across, but more importantly, they will encourage you to do the same.
Packed lunches: some of the day rides during our adventures take place in very remote areas, where there are no food stops or support vehicle stops, so we need to carry our lunches with us. We ask the providers of these lunches not to use layers of packaging and when they need to, they use recycled paper bags or reusable containers.
Drinking water: before our holidays commence we supply you with a kit list, asking you to bring your own water carrying device, like a bladder or bottle that you can fill up at a designated place each day. We actively discourage the use of throw-away bottles. In some countries water can be taken from the taps and rivers that we will pass on our daily mountain bike rides, and the guides will be on hand to advise you and dispense purification tablets should they be needed.
Food and accommodation
Food is an integral part of any country’s identity. During our mountain biking holidays we will take you to a selection of hand-picked local restaurants and cafés that offer traditional dishes, created from locally-sourced produce. In using a selection of one-man-band cafés to top quality expensive seafood restaurants, we believe that we are distributing the tourism wealth fairly around the areas we visit.
In order for you to get the full ‘experience’ we use small family-run guesthouses, or bed and breakfasts that employ local workers, as far as is possible. If we have to use larger hotels, we opt for non-chain, locally-owned establishments.
Being a responsible traveller doesn’t finish at the end of your holiday…
We hope that during your travels with us through some of the wildest and remotest parts of the world you will have learned something from our guides and your experience, that you can take back home with you to your daily life.