Your Go-To-Guide to the Whistler Bike Park – Updated 2019
We know what you’re thinking – Whistler is for snow sports (and axe throwing). Every picture you’ve seen, video you’ve watched, or story you’ve heard has probably been about powdery days spent shredding the slopes on the mountains, but Whistler is so much more than that. In fact, it’s one of the top destinations for mountain biking in the world because of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, the number one lift-access downhill bike park in the world.
This bike park has 70 expertly-crafted trails that span over four distinct mountain zones. Translation: it’s like god’s gift to mountain bikers. In typical Whistler fashion, everyone of every skill level is encouraged to give the extreme sport a try, but it’s important that you get a few things squared away first. Make sure you’ve got the basic need-to-know details about mountain biking, take a class or (or three, you can’t be too careful), and figure out the best spots to rent gear thanks to our comprehensive mountain biking guide.
Seriously, consult the guide lest you end up in some serious blooper reels on your family vacation video (you’ll want to read to the end of this guide, trust us). After all, you want to come off the mountain in one piece, so you can hit an Apres.
The Need-to-Know Details
Before you can even think about packing up all your gear (do you even have gear yet?), it’s important you know some of the most basic details about the Whistler Bike Park itself – cost, for example, that’s a pretty important detail. Because the downhill park operates on a lift system, the prices are typically listed as lift prices (so reminiscent of skiing or boarding, right?).
Whistler Bike Park Opening Date 2019: May 19
Whistler Bike Park Closing Date 2019: October 8
Bike Park Day Tickets:
Bike Park Passes:
|$710 – $830|
|10-Day Pass||$480 – $545|
|5-Day Pass||$300 – $340|
|TOTW||$300 – $340|
|Twighlight||$300 – $340|
There are also two day ticket options for those not quite ready to commit, or may be time restricted. The first is the Sampler for $38. This fully-upgradeable ticket is worth 3 runs. The perfect choice for those with a short time, or looking to test the bike park out. The second ticket option is the Extended Play lift pass for $58. Ride from 3:30 PM to park close for a more affordable rate.
Hot local tip: if you’re looking for parking, the best value is parking at Creekside where it’s free! It’s less than a minute from the Creekside Gondola that can take you up to the lifts.
Before You Head Up the Mountain: Learn the Basics
Take a class. Seriously. Take a beginner’s class (or two) to be on the safe side. Mountain biking, especially downhill mountain biking, it’s a super-fun, super-intense sport, but it’s also super-dangerous if you’re not careful. First, we suggest you go to the orientation centre, which is free for everyone. Here, standby guides can help you get comfortable on your bike. Mostly though, we recommend checking out a few of these beginner classes at bikes school before gearing up and flying down the mountain:
Bike Park 101 Course
The Bike Park 101 Course is offered by the Whistler Bike Park and is a two-hour lesson where certified instructor get you up-to-speed on elementary downhill bike control. Want to know the proper stance? Good, they’ll teach you. This lesson, available about three times daily, will get you started on easy trails so that you can safely get a feel for the excitement. For $249, you’ll get:
- 2-hour rental (full suspension downhill mountain bike)
- Full face bike helmet
- 2-hour lift pass
- 2-hour group lesson
Get the Down Low on Downhill Riding Skills
While you might not be entirely new to mountain biking, you may have never ridden downhill, especially in this specific bike park. Luckily, the park offers free and informative online videos that teach you how to handle a bike on the off-road terrain you’ll be riding on. The bike park itself requires a new set of skills that you need to have in order to fully enjoy the range of the trail network. Best of all? These videos are free. Find the videos here and learn how to:
- Ride rock rolls
- Ride technical
We’ve also got some pretty great videos online, by the way. Axe throwing isn’t nearly as dangerous as the bike park, but its always a good idea to get to the bottom of some of the more popular axe throwing games…right?
Whistler Bike Park Daily Group Lessons
If you’re a touch more experienced but still want to learn the basics of the trails, the Whistler bike park offers a group lesson that will help elevate your riding abilities. If you need help dialling in corners, practicing pressure control, or just getting confident in your new skills, this is the class you need to take your riding to the next level. For about $115-$309, you can expect:
- Either a full or half day or lessons with our without lift passes and rentals (see here)
- Patient, professional coaches
- Small group size & individual attention
This stands for Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association, and they offer many great resources for beginners, even kids! One of the best options is to take the half-day tour that will teach you the ropes, introduce you to some of Whistler’s finest trails, and give you some confidence all under the guidance of trained professionals. Depending on the time of year and the length of the tour, you’ll pay about $299. You can expect:
- Bike rental
- Introductory tour of beginner trails
- Trained professional as your guide
- Enhancement of mountain biking skills
Whistler Bike Rentals – Where to Gear Up
Getting gear is the next step in your mountain biking journey, and luckily, there’s plenty of places in Whistler to do that. Check out a few of these shops to get the complete setup. Make sure you talk with a gear rental guide to ensure you’re getting all the pieces you need.
Coastal Culture is a local favourite, and is one of the top shops to rent all the bike gear you’ll need. Whether it’s for a couple of hours, the entire, day or even a week or two, they can get you what you need. They’re also a full-service bike shop, so if you need some tuning on your own bike, they can help. Their rates are available in store or if you call. You can find them at 2010 London Lane, open from 8am-6pm.
This is another great shop for downhill bike rental gear! With tons of options for downhill bikes, professionals to rent them out and advise, and tune-ups after every return, Evolutions is a great resource for bike gear. Check out their site online for special reserved prices or see them in person.
Whistler Bike Co
Another great option if you’re looking to rent gear and equipment. Whether you’re looking for short-term or long-term rentals, Whistler Bike Co. can help you. All the downhill rentals will include a full-face helmet and the other required armor you need. They have downhill mountain bikes available for about $79 per day, or $70 day for multi-day rentals.
Don’t Be These People, Guys. Seriously, Just Don’t
Okay, okay. Now that you know the very basics, we couldn’t resist but to share some of our absolute favorite reviews about the downhill mountain bike park. Seriously, these are worth the read.
(Disclaimer: we’re not trying to laugh at anyone’s pain, but we would like to drive the point home that you should be comfortable and ready before you take on any downhill trails).
“Not at easy as it sounds the park is huge! The trails are separated into different levels! And easy is not easy! If you are unexperienced like me take a class! Don’t skimp on it! If you don’t want to end up with a broken arm like me! Of course I found out after the ride that there are classes! Downhill mountain biking is dangerous- be prepared! Btw I’m not the only one in the village with injuries. The first aid people were very nice and stayed calm – they are used to it. We had to cut our vacation short because of my broken arm and had a lot more expenses. If you still want to do it, good luck.”
“In the three days that we were there we saw plenty of injuries, so if you are willing to participate have health insurance, take lessons and do not adventure to the maximum. Also if your friends encourage you to take more risks, think about your limitations. It is your body, your money and the party is over when you are in pain, left alone with your thoughts and huge medical bills!”
“Bring your armor or your health insurance.”
“Trails for all levels, green to ridiculously black diamond. Whether decaf or red bull, its here for you…and so is the health center at the base of the mountain. Pad up!
Take a lesson for those that came away from the bike park, a little worse for wear. Play it safe with a lesson, get the appropriate gear, and don’t let your friends peer pressure you into a double black diamond run on your first day. There is a perfect bike trail out there for every level of experience.