Orientation GuideFor New and First Time Bike Park Riders
Where to Start
BEGIN ROLLING ON TWO WHEELS THE RIGHT WAY.
If you’ve never mountain biked before, downhill biking can look pretty intimidating. But it’s not all about big air and high speed like you see in a lot of videos. As long as you’re comfortable riding a bike, you too can give downhill mountain biking a try. But it’s important to get started right so here are some helpful tips to get you rolling down on two wheels safely.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Get the right downhill techniques and tips from the beginning with a lesson from a bike park guide. Whether you need the fundamentals of bike riding or want to simply refine your skills, our expert coaches teach the right techniques required for riding downhill and navigating around the park. You’ll gain confidence and know which trails to ride suited for your ability.
ORIENTATION CENTRE - FREE FOR EVERYONE
If you’re new to bike park riding or just unsure where to begin, start at the Orientation Centre located at the top of the Fitzsimmons Express. Here, our standby guides will help you get comfortable on your bike and learn what trails are best suited for your ability level. Need a tip or two? No problem. Our guides will give you helpful instructions you can use to practice at the Fitzsimmons Skills Centre first before you start to ride.
- Helmet (Mandatory) – A helmet is required for all riders in the bike park. We strongly recommend a full-face helmet to provide the greatest range of protection.
- Goggles – Wrap-around goggles are the best choice for eye protection against dirt, branches, and other obstacles you’ll encounter on the trails or in a crash.
- Elbow and Knee Pads – Provide protection from cuts, scrapes, and any impact to these parts of your body that are most common to be injured in a crash.
- Closed-Toe Shoes – Shoes with a durable toe box and high ankle support are important to manage the rough terrain and impact.
- Long Sleeved Shirt and Shorts – Cover up with the proper clothing to limit the amount of bare skin showing.
- Full Finger Gloves – Use these to keep your hands on your bars with secure grip on your brakes. Your hands are typically are first to support you in a crash so you want them covered up.
- Body Armour – Optional for anyone who wants extra protection for your back and chest.
- Neck Brace – Optional for anyone who wants extra neck support which typically is needed when hitting large jumps and drops.
WHAT BIKE TO RIDE
NOT ANY OLD MOUNTAIN BIKE WILL DO.
Riding the Whistler Mountain Bike Park requires a different type of mountain bike than you might be used to. Mountain bikes with full suspension with the right geometry and components for downhill riding will make your day in the park safe and fun.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF BIKES YOU SHOULD RIDE IN THE PARK
- Downhill – Downhill-specific bikes are intended for all levels of riders who want to enjoy the most out of the Bike Park. A full suspension, downhill-specific bike like the GIANT Glory handles the Bike Park’s technical and free-ride terrain the best and is specifically designed for descending, not ascending. We recommend this type of bike for any level of rider in the bike park.
- All-Mountain – All-mountain bikes combine full suspension in the front and rear with a more upright design allowing riders to descent yet ascend when needed. At the minimum, bike park riders should have an all-mountain, full-suspension bike, similar to the GIANT Reign, which is best suited for beginner and intermediate terrain only. Please note, uphill riding is not permitted in the bike park.
- Cross-Country (Not Recommended) – Cross-country bikes generally have less suspension than most mountain bikes, making them ideal for pedaling long distances. The GIANT CTV is a hard-tail bike (no rear suspension) that’s ideal for the cross-country trails in the Whistler Valley. Cross-country bikes are not recommended in the bike park.
HOW TO RIDE SMART
THERE IS MORE TO KNOW THAN YOU THINK.
Whether it’s your first time in the park or it’s your first lap, it’s important to ride smart. Slow down before you speed up because crashes can happen often on your first lap. Ride a trail multiple times to get familiar with the features and equipment first so you can confidently push your limits without pushing your threshold.
FOLLOW THESE 3 STEPS WHEN STARTING TO RIDE
- – Warm up the brain and body and inspect the trail at low speed.
- – Lap a trail a few times and get to know the flow of the features.
- – Start small and work your way up to faster speeds and larger features.
MATCH YOUR SKILL ON THE RIGHT TRAIL
All trails within the Bike Park are designated by colour coded markers at the start of each descent. Work your way up to more advanced trails and features based on your progression, skill, and comfort level. Understand there are also two types of trails as well: Freeride and Technical and both types range from Beginner to Expert.
SUGGESTED TRAIL ROUTES
Not sure which trail to start on first? Get a point of view look at the first three suggested routes you should ride in the park if it’s your first time.
WHICH TRAIL TO RIDE NEXT
Knowing which trail you should ride next for your ability has now been made clear with the Trail Progression Scale. This handy tool separates technical and freeride trails and list them from Beginner to Pro Line in the correct order of their difficulty.