Pedal to the Metal Whistler has redefined itself as a mountain biker's paradise

April 18, 2004

With its sprawling slopes and breathtaking views, Whistler
Mountain in Whistler, B.C., has long reigned as one of the
world's top-rated ski resorts. These days, come spring, Whistler
slips off its white coat to become the ultimate mountain biking
playground as well.

Opened in 1999, Whistler Mountain Bike Park has some 50 trails
for fat-tire fiends who get their thrills speeding down wooden
ladder bridges, tight chutes and big jumps. This season, this Six
Flags of freeriding has added an express lift and a new trail
that drops 3,400 feet to the valley floor. Adrenaline junkies can
huck themselves over such established runs as Joyride and Crack
Addict. And on any given day top freeriding pros such as Wade
Simmons, Dave Watson and Richie Schley can be seen barreling
through the classic A-Line at 40 mph or filming scenes on the
technical chutes of Clown Shoes. With five main veins, Whistler
has 125 miles of trails to satisfy even the inexperienced rider
who's just looking to take in scenic views of the rock bluffs.

PLANNING AHEAD The season runs from May to mid-October. A $39 day
pass gives you access to all trails and the terrain park
(866-218-9690, Rent a condo at the base
of the village, and get your brakes checked at Evolution
(604-932-2963) or Fanatyk Co. (604-938-9452). To reach Whistler,
fly into Vancouver and drive 75 miles north.

OTHER ACTIVITIES Take a guided fishing trip, ride Squamish
River's Class III rapids or zipline in the Whistler pines.

COLOR PHOTO: WWW.GIBSONPICTURES.COM (2) JOYRIDE Whistler has tripled the thrills with an additional 2,200feet of vertical descent. COLOR MAP WHISTLER, British Columbia