This fall, a good friend of mine who also happens to be my web master, Jimmi Mackintosh, had the chance to share in some wicked late season fall riding with photographer Marco Toniolo.
The legendary Whistler Bike Park has 2 cousins just a short drive away that are unsung hero’s. If you are lucky enough to be around after the closing or before the opening of the bike park, you might just get to experience some of the best riding in the world.
Half way between Vancouver and Whistler lies the slowly evolving logging/mill town of Squamish, BC. It is more famously known by the rock climbing community for the Chief, the 2nd largest granite wall in North America. However the far more interesting parts of Squamish are it’s sick mountain bike trails, which are the perfect marriage between Whistler style trails and the stunts of the North Shore. The Gateway to the Diamond Head provincial park is the home of these easy access truck or even car shuttle trails including 19th Hole, Peanuts Wild Ride, Blow out your Candles, Ditch Pig and many more clever names. The trails are fast and furious riddled with jumps, berms, drops and of course unique stunts.
Pemberton, just 20 minutes north of Whistler, is my favorite riding stash for spring, fall and rainy day riding. Much dryer, more open and the beginning transition from Coastal mountain rain forest to semi arid desert are some of the sweetest trails on earth. Cop Killer, Jim Jam, Mackenzie Cruise, Wild Bill, Res-er-rectum and Cream Puff are only a few of these trails that are best ridden when wet.
Just like skiing on a powder day the real condition hounds wait for Pembi to be just right and assemble a team of bros that just want to pin it powder day style.
The riding is a mixture of Whistler and Kamloops, which for me feels like home. The flow, vertical, jumps and unique terrain are what make riding there truly awesome. As you rip down the compact sandy trails and roost out of the berms, you constantly get visuals of Mount Currie, an 8000 foot peak that stares you down as you descend sometimes almost 3000 feet.
If you ever get the chance and have ridden every inch of Garbanzo and know A-Line so well you can ride it with you eyes closed, get out into the backcountry of Whistlers relatives and put your riding skills to the real test. No patrol, signs or tourists. Just you and the mountains. Pemberton and Squamish are the hidden treasures.