Friday, 17 August 2012

Whistler's Top of the World Run -A Rider's Account

I have been hearing a lot of buzz around Whistler's newly opened mountain bike run from the peak of the mountain, called Top of the World. The peak zone encompasses approximately 1100 vertical feet, and coupled with the mid level Garbanzo zone and lower Fitzsimmons zone will put a rider through their paces with almost a 5000 vertical drop from top to bottom of mountain. Right now it is the only run from the top, but I hear there are plans for further development of trails in the future. Riders need to purchase a $15 ticket upgrade to reach this run, and this run is limited to only 100 riders per day. I spoke today with a rider who completed this run and heard his account:

Mod Coast: Describe your level of riding.
Rider: Experienced but conservative

Mod Coast: Can you describe the Top of the World Run?
Rider: It's in the alpine so it's mostly loose rocks with few trees. You start off going down a wide hiking trail which leads you to the start of the run, which by the way is a double black diamond despite what  the run map shows.  This section is very steep, with loads of loose rocks, tight switchback turns and is of course, single track. It's a pretty steep descent for most of it. There are a couple of sections which level out and even some slight uphill, but of course most is downhill. It's a long way down.

Mod Coast: What were the challenges?
Rider: Obviously the length of the run in total, going right from the top is just that much further. The loose rock makes it tricky coupled with the steep slope. It's testing all your skill levels. And then just when you finish the peak zone, it spits you out into the Garbanzo level right into more super challenging runs, so no rest for the weary. It definitely challenges you. It's difficult and also remote up there, so if you hurt yourself it's a long way down. I know someone who yesterday blew their tire near the top of the run and had to walk the whole way down the mountain, as where the run spits you out is nowhere near the lifts. And if you got hurt, well, pretend you are in the middle of nowhere.

Mod Coast: So why do the run?
Rider: For the challenge of going from the top, wanted to see what it was like, how I could do it. I ski here all the time in the winter, so I wanted to check it out in summer. Also, as you see from the pictures, the view is great. I'm glad I did it.... once .

Let's check out the pictures. Note: Obviously our rider was concentrating hard on the descent and not able to take pictures of all the steep slopes, but here is an idea of what the run visually looks like in parts.

On the way up the peak chair- it has hooks to hang your bike

View down the mountain 

Bare rocks at the top

Note hikers and tourists still take the chair up too

Double Black Diamond? What have I got myself into...

Caution: Even the Pros were hesitating before the first drop 

And they're off ! 

Spectacular Views 


Nearing the end 

 Do you dare to try?

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