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An insider's guide to Whistler's MTB trails



Whistler Mountain Biking: A Guide to Trail Rides in the Whistler Valley

Quickdraw Publications, 176p, $22.99

Reviewed by G.D. Maxwell

The fish aren't as plentiful in the local lakes as they were in Myrtle Philip's day, when the town of Alta Lake was known as a destination "resort" for anglers. And the threat of warming as a manifestation of global climate change hangs over the wintry passions of skiing and snowboarding like the sword suspended above Damocles's head while he played king.

Short of a massive tectonic shift or lazy indifference on the part of trail builders and maintainers though, the spiderweb of mountain bike trails veining the valley and hills around Whistler are forever. And that's something to celebrate.

There have been several attempts in the past decade to map the extensive and ever-changing local trail network but none have been as ambitious or clearly documented as Brian Finestone and Kevin Hodder's Whistler Mountain Biking guide book. Applying the same mix of thoroughness and insider's knowledge to bike trails the pair brought to their previous volumes on the ski and snowboard trails of Whistler Blackcomb, they've produced a must-have guide for anyone wanting to truly explore the hundreds of kilometres of trails that all, magically, lead back to your favourite pub.

Encyclopedic in scope, Whistler Mountain Biking contains accurate descriptions of all the trails in the valley, in Whistler Mountain's Bike Park, the Valley Trail, local cross-country trails and more.  Employing easy-to-understand iconography and elevation graphs of each trail, users can see at a glance the length and difficulty of the trail, a subjective rating of its quality, the sorts of features and challenges they may encounter on it and other information useful to making a go/no-go decision. The narrative description of each trail is bonus reading and as close as you're going to come to having a local along for the ride.

And while pitched at mountain bikers, this guide is the best one around for trail runners and quite useful for hikers as well. If you do Whistler, slip this guide in your pack; it'll take you to places you likely don't know exist and cut way down on the number of times you cry out in frustration, "Where's the &#*% trail!"

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