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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, we are looking at heading to Whistler next summer. My bud and I have all our own gear and bikes, so no renting.

The first thing I am planning for right now is whether it is better to fly or drive from Pennsylvania. The benefit of driving is that I have a nice hatchback that would get 30+ mpg on the highway and we could make side-trips without worrying about rental cars and no worries about airlines or shippers losing or damaging the bikes. The drive would be 2900 miles for about 48 hours and $250 in gas (one way).

Second thing... economical places to stay at Whistler... ?

Third thing... side trips.. what is the best destination for the true North Shore Trails (we would probably be looking at intermediate, fun trails, but with enough margin for error that we won't break our necks). Would I be looking at Squamish for this kind of ride? How about Kamloops.. is it worth an extra day or two there? I have two chainrings on my SX Trail, but my buddy is on a Demo 7, so it would be best to find trails with easy fireroad climbs that branch off into good singeltrack descents.
 

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Definitely drive if it really is only going to be $250 in gas, it will be more though once you have all your gear and bikes loaded up but still way cheaper than flying with bikes. If you want to ride true North Shore trails I would suggest... the North Shore :) Seymour is your best bet, full shuttle and variety of trails, it's where most intermediate riders go here with advanced trails too. Squamish is also great, shuttles up Garibaldi area (search online for maps & trail info). Just past Whistler is Pemberton, 20 min drive. Awesome riding there too, a must do while you're in Whistler.

Depending on how you drive up here you could cross up to Canada near Rossland, BC and hit Rossland & Nelson, both amazing places to ride. They're about an hour apart, and then about 8 hours from Rossland to Vancouver.

Not sure about where to stay in Whistler but you could probably get a rental condo for fairly cheap in the summer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
chris2 said:
Definitely drive if it really is only going to be $250 in gas, it will be more though once you have all your gear and bikes loaded up but still way cheaper than flying with bikes. If you want to ride true North Shore trails I would suggest... the North Shore :) Seymour is your best bet, full shuttle and variety of trails, it's where most intermediate riders go here with advanced trails too. Squamish is also great, shuttles up Garibaldi area (search online for maps & trail info). Just past Whistler is Pemberton, 20 min drive. Awesome riding there too, a must do while you're in Whistler.

Depending on how you drive up here you could cross up to Canada near Rossland, BC and hit Rossland & Nelson, both amazing places to ride. They're about an hour apart, and then about 8 hours from Rossland to Vancouver.

Not sure about where to stay in Whistler but you could probably get a rental condo for fairly cheap in the summer.
My rough thought was to head pretty directly to Vancouver, and maybe hit some North Shore for a day, then up to Whistler for a few days, then out to Kamloops for maybe a day then back south through the Canadian Rockies.

I'll have to put Rossland, Nelson, and Pemberton on the radar, thanks for the tips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Uncle Six Pack said:
...then back south through the Canadian Rockies.
ooops, Banff is farther north than I thought...
 

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I vote you can't do it with $250 in gas one way. But it's a tossup either way, if you've never driven cross country I would highly recommend it.
 

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2900 miles in 48 hours can't be done. That is driving 60 miles an hour for 48 hours and not stopping for ANYTHING! Is time a factor? If it is you should fly. If you have a week to drive across the US I would do it regardless of cost. I suspect that taking anything less that 4 days will be hard on your body that you will arrive in Whistler feeling sore from sitting in a car for so long. If you want to hit some other BC/north shore stuff fly to Seattle and rent a car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
myarmisonfire said:
2900 miles in 48 hours can't be done. That is driving 60 miles an hour for 48 hours and not stopping for ANYTHING! Is time a factor? If it is you should fly. If you have a week to drive across the US I would do it regardless of cost. I suspect that taking anything less that 4 days will be hard on your body that you will arrive in Whistler feeling sore from sitting in a car for so long. If you want to hit some other BC/north shore stuff fly to Seattle and rent a car.
ummm, yeah, roughly 48 hours of driving.... not that we would literally be arriving at Whistler 48 hours after our departure.

My wife and I did about 2800 coming back from Las Vegas. With a side trip to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Google Maps says 44 hrs. Real total time was roughly 66 total hours minus a few hours at the Grand Canyon minus one night at a motel equals about 50 hours of "real driving". So I was thinking that 48 hours to Whistler is looking like 2.5-3 days of "real-world driving", even driving in shifts. If that makes sense.

As for the time factor, my buddy is gonna be more pressed for time than me because of our work situations... but I am still waiting to see exactly what our time frame will be.

Here's my rough plan after some feedback and talking things over with my bud....

Days 1-3: Drive west
Day 4: Ride Seymour, drive to Whistler
Days 5-7: Ride Whistler
Days 8-10: Drive East

If we can get an extra day, then look at Pemberton or something else that isn't too far out of the way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
nautilus said:
I vote you can't do it with $250 in gas one way. But it's a tossup either way, if you've never driven cross country I would highly recommend it.
I've been across the country, but my buddy hasn't. Neither one of us is interested in shipping a bike or flying with a bike except as a last resort.

As for the $250.... I was rounding UP a tiny bit there; my wife's pontiac vibe, 5 speed, front wheel drive, all bikes and gear inside (no racks) and not including any other big side trips... we'll see. Even if it is closer to $300, it is better than a plane ticket and shipping costs.
 

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I drove from Vancouver to Boston straight down the I-90 most of the way. Took 3.5 days to drive, (12-15 hrs/day behind the wheel) then 2 days to actually recover from the driving. In all honesty, I can't see you leaping out of the car after 3+days of driving with your legs in any kind of shape to hit the lifts right away.

The drive west is fairly boring from say Western NY to Montana, but then it gets better. It is worth doing if you have never done it. If there is any way you can extend the trip by a couple of days to build in a bit of recovery time, then I'd say drive for sure.

You will want to stop in a few riding spots along the way: 1.) Galbraith Mtn, just south of Bellingham WA. A fun hill with lots of variety. Easy fire road pedal up and your choice of a bunch of stuff coming down. Plan on 3-4 hours here.
2.) The Shore - actually a number of spots on the North Shore of Vancouver. Fromme is a pedal up with a full range of trails from beginner to WTF is THAT? Seymour is a shuttle hill that requires at least intermediate skill. Remember that "intermediate" trails in Vancouver are generally "WTF is THAT" trails just about anywhere else. These two hills will give you a good taste of what the Shore is all about. Depending on what kind of shape you are in, you could do Fromme in the morning and Seymour in the afternoon. (You can usually meet up with locals that will help with shuttling, or just fire off a pm to me when the time gets closer.)
3.) When in Whistler, try out some of the Valley trails. You don't have to get a park pass to ride them, and they can be very entertaining. Swap off days in the park (which can beat you and you bike down) with days in the valley.
 

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How much time will you have? I think road trips are an awesome way to go, but as someone who lives in the Vancouver area, I think you would want to maximize your time while you are in B.C. . There is just so much riding to do here and I think you will be really choked at only having a few days here.

Flying to Seattle and renting a minivan might be the way to go price wise, while still getting more time to ride.
 

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I have been flying up to hit Whistler for the last 12 years in row. I have found that it is best to fly Southwest Airlines with my bike (Bike fee $80 ea way and box under 75lbs) to Seattle where we pick up a rental truck or mini van. Last one being a crew cab F150 and driving 3hrs to Whistler. About 1hr or so from Seatac to the truck border crossing and then about 2 hrs up to Whistler on the Sea to Sky highway that is an awesome drive! I always enjoy the awesome views of the Sea to Sky going up to Squamish and Whistler. Anyway, Flying 3hrs to Seattle and driving another 3hrs is def worth it and you are not needing recovery time from a long drive. We stay at the same 2 places or condos each time.
We have never had any problems flying with our bikes. I used a Trico hard case with an Ellsworth Dare and gear packed in it for a few of the years and then my Intense Socom another couple of times. It is a bit of a hassle handling the cases through the airport but its soo worth it once you are out at the chairlift with your rig waiting to go up on the hill!

Hit up some Kokanees and some really good pizza at Blacks Cafe for me while you are there! I think i may be up there after Crankworx or right before hitting Interbike. :)

All the places the guys named for stops are awesome! You cant go wrong! :) Oh and be sure to buy Travel Insurance (Cheap and worth it! $20 for 2 weeks coverage up to $1million with no deductible. Travelers and a few others) for medical as most US insurance companies do not cover you in another country and Canadian Hospitals do not take them either. They require cash payment upon leaving the hosptial. I know since i have been to the ER twice at Whistler. last for a broken tibia / knee cap. Whistler ER does great work and so do the EMT's and Bike Patrol! We also carry 2 way radios on our packs and cells. 2way radios have come in handy a few times if you crash hard and your buddies are ahead of you. You can let them know if you are hurt. Just suggestions. :)

Have fun! Speed is your friend until you crash! LOL
Happy Trails!
M
 

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being from the uk. it's impossible to imagine driving such distances, and such times. though i have been to the states many times and love road trips. there are many great sights and places to see in the us. so i can understand why you would want to drive, plus the cost factor to.
if it was my personal choice i would fly. less travel time = more riding time. and to be honest it isnt that diffacult flying with bikes. not from the uk anyway.
for the last 3 years we (my brother and i) have headed out to whistler for the opening 2 weeks and the last 3 weeks of the summer season. we have never had any real problems taking our own bikes. apart from a damaged rear mech last year.
we have always used bike bags to carry our bikes. i can highly recomend them new evoc bags they are awesome. very pricey but well worth it. they make travelling with bikes a pleasure.
now i am not sure what the us airline regulations are on cycle carriage, but with thomas cook airlines who we travel with, they request that you remove the wheels, deflate tyres. remove pedals.turn in handlebars (though i usually remove them) it costs 60 pounds return. and according to what i was told on the checkin desk the air line doesnt have an actual weight limit on bikes, though there is a health and saftey limit of 32.5 kg (though my bag was 35 kilo when i checked in they never questioned it)
as for accomodation i use and highly recomend the guys at bear back biking.
www.bearbackbiking.com
they pick you up at vancouver airport, have caterd chalet and offer guiding all included in the price. they will also sort you out if you wanted to ride the shore squamish or any other locations.
good luck with your plans mate. hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I checked SW airlines quick.... $700 plane ticket plus rental car plus a way to transport the bike adds up quick, but it'll effectively "add" to the number of days on the bikes. It isn't completely out of the question. I guess keeping it domestic by flying into Seattle is the best way to go. Then rental car for getting around BC.

How much is a good, solid bike box gonna cost? Where is a good place to look for them? Or can they maybe be rented? Can I build my own...

I'm still leaning towards driving, but time is really no object to me over the summer.... the drive vs fly decision will ultimately be more up to my friend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
How about what time of year is best? I was thinking early July... gonna go check on typical July weather...
 

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IntenseRdr said:
I have been flying up to hit Whistler for the last 12 years in row. I have found that it is best to fly Southwest Airlines with my bike (Bike fee $80 ea way and box under 75lbs) to Seattle where we pick up a rental truck or mini van. Last one being a crew cab F150 and driving 3hrs to Whistler. About 1hr or so from Seatac to the truck border crossing and then about 2 hrs up to Whistler on the Sea to Sky highway that is an awesome drive! I always enjoy the awesome views of the Sea to Sky going up to Squamish and Whistler. Anyway, Flying 3hrs to Seattle and driving another 3hrs is def worth it and you are not needing recovery time from a long drive. We stay at the same 2 places or condos each time.
We have never had any problems flying with our bikes. I used a Trico hard case with an Ellsworth Dare and gear packed in it for a few of the years and then my Intense Socom another couple of times. It is a bit of a hassle handling the cases through the airport but its soo worth it once you are out at the chairlift with your rig waiting to go up on the hill!

M
Hey thanks for the tip on flying Southwest to Seattle to get to Whisler. Heading out with the family (5 of us) this Friday to Keystone using Southwest. Just packed our 3 DH bikes in Thule bike boxes. Will be hitting Keystone, Trestle and Vail. Thought about renting a truck but we're going with a Chevy Suburban and a bike rack. We'll definitely be hitting Whisler next year!!! Thanks
 

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Uncle Six Pack said:
How about what time of year is best? I was thinking early July... gonna go check on typical July weather...
Go a bit later if you can. That way it will be more likely that the Garbanzo Zone is completely open. September is beautiful.
 

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Techfreak said:
Go a bit later if you can. That way it will be more likely that the Garbanzo Zone is completely open. September is beautiful.
September is excellent! All the kids have gone back to school and a lot of the tourists have left. Mid week riding is super laid back. Saturdays can get a bit busy if the weather is nice. The temp is great for riding and the trail crews have a bit more time to patch up the trails.
 

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In Whistler now from CO. We looked into tickets from Denver to Vancouver and it was around 900.00, Denver to Seattle on Frontier was 350.00 which is what I like to fly anyway. Frontier charges 50.00 for a bike which is better than using FedEx and you know it wont be held up in customs. I know of people who shipped bikes only to have them show up the day they left Whistler.
 
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