Bike Park Academy 2016
Our Bike Park Academy 2016 brought us 23 trainees from all over the globe, including Germany, UK, America, South America as well as some local Canadians. We also have various biking backgrounds including BMX, Dirt Jumps, Enduro and DH to mix things up a bit which is awesome! The first week has been a busy one with arrivals, building and buying bikes, welcome briefs, orientation, Whistler Bike Park Opening Day and of course getting everyone through their IDP Level 1 training and assessment! Pumped to report a big week of smiles…here’s the rundown of week 1!
Welcoming our new Bike Park Academy Trainees
Everyone arrived at the chalet safe and sound, with a few early arrivals and we found time to enjoy some local trail riding and dirt jumping with our hosts at the Bear Back Biking chalet. Over the course of a few days we headed up to ‘Cut Your Bars’, ‘ESP’ and ‘Roll your Bars’ over in North Whistler, as well as ‘Disco Boy’, ‘Dwarf Nebula’, ‘The Torture Never Stops’ and ‘Pinocchio’s Furniture’ at Lost Lake. We also rode up to ‘Beaver Pass’ and ‘Danimal’ over on Westside and some even braved the steep climb up Blackcomb to ride ‘Hey Bud’! The Valley trails are a sure fire way of getting the adrenaline going and tasting that BC dirt. We took full advantage before the Bike Park Opening Day.
Day 1 Induction & Orientation
Our Chalet Chef was on breakfast duties serving up a storm for our trainees before we kicked off introductions and our opening brief about course format. The IDP Level 1 with Terramethod Cycling Coaches Mike Johnstone, Javier Munoz Santos and Duncan Mainland covers 3 days; 2 days training, theory, and practice and 1 day assessment. To initiate proceedings, we handed out our totally awesome Sombrio Jerseys complete with our new Dirt logo and support from Arbutus Routes.
Group Leader Darragh kept things moving with a workshop on kit and bike bag essentials if you want to become a Bike Guide. This includes knee pads, elbow pads, pump, tubes, waterproofs, food, first aid kit and any other items needed for adverse weather conditions, always good to have backups!
We also took the trainees for a tour around Whistler Village, starting off at the base of Blackcomb mountain and then off to Whistler Mountain. We stopped in at Summit Sports where some of our past trainees work part time as well as guiding. We also swung by the pharmacy and clinic…just in case! The trainees also got a chance to get their bearings, and where the best supermarkets are and some insider tips, such as the farmers markets on Sundays and locals deals.
IDP Level 1
The trainees got stuck into the first day of IDP Level 1 training, a lot of information to take in and difficult to break down your own riding to accommodate beginners. Stripping back technique for pedaling and shifting, neutral position, braking, and cornering. Most importantly, creating a safe environment, defining the area, indicating hazards and not to mention hill safety for linking corners on a slope. The trainees heads were abuzz with theory and a great place to stop for lunch. We headed back to the village for a refuel before giving the trainees a chance to practice for themselves.
The bar was set high with our Military trainees Andy, James and Jim who have lots of experience presenting and training. Fantastic coursemanship from them and helping the other trainees with confidence and encouragement! The practice sessions are the best place to make mistakes, so that come test day, you dish out lessons like a pro and the standard and quality of the practice sessions improved exponentially towards the end of the day. A super well done to everyone for digging deep showing us how it’s done.
Don’t forget 5 S’s and a Bear
Day 2 of the IDP Level 1 much more active, and we took off to the recreational wonderland that is Lost Lake, to practice guiding beginners, introducing safety and coaching through verbal cues. Lost Lake has an incredible network of XC trails named the Zappa trails, popular with locals and visitors looking for a quick blast when short on time.
One of the most important factors, when guiding beginners down a trail, is the safety speech, which Terremethod Cycling affectionately refers to as 5 S’s and a Bear and it goes a little something like this…Shoulder check, Single File, Spacing, Stoping and Separation, and of course the Bears and other wildlife! A quick and fun way to remind everyone about trail etiquette and keeping everyone safe and having fun.
Whistler Bike Park Opening Day
Our Group Leaders felt that having the IDP Level 1 assessment on Bike Park Opening day was a little cruel, so as a compromise we thought we’d let the trainees cut loose with our Coaches and get some top notch instruction down the Bike Parks finest trails, working on jumping skills and cornering technique. There are no words to describe the stoke levels; grins were off the charts and the vibe was fully buzzing. One of our Trainees Laura even wore her Santa socks, because a day like this is better than Christmas!
Not only that, two of our trainees were interviewed by the one and only Brett Tippie before getting onto the mountain… ahaha. The man and the larger than life legend left a few of our trainees starstruck but delighted to meet a freeride hero.
We smashed all sorts of trails, including ‘Crank it Up’, ‘B-Line’, ‘Oriental Express’ ‘Afternoon Delight’, ‘Whistler DH’ and so much more, smiles for miles and everyone on a super high, you would have to be here to really feel the excitement, it’s contagious.
A day off and then Assesment
After a full day on the mountain, we had some tired legs and the excitement had us wiped, so we headed back to the chalet for a slap up meal and an early night. A big first week, and a well deserved rest day on Saturday. Some took to the Bike Park to smash out some more laps and others joined us for some active rest down near Function Junction for the famous Train Wreck hike. In the evening we also hosted a practice session before the assessment on Sunday, just to refresh the trainees memories and boost confidence.
The breakfast table on Sunday was a little quiet with nerves flying about the room, as to be expected. Once we got on the Mountain, we remembered that it’s all about sharing your passion for a sport you love and the nerves soon melted away. 100% pass rate from our 23 trainees and a huge thank you and well done for getting the heads down and putting on a performance! Some fantastic team encouragement from our trainees, which helps raise the bar for everyone, we are impressed.
…and of course, it wouldn’t be opening day without one of Whistlers resident Black Bears making an appearance!
To finish off the week, we named and shamed a few of our trainees who forgot to bring elbow pads with a very public hose down at the bottom of the mountain…till next week…enjoy!
End of week hose down for the scallywags of the group…our Group Leader Darragh got in amongst for good measure!! #workhardplayhard #startyourjourney #mtb #mountains #mountainbiking #downhillmtb #instamtb #inthezone #beautifulbc #whistler #whislife #yeahbuddy #love #mountainbikeguide #coaching #peakleadersmtb #gapyear #outdoors #adventure #followme #careerbreak #mudlife #mudhustlin #mtbcoach #freeride #explorebc @whistlerbikeprk