Bike Park Academy 2016

Loading the bikes on the chairlift for Bike Park Opening Day

Whistler Bike Park Opening Day and the Bike Park Academy Trainees load the bikes on the lift for the first time

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.

Trainee Tom sending some Lost Lake features with a beautiful mountain backdrop

Bike Park Academy trainee Tom reverse sending a step up! We love a challenge

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.

New Sombrio Jerseys for our Bike Park Academy Trainees

Our Bike Park academy 2016 trainee jerseys courtesy of Sombrio with our new Dirt Logo looking sweet as!

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!

Induction and Orientation day 1 at the Bike Park Academy Day 1

Bike Park Academy 2016 day 1 kicks off with what kit you need to be a Whistler Bike Park Instructor

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.

Lesson structure with Coach Javier for IDP Level 1

Javier talks the Bike Park Academy trainees through lesson structure for the IDP Level 1 Assesment

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.

Trainee Andy gives a great Neutral Position class

One of our Navy Trainees Andy sets the bar high on practice day for the IDP Level 1 Assesment


IDP Level trainee Dominic practices taking a lesson

German Trainee Dominic talks the class through beginners braking technique for the Bike Park Academy IDP Level 1 practice

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.

Bike Park Academy trainees riding the famous Lost Lake trails

Coach Duncan talks the Bike Park Academy Trainees through guiding down a trail

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.

Bike Park Academy Trainees blast an afternoon on the Zappa trails

Trainee Laura smashes her practice run and glides through her 5 S’s and a bear!

Whistler Bike Park Opening Day

Brett Tippie interviews Bike Park Academy Brett Tippie on Whistler Bike Park Opening Day

Trainee Theo gets starstruck by the Mighty Brett Tippie, who wouldn’t!

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!

One of our trainees Andy gets a quick chat with the one and only Brett Tippe

Andy gets the Bret Tippie treatment

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.

Stoke levels high on Bike Park Opening Day

Some of our trainess get excited before the chairlift opens on Bike Park Opening Day


Cornering technique on EZ Does it with Bike Park Academy Trainee Greg

Greg gets some nice angulation on EZ Does it, those freshly packed berms though!

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.

Duncan's group of trainees after their first Crank it Up lap

Merry Whismas from Duncans Bike Park Academy trainees

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!

One of Whistler Blackcombs many resident Black Bears

It wouldn’t be the Whistler Bike Park Academy without a few Bears!

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!


Keep up with us @peakleadersdirt on Instagram on Facebook or Twitter 

Coaches Camp, Whistler (5 week course) 27th Jul – 31 Aug @ £3950.00

Call us on +44 (0) 1337 860 079 or message here for a chat about Peak Leaders mountain bike courses, ski instructor courses, or snowboard instructor courses