How to Become a Qualified Whistler Mountain Bike Guide
A huge second week for our Bike Park Academy 2016 and becoming a qualified Whistler Mountain Bike Guide. The trainees stepped up to the mark despite some fatigue from a full on first week, not to mention all the radness, stoke, and excitement of Whistler Bike Park Opening day and of course the IDP Level 1 exam thrown in. The highs and lows make for a challenging week 2 but nothing worth having was ever gained easily, so the trainees stick it out and throw themselves into IDP Level 2, trail building and maintenance with WORCA, risk assessment and a very wintery Level 2 exam day! Here’s the rundown…
Bunny hop of the day goes to…
Despite some cold and misty weather, we showed the mountain we are not fair weather riders and kicked off IDP Level 2 with drills like Bike Limbo and Bike Jousting. One of the key aspects of the Level 2 theory is to assess a guests operation of controls; braking, pedalling & shifting, steering, stance & balance, range of motion, tactics, pressure control, timing and coordination. A mouthful and a half, and a lot to get the head around. The best way to learn? demonstration and games!
When taking guests onto tech terrain, such as ‘Blueseum’, ‘Funshine Rolly Drops’ or ‘B-Line’, we want to make sure that they have demonstrated the operation of controls successfully in the skills centre. As a qualified Whistler Mountain Bike Guide, you can then apply to the trail safely with focused coaching, positive end results and pumped, smiling faces from an awesome lesson!
The trainees dished out some impressive skills with manuals and bunny hops and others had A-HA moments and improved their riding skills completely, thanks to the coaches at Terramethod! This also contributed to understanding how to critique and provide positive and constructive feedback to guests as a qualified Whistler Mountain Bike Guide. We also learned how to progress skills by introducing timing and obstacles…but not without challenging ourselves first!
In the afternoon, we rode towards Double Black Diamond trail ‘Joyride’ to discuss line choice, a key tactic in the operation of controls. Coach Mike split up the trainees in groups of 4 and tasked them with different coaching scenarios, for example, an intermediate rider who is comfortable with manuals, or a kid shredder on a very wet day. The groups then had to pick the best line and be specific with exactly the type of coaching that guest may need to get down the trail safely and in control , including the what, why and how (timing, body part and skill).
No dig no ride!
WORCA – Whistler Off Road Cycling Association host weekly trail maintenance evenings and 16 of our trainees got down and dirty on ‘Tunnel Vision’ near Bayshores. We armed ourselves with buckets, shovels, mattocks and got digging!
We split it into groups of dirt miners, rock finders, and trail buffers and in no time we had finished off a new diversion and mapped a freshly laid berm…not bad for 3 hours graft and some seriously hefty mosquito activity around the old noggin.
30 volunteers strong for the maintenance session and a terrific way to mix with locals, make new friends and share a very well earned beer after with a few big bags of crisps! Super proud of the trainees effort, especially after a big day on the mountain with IDP Level 2 training. Solid work guys!
We couldn’t leave off without a big group photo with Trail Builder and organiser Tim Haggerty, and thanks to all involved for having us. Nothing like a bit of manual labour and giving back to finish on a high. We headed back to the chalet with big appetites and our chalet chef welcomed us with a sizeable portion of Spag Bol…all the noms!
Loggers Lake and risk assessment
We love to encourage some active rest, give the legs a chance to recover and still get out and do something with your day off. The trainees had some time to hang the full face helmet and enjoy some sun with a trip to loggers lake to take on the mighty rope swing. One of our german trainees, Dominic took some photos of the antics, check them out!
To piggyback on the fearsome rope swing fun, we went over some preliminary risk assessment ideas to get the trainees thinking about the following night’s workshop. Group Leader Darragh discussed the levels of risk, consequence, and action in anything that we do, not just downhill. To liven things up, we took to the patio for some active learning.
Last night our trainees did a Risk Assessment workshop. ..something that as a guide you will need to work through every time you take out a client! #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
Becoming a qualified Whistler Mountain Bike Guide
Assessment day Saturday and another quiet Breakfast! The trainees worked hard in groups the day before to work through their ‘on trail’ lessons. Each given one of the operations of controls and expected to coach clients down a section of trail. We had some of the most challenging weather conditions with torrential rain the entire day.
We also saw a heavy dump of snow which made for some icy digits and some ropey finger slippage! It was a test of true grit in the end, and many managed to muscle through with the thought of passing their tech 2 exam and enjoying some rider progression the following day. A few necessary hot chocolate and cookie pitstops in between laps kept the trainees functioning and we battled through. A proud moment indeed and a real life guiding scenario as there were more than a few of the qualified Whistler Mountain Bike Guides on the hill that day, with hardcore guests getting in amongst!
All the smiles as we got off the mountain for the day and home to some hot showers and dry clothes. The bad weather seems to bring out the best in steaze and banter! Our chalet chef made some warming homemade tomato soup which went down a storm.
For the third and final week of our Bike Park Academy, we focus on rider progression with various coaches, to give the trainees a chance to see different teaching styles in action. We will also cover intro to jumps, cornering, and drops and our ‘end of course’ fun day and look forward to meeting some qualified Whistler Mountain Bike Guides. SEND IT!