Photo Epic: Pinkbike VIP Heli Drop - Crankworx Whistler 2019

Aug 14, 2019
by Trevor Lyden  



Despite everyone's hectic Crankworx schedules Pinkbike VIPs joined one another for an amazing day of heli-biking to one of Whistler's most iconic high alpine trails. We all met bright and early at the Whistler Municipal Heliport, the base of operations for Blackcomb Helicopters. After a classic Canadian breakfast of Tim Horton's donuts and coffee we sat down for a quick safety video followed by a briefing by pilot Adam Topshee. We learned that basically everything on a helicopter is trying to kill you, and if you don't respect the aircraft, then it won't respect you. Afterwards we were asked to choose a single person from each of the five groups to be the designated bike unloader. This task went to those we deemed the most responsible in the groups, or in Tahnee's case, the person who succumbed to the peer pressure.

Once the clouds finally lifted we were given the green light to take flight. Our quick helicopter trip took us over the the Whistler Valley and up to the high alpine peak of Rainbow. This location is a mountain bikers dream. A classic, above treeline area filled with small lakes and ponds. The downside to this however were the thousands of mosquitoes who were eagerly awaiting their next feast of mountain biker blood. As it turns out mosquitoes are quite the food bloggers, and apparently Rainbow peak is a prime tourist destination to try many different kinds of international cuisine. Once we survived the onslaught of the flying mini vampires, we posed for a few photos, took a few selfies, and had our pilot do a few flybys for us.

When we all decided it was time to actually ride bikes, we walked a quick five minutes to the trailhead. The view from behind the bars was epic to say the least, and we were staring down miles of beautiful singletrack all the way to the valley floor. The ride started off with alpine shale riding featuring rocky ruts and small drops all over the place. Once we descended into to forest things got quite greasy. The recent rain and mist kept the trail damp and the rocks and roots hadn't yet had time to dry out. People were slipping and sliding all over the place down the steep and technical trail. As we regrouped at the bottom we shared war stories of the crashes, hornet stings and bear sightings. Our day ended with a quick pedal on the Valley Trail back to Whistler Village where food and beers were awaiting our arrival.

Thanks so much to Blackcomb Helicopters, the staff at Pinkbike, and all the VIPs who made this an amazing day!

Pre-flight donut.
Pre-flight donut.

Our shuttle for the day. Eurocopter AStar 350.
Our shuttle for the day. Eurocopter AStar 350.

 Basically everything with the helicopter can kill you .
"Basically everything with the helicopter can kill you".
Local badass and top notch pilot Adam Topshee knows how to put on a good show.
Local badass and top notch pilot Adam Topshee knows how to put on a good show.

Midday over Whistler Valley.
Midday over Whistler Valley.

The landing zone on top of Rainbow.
The landing zone on top of Rainbow.

Aidan took a break from social media obligations to join the ride. Turns out he s just as good on the bike as he is at instagram.
Aidan took a break from social media obligations to join the ride. Turns out he's just as good on the bike as he is at Instagram.

Two signs of a good time.
Two signs of a good time.

We put Tahnee Seagrave to work. I think she s got a career as a bike valet if the racing thing doesn t work out.
We put Tahnee Seagrave to work. I think she's got a career as a bike valet if the racing thing doesn't work out.

STOKED.
STOKED.

Looking good Luke
Looking good Luke!
Getting those FSA components all dialed in for the epic descent.
Mike getting those FSA components all dialed in for the epic descent.

Not a bad spot for a sandwich break.
Not a bad spot for a sandwich break.

The mosquitoes were bad up top.
The mosquitoes were bad up top.
The mosquitoes were bad up top.

High alpine riding at its finest.
High alpine riding at its finest.

Heading from the drop point to the trailhead was a quick 5 minute walk.
Heading from the drop point to the trailhead was a quick 5-minute walk.

The crew
The crew!

I honestly don t know what more to say about this.
I honestly don't know what more to say about this.

The warm summer rains melted a lot more snow than normal up here.
The warm summer rains melted a lot more snow than normal up here.

The last little stretch of snow before the trailhead.
The last little stretch of snow before the trailhead.

Deuces
!
Deuces
!
Deuces!

Gabe leading the train.
Gabe leading the train.

Ready to drop.
Ready to drop.

Ryan from Yeti getting ready to show Richie Rude he s not the only cool Yeti dude. If photography doesn t work out for me maybe I should consider being a rapper.
Ryan from Yeti getting ready to show Richie Rude he's not the only cool Yeti dude. If photography doesn't work out for me, maybe I should consider being a rapper.

Dropping in to the trail. It s all downhill from here.
Dropping into the trail. It's all downhill from here.

Tippie couldn t resist giving the slippery rock roll a go. Obviously he cleaned the line.
Tippie couldn't resist giving the slippery rock roll a go. Obviously, he cleaned the line.
Stephen putting the brand new Slayer to the test.
Stephen putting the brand new Slayer to the test.
Until next year. Thanks Blackcomb Helicopters for a great day
Until next year. Thanks Blackcomb Helicopters for a great day!


Regions in Article
Whistler


112 Comments

  • + 67
 And people say Ebikes are cheating lol
  • + 45
 Is it just me or does Tahnee have bigger guns than Tippie?
  • + 15
 Tahnee's f-cking awesome! Big Grin
  • + 12
 One is one of the fastest DHers in the world who trains a lot and eats well... and the other is Tippie.
  • + 2
 @PAmtbiker: thanks, that comment had me bawling with laughter Smile
  • + 1
 She's ripped
  • + 2
 Looking like a champ "Tip"
  • + 21
 Screw climate change and global warming, let's take the heli and burn some jet fuel... Frown
  • + 4
 'Yeah, plastic cups and stuff...' - Remy Matailler
  • + 13
 "High alpine riding at its finest." well yeah, except for the heli drop.

I get that these summit drop are awesome and I'd love to do one, but what about the environmental impact (noise, pollution) ?
  • - 23
flag BST33 (Aug 14, 2019 at 0:32) (Below Threshold)
 Given the number of riders and distance, its more fuel efficient than your typical shuttle.. so yeah.
  • + 60
 Yeah. ebikes are evil, helicopters are cool Wink
  • + 31
 @BST33: ...and....what's about just pedaling it ? It would have be a real epic aventure, for good !
  • + 51
 "The warm summer rains melted a lot more snow than normal up here." yeah maybe because of crazy carbon consumption, just like heli shuttles?
  • + 22
 @BST33: Actually not. Helicopters are extremely inefficient regarding fuel usage and their emissions exceed those of a car by 4-5 times. They have a very specific range of uses, only as last resort where cars can't be used. One could argue if biking for fun is last resort.
  • + 4
 You wouldn’t say that when they are bringing your bike in by Hele.
I it’s one of the greatest things I’ve done with my mates. A memory that last a lifetime
Enviro impact, look at what you’re riding. It’s hardly made of renewable energy efficient things.

The article brought back memories for me
  • + 1
 @Intensevp: spot on..
  • + 26
 @Intensevp: It does look like fun but that's a ridiculous argument: You're already riding something bad for the environment, so why not ride something else that's bad for the environment as well?
  • + 30
 What we need is a e-licopter, then.
  • + 4
 So Are you saying you wouldn’t do this?
It’s like saying nobody should take their car to go and ride somewhere as it’s bad for the environment. I bet most people do use their car to do such. Why don’t you all ride to the trails. It’s so much greener?
I do accept climate change. But somethings have to be done. @HPdeskjet3630:
  • + 5
 @Whipperman Live a little
  • + 24
 Blackcomb Heli is carbon neutral! From their website: "We have mitigated these emissions from our flights by purchasing the equivalent amount of carbon offsets, where the money will go to fund green projects."
  • + 3
 @jedward:

Bingo.
  • + 12
 Anyone got any peanut butter for all this jelly?
  • + 9
 @zyoungson: You're right, YOLO we've got other planets to mess with
  • + 34
 @jedward: You realize carbon offset is a bunch of bullshit rich people pay for to feel better about living the good life right? Its the ultimate in champagne environmentalism.
  • + 3
 @Intensevp: correct, I wouldn't do a heli drop although it looks like a fun thing to do. And also you're correct that I use a car to go to the trails, as I have no other reasonable way to reach them. Basically for every action I take, I ask myself a) how important it is for me and b) how will it affect everything else. Then decide basing on these factors. My life without bike would be miserable, but I can easily survive without a heli drop.
  • + 2
 @Slabrung: fair play. But for me In whistler the heledrop was the only way to the top of rainbow mountain. My life would have been miserable if I hadn’t done one that trip.
  • + 2
 @Intensevp: Yup, we were able to do this back in 2005 and it was unforgettable. Doing the hike/bike up Rainbow would require a full day and most likely a day of rest after for a good percentage of riders. When you're limited on time and may never be lucky enough to experience Whistler again, its definitely worth it. Plus the heli ride up is insane and that rock roll is so much fun.
  • + 2
 waaaa. Get over it
  • + 3
 @ross005: well said!
  • + 1
 Condoms are bad for the environment too.
Are we to give up all fun things?
  • + 2
 @Yaan: you can‘t taste a sweet when it’s in its wrapper
  • + 1
 All of the participants walked to whistler and pooled the green points. This drop was carbon neutral
  • + 1
 i don’t taste anything that’s been in a condom.
  • + 14
 Enjoying the false moral outrage. Heli-biking looks completely rad!
  • + 7
 Why false? I personally know many people, who genuinely try to live in an environmentally friendly way. And they can get irritated with presenting a totally unnecessary direct environmental damage (like burning massive amounts of fuel in a helicopter, to get to the top of the mountain) as something cool. Especially in connection with a past time that is supposed to be ecological like mountain biking. I don't think it's false. Also it might not be "outrage" as you call it (and try provoke the debate with that claim). It's probably more of sadness in general, of how can average people be ignorant to the environment.
  • + 0
 @IluvRIDING: with that Logic whistler bike Park wouldnt be there. Chair lifts installed - bad for nature and environment
Tracks - destroy the forest floor
Machines to maintain
Again if the people lived the green way, the Park wouldn’t be there as it is now. When I went I met people from all over the world! The transfer bus didn’t pick anyone up who arrived by canoe
  • + 2
 @Intensevp: but this doesn't mean we need to make things worse by using the least efficient transport method on top if all these chair lifts.
  • + 8
 There is no Climate Change in Canada. In 20 years people will telling each other what crazy stupid things some people did back then.
  • + 7
 Come on, this is ridiculous. Do we really need more coverage about people getting lifted up by a not very climate-friendly helicopter to a place they shouldn`t even be, let alone ride?
  • - 58
flag tobiusmaximum (Aug 14, 2019 at 0:23) (Below Threshold)
 “97% of scientists agree, cuz we asked all of them.” (And we’d never perpetuate a lie, oh no, never been caught doing that. Totally trustworthy, us government and media. Honest)
  • + 29
 By that logic no one should ride anywhere with no man made surface, but then you’d probably argue man shouldn’t be making surfaces to ride on.


Let’s just stop all biking.
  • + 25
 The helicopters have 'carbon-neutral' emblems on them. Not sure how Blackcomb Helicopters offsets their carbon footprint but it would seem they at least care enough to do something. Maybe ping them and see how they do it if you're so concerned... Wink
  • + 13
 "to a place they shouldn't even be"

go ahead and tell that to all alpine dwellers
  • + 18
 Why shouldn't they be there? You realise there are a bunch of chairlifts and bulldozed tracks up there right?
  • + 7
 My bad, they aren't on the Ski Area, still there are cut blocks and logging tracks all over BC, in places far more remote than some mountain beside in Whistler. You're from Europe so you've probably been to the alps where humans are everywhere, do enjoy all the ski resorts too?
  • + 15
 I never understood why people do heli skiing or heli biking. The only case where it does make some sense is for filming movies, but other than that, i think there's no need for that. There should be some limit for humans... anyway, it's just hypocritical how mountainbikers in the US and Canada spread hate against ebikes while they do helibiking, use bikeparks a lot and always start their mountainbikerides by putting their bikes on their truck for doing the 3 miles ride to the parking lot. Honestly, bikes these days are so good, these 3 miles could be done by pedalling as well.
  • + 5
 Crikey captain outrage. Let's just go for a heli and leave your clean burning carbon bike at home.
  • + 16
 my two cents;
- Do not think of Canada in european terms, the wilderness there is INMENSE, and Whistler and (heli)surroundings is just a little tiny dot in the corner of a blank A3 sheet. Check out goggle maps satellite and see. Wilderness is fine.

- Global polution problem doesn't come from cars or helis, that's an illusion made up for us to think we can change something. Want peace of mind? Don't go Tesla, buy only locally sourced and made product instead.

inews.co.uk/news/long-reads/cargo-container-shipping-carbon-pollution
  • + 12
 What a hypocrite, I bet you use a helicopter on your dinosaur hunts!
  • + 5
 @ismasan: "Wilderness is fine" hahaha, That satellie imagery you talk about has been used to monitor abnormal wildfires in the artic and the loss of Iceland's first glacier etc... Just because you can see an area without roads or buildings on a satellite image doesn't mean that everything is fine!
  • + 3
 @HPdeskjet3630: not speaking global there, I mean that touristic activity in Whistler doesn't have any impact in the massive mountain range that follows. Of course there's other problems, but heli shuttling is not one of them.
  • + 10
 @ismasan:.. And stop eating meat and using aeroplanes. Those are the most effective changes anyone can make right now
  • + 8
 @dicky1080: eat less meat and don’t travel as much is a better option.
  • + 1
 Yes, we do!
  • - 1
 @O1D4: there is a thing called 'carbon credits' that one can purchase. That money goes to help environmental stewardship efforts. i.e. renewable energy, clean ups, technology, etc.
  • + 1
 Actually, you're sort of correct. The summit of Rainbow is not open to commercial operators for motorized uses. The only motorized access is through private tours - weird Provincial policy. The question is.... was this a commercial trip or was this a bunch of bro's+Tahnee hiring Blackcomb Heli for a group ride?
  • + 4
 Waaaa. Get over it
  • + 2
 @dicky1080: Actually I'd put not procreating in front of either of those.
  • + 1
 @ismasan: unfortunately there is not one single thing we can do, which won’t affect us, to halt this crisis. We need to make drastic changes on every level in our lives and the travelling circus of the DH and EWS races is definitely a large factor in our sport. Is it as big as other sports? Probably not, just considering the amount of travelling is involved in European football, but I hope these kind of discussions are also held in their sport forums. Do we really need some strange super cup between two English teams being played in Istanbul?
  • + 1
 Looks like a pretty broad base of county’s chiming in. Non of you own cars have taken a train, boat or plane, hard to believe. How do any of you get to whistler? Walk and swim?
  • + 9
 I would be stoked, if Pinbike would take some random riders and and heli drop them with Tipie.
  • + 5
 Good for you guys for getting that opportunity...but did you really have to post it on the site and social media like a 13 year old girl at the mall. Selfie with my hot dog on a stick and Orange Julius!
Oh wait, Blackcomb gave you a free ride for some publicity.
Ahh, an advertisment on the down low.
Sneaky buggers.
Get 'em skeeters ;-)
  • + 7
 Looks like Brett Tippie fnally got some new teeth ? Or a really good cleaning?
  • + 2
 I miss his old teeth
  • + 7
 WOW!!! Relax with the enviro.impact sh@t....what an awesome day!!
  • + 6
 The amount of saltiness on this post is almost unparalelled, people must be jealous.
  • + 6
 You know what would be more awesome? If the Blackcomb used Apache or Cobra gunships for shuttle birds. f*ck yeah.
  • + 4
 Enduro weapon. Climbs like an Apache, descends like a tomahawk.
  • + 6
 would this qualify as the gucciest way to go mountain biking? lol
  • + 5
 the number of "cool gestures" seems to be pretty limited, as uniform as the bikes
  • + 5
 Did the Rainbow Heli drop back in the summer of 2002. I am sure the trail has changed since then but the memories haven't.
  • + 3
 I did a couple of heli drops the last time I was in Whistler it's great fun, it's more the novelty of getting on a heli I think is what I liked most.
  • + 5
 Helicopters are awesome, nerds
  • + 4
 No riding photos?!?!? Was this all just an ego stroke to show us a great time we weren't invited to? Thanks....
  • + 0
 Forgive me for saying this, but I actually felt like riding my bike with the group!
  • + 1
 It's pretty damn steep, tight woods with hornets and little views below the alpine until you get down to Jaws. Not much to shoot below the rock shown in the article. (rode it two days prior to this shoot)
  • + 2
 Looks like Tippie finally got his teeth fixed. That must have been pricey, probably two Yeti's worth! And no dentist's salary to pay for it!
  • + 4
 Helicopter pulling a dump 360, nice!
  • + 0
 @trevorlyden I believe that your group is the last to ride Rainbow mountain before Blackcomb Heli was called to stop by the BC government. I don't have all the specific details, but it sounds like there's a use permit that's at stake and after the day you flew (what, Monday this week I think) everything shut down on Rainbow.

However, the excellent (top half) of Mount Barbour is still being dropped and ridden. Consider adding an amendment to your article given the journalism aspect of the politics.

Great photos Trevor!
  • + 4
 Can’t knock it, I’ve been lucky enough to do it...
  • + 3
 Not sure who that Luke dude is, but he’s channelling the spirit of Brian Blessed right there..
  • + 0
 Is this really all people do these days? Complain about people taking a helicopter to the top of a mountain to ride their bikes down because it's not environmentally friendly? I'm sorry....but I feel like regardless of the environmental impact one helicopter ride would cause, you also have to live a life a little. So If my seven year old son gets the opportunity to ride around an arena in a monster truck I'm supposed to tell him no because of the environmental impact? Not happening. We need to enjoy ourselves while we're alive and make the best of it. Now if they rode a chopper everyday to go ride their bikes, then definitely I'd say that's a little excessive. People who are genuinely concerned should consider the environment when they type idiocies like this and realize their environmental impact if it's that big of a deal to them.
  • + 0
 If you want your seven year old to enjoy life as an adult , then you better change your ways. Very simple!
  • + 0
 @mitochris: OMG DOOM AND GLOOM EVERYTHING IS ENDING AROUND US CHANGE *YOUR* WAYS OR ELSE!!!! (dont worry about my ways, those are still fine)
  • + 1
 @laxguy: its actually a rather realistic scenario that the environmental impact of our current behaviour will have devastating consequences on our lives by 2050.
I actually don’t understand the indifference purely because someone else might feel stronger about something. It’s like an act of defiance not based on any facts.
  • + 0
 @mitochris: maybe re-read what you wrote initially, and then re-read my comment.

you couldnt possibly have been more doom and gloom than IF YOU WANT YOUR KID TO LIVE THEN CHANGE YOUR SHIT..

dont worry about it though, just feed into it like a good sheep
  • + 3
 @laxguy: I said “enjoy life” in reflection of the OP saying that One should live life a little.
I don’t even disagree too much with the OP but we have to consider that this Heli drop is not an isolated case in an isolated sport. This kind of stuff happens constantly in tons of different sports.
And why do you think I am a sheep? Following what?
  • - 1
 @mitochris: you're parroting the mainstream talking points to a T, thats why i think youre a sheep.

yes i agree we should change our ways and attempt to fix some of the shit we got wrong, but i disagree that we should approach it in an us vs them type of way in which the elite and rich get to do wahtever the f*ck they want and we (you and me) have to stop using straws and recycle everything and stop eating meat and grow our own food..

and you saying things like you did in your original comment, dont help the situation at all, they only further the US vs THEM mentality.
  • + 2
 @laxguy: you know what, you are right. The OP was trying to make a point, and I took a low shot, probably due to the discussions on other posts, sites. But didn’t the entire discussion start because people felt that the VIPs in the Heli ride should’ve maybe restrained themselves from taking the ride, because they do this kind of stuff all the time anyway and now rub it in, while pinkbike posts a video that we should save on paper cups?
And btw, the main stream is sometimes correct.
  • + 0
 @mitochris: the discussion stems from the US vs THEM mentality which is pushed by the main stream media. same thing with race, but i won't get into that.

again, im not saying they are wrong in their assessment of the climate and changes that are occurring. im saying they are wrong in the way they present their argument by trying to beat it into the middle class while ignoring the ultra rich who literally jet around the globe. this one helicopter ride by normal people (remember they may be celebraties and "rich" in our little MTB world, they are NOT celebrities or rich compared to real elites) is nothing but a chance for the virtue signallers of the world to get upset and tell you how you should change everything about your life.

im not mad at you, im annoyed with the situation we find ourselves in and everyones willingness to point fingers and place blame
  • + 2
 VIP's: the beginning of the end for the mountain bike industry...
  • + 2
 Heli-drop is definitely in my bucket list !!
  • + 1
 Booked our trip for the 27th of August. How does one get their selves and bike to the helicopter?
  • + 3
 U can ride there from the village, the heliport is just passed the north end of green lake.
  • + 2
 I'm just glad someone's celebrating my birthday.
  • + 1
 @kjjohnson: Haha, nice! Mine is on the 25th. The first day we're waking up in Whistler.
  • + 1
 Last pic is pretty steezy trick for something that is already tring to kill you lol
  • + 1
 Tahnee's back, that's newsworthy
  • + 1
 How much does a Blackcomb heli drop cost?
  • + 2
 $114 US per rider for a full ship (five). I'll let you do the conversions Wink .
  • + 0
 Wait. Is Tahnee with RedBull now?
  • + 2
 For a while now
  • + 1
 GREAT JOB MIKE
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