Video: Finn Iles' Progression in the Whistler Bike Park

Jul 17, 2019 at 10:45
by WhistlerMountain BikePark  
Views: 19,385    Faves: 40    Comments: 3

10,000 hours. According to Malcolm Gladwell that’s how long it takes to master a skill. Finn Iles raked up 10,000 hours of riding bikes before he could drive a car. After moving to Whistler at 10, he spent all the time he could mastering downhill riding. He wouldn’t let a little thing like age get in the way of winning the Whip Off World Championships in Crankworx Whistler at 14. #LetFinnIn.

As Finn left Whistler to compete on the World Cup downhill circuit, he continued to hone his skill which led him to the World Junior Champion and World Cup Overall winner in 2016. Now moved onto competition against the big boys, he continues to place on the world stage.

First chair, first call.

The little man making light work of the big boys at Crabapple hits.


Makes perfect.

We wanted to bring Finn back to his training grounds and revisit some of the trails that he grew up on. Ninja Cougar, Crabapple hits and A-Line to name a few. As Finn developed, so did the park, adding new zones and new trails. We let Finn loose on the new single track cut in Creekside, Miss Fire. It took no time for him to own it.

When you grow up with the park, the park grows on you.

The Prince of Whistler, Junior World Champ, the hometown hero, & the sweet boy.

Not a lot has changed.

There’s no doubt that to this day you can find Finn lapping A-line with a grin from ear to ear. The same smile he had when he fell in love with the sport years ago. While the tremendous talent that the “Go-Fast” kid has developed is solely his own, we would like to think that the park had something to do with it. When you push the park, the park pushes you.

Rider: Finn Iles
Video: Absolute Cinema & Good Fortune Collective
Trail: Miss Fire in Creekside


  • 151 2
 While Whistler obviously allows a kid to spend a lot of time working on skills and its the perfect proving ground for progression, the location itself was probably not nearly as important as a community centered around outdoor activity, managing the risks of an extreme sport, and having friends and mentors who all into the same stuff. We can't all live in Whistler, but we can promote more kids on bikes, more trails in and near urban areas, more NICA teams and of course, simply letting kids explore the boundaries of their interests - outside.
  • 6 0
 Why did I get choked up reading this? Right on man.
  • 58 7
 I don’t care how it sounds, I just love that dude. He gets it! Like Ropelato. Straight forward blowing stuff up and looking like they are chillin and enjoying themselves. And that takes a lot of work to make it look that easy.
  • 53 62
flag ajax-ripper (Jul 17, 2019 at 20:27) (Below Threshold)
 Dude pushed me over in the lift line in 2014. Broke all the bones in my left hand when I caught myself. Didn't say sorry instead mentioned that "I'm a f*cking pro get out of my God damn way". I took almost a year of the bike because of this and my hand still isn't good. Im stoked a Canadian kid is doing well in the circuit I just wish it was anybody but him.
  • 16 34
flag ratherberidin (Jul 17, 2019 at 21:26) (Below Threshold)
 @ajax-ripper: probably should have just stayed home and played Xbox of your bones are that brittle
  • 21 0
 @ajax-ripper: I’ve seen pro’s be straight up a*sholes in the Whistler lift line, can’t say I’ve ever seen them assault anyone. I have a hard time believing this.
  • 31 2
 @ajax-ripper: Somehow I can't picture a 14 year old who weighed 100 lbs being that aggressive to a 22 year old man. What's the real problem ajax?
  • 22 3
 @ajax-ripper: Finn was a little kid in 2014 and not a pro rider. Are you sure about this?
  • 19 2
 @ajax-ripper: @ajax-ripper: there's a lot of bones in the human hand. Never heard of anyone breaking them all at once. Sounds very painful (and unlikely).
  • 19 3
 @ajax-ripper: If you broke all of your bones in your hand just falling in the lift line, then what would happen if you fell off your bike going down one of the whistler trails? Would you break every bone in your entire body?
  • 76 3
 @ajax-ripper: luxury! When I was in Hafjell, Richie Rude got into Gondola with me and drugged me with a Cosby from his water bottle. I was then sodomized by locals for few laps and woke up as they threw me out of it.
  • 10 0
 @Phazz470: Ajax is Sam Jackson and Finn Iles is Bruce Willis. Only way his story makes sense....
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: thats what your wet dreams are made of waki
  • 6 0
 @ajax-ripper: Here's another comment from you in your history from Aug 22, 2018
on the "Photo Epic: Track Walk - La Bresse DH World Cup 2018" PB post:

"I honestly hope gwin and Finn Illes experience huge injuries and are done for the season."
  • 2 4
 I would like to add this, I have not the greatest knees and I often lose my balance when starting for a long time it didn't take much to knock me over, I jambed my hand into the aluminum fencing in the lift line. This bike the four metacarpals in my left hand and factured a scaphoid.

At the time Finn would've been 13/14 and on top of the world. I know I did some shitty things as a 14 year old kid and I wouldn't want the world to hold these against me forever. I've also noticed that almost everybody who has met him since has nothing but positive things to say about him which leads me to think that my experience was a one off. I've forgiven Finn and I do cheer him on when I watch him complete and I'm glad he's the man representing my country.

It would be really ignorant of me to think that he hasn't grown as an individual in the past 5 years. I'm sure his family and his coaches have taught him to be a very respectful and thoughtful young man, I'm also convinced that he had no intention of causing me harm.
  • 9 3
 The kid is awesome- already better than I'll ever be! 10,000 hours though? Is that a typo? If he got those hours between 10-16 years old, he'd have to ride more than 4.5 hours a day EVERY DAY including winters. That's a little hard to fathom.
  • 24 2
 10,000 hrs riding bikes, not necessarily in the bike park. He started riding when he was 3.
  • 9 3
 Okay, that's still over 2 hours a day every day, winter included. I'm guessing there was just a crazy estimate and someone ran with it.
  • 9 6
 @WhistlerMountainBikePark: On average how many hours a year are you guys open? This may help to better calm Ra1der down. I put in 10,000 hours at work in around 3 years.... I’ve been at my current job for 7.5 years and have over 20,000 hours... I can see someone getting 10,000 hours over 16 years easy peasy.
  • 7 0
 @scotttherider: so you work 9+ hours a day 365 days a year, or 12+ hours a day M-F?
  • 10 17
flag scotttherider (Jul 17, 2019 at 17:41) (Below Threshold)
 @skkkkrrr: week of July 4th I worked a 20 hour shift a 18 hour shift and 5-13 hour days. My base weeks are 60 hour weeks(6-10’s) depending on the project I’ll work 7-12’s for 13 on with 1 day off. I average 3300-3500 hours a year. I’ve got pay stubs to prove it. I’ll have 1800 hours come the end of this month.
  • 12 0
 I just can't stop thinking about the amount of bike service needed at 10000 hours! Suspension service every 50 hours..
  • 3 18
flag scotttherider (Jul 17, 2019 at 17:45) (Below Threshold)
 @skkkkrrr: June 24th to July 7th I put in 174.5 hours. From the 8th through 21st I’ll have 145.5 hours. Seriously when I get a 40 hour a week job I won’t know what to do with myself.
  • 4 22
flag scotttherider (Jul 17, 2019 at 17:53) (Below Threshold)
 @skkkkrrr: here’s a link to a screenshot of my last time card for 2 weeks. It says 182.5 hours but mind you 8 hours was holiday pay....
  • 21 0
 @Ra1der: Its a reference to a very well known study by Malcolm Gladwell. Stop taking it literally and understand what they are saying is that he has spent a lot of time on a bike and a lot of it in the bike park. Geez.
  • 30 3
 @scotttherider: lol no one actually cares
  • 9 4
 @scotttherider: cool story bro
  • 1 0
 @gnarnaimo: good point! That's why you need multiple bikes.
  • 8 0
 @gnarnaimo: they say every 50-100 hours but if you're like me you just get it done every three years (and by get it done i mean you just buy a new bike)
  • 1 0
 @scotttherider: Holy shit man, I hope you're hourly
  • 1 0
 @endurogan: Which is why I always buy new!
  • 2 1
 @endurogan: Your bike rides like a turd for 2.5 years
  • 8 0
 @scotttherider: Suggest you change your screen name to Scotttheworkaholic.
  • 6 0
 “10.000 hours” is a term coined by Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers - the story of success”. The author claims that 10k hours or 10 years, is the span of time you need to spend on something to become good at it. Supposedly the more Deliberate practice you do the better you get. Google it or just watch some short videos on youtube about it. Don’t get too excited though, it’s a great book but at the end of the day, it’s still a book on “how to get there, written by I’ve never been there”. He’s still 10k times better than most of the a*sholes in the genre like Tim Ferris
  • 1 0
 It's 19 hours a week for 10 years, so unlikely but as a kid who grew up in Whistler and then became a professional mountain biker he's probably closer than we think.
  • 5 1
 @scotttherider: are you bragging about how many hours you work? god bless amurika
  • 1 0
 @arrowheadrush: no was putting it into relation to it being possible for someone to easily put in 10,000 hours over 16 years of their life. Especially since the last 2 years have been his full time job. Average full time job puts in 2080 hours a year. Between training testing etc and most likely riding at least say 4-5 hours every day of the week I could see him being well over 10,000 in that time span. Just trying to put perspective on how easy it is to rack up hours doing anything. I would be bragging if I said I wasn’t working because I play with the biggest of toys in my line of work. It’s not really working if you have fun doing it.
  • 1 0
 @iggzdaloc: Salary non-exempt so when I do have a bit of time off I still get paid for 80 hours every 2 weeks.

@twd953: you’re right I probably should.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: whats your beef with tim ferris?
  • 1 0
 @mobil1syn: just the fact that it would be interesting to see the world working according to his ideas. 4h working week, holy sht. Oh yeah, I know there’s more to it, not everything is literal, yeah like the Old Testament or Koran. Tim Ferris is the best life coach you can have if you want to become a motivational speaker. Dream job. Very useful. Then you need that psycho Gobbins to psyche yourself into antything. That mdrfkr would get you to jump stuff from Fest XL on a Wallmart bike. Yes. You’d be lying on the ground with compound fractures of your arm, femur, pelvis, collapsed lung and blown ACLs and he’d still tell you to run a 100 mile marathon. Meanwhile Jocko Willink will come and tell you “GOOD!”
  • 3 2
 @WhistlerMountainBikePark: Malcolm Gladwell did not coin or invent the 10,000 hours phrase. He misquoted K. Anders Ericsson, the scientist that first researched how people who master a task after 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. Ericsson wrote "Peak, How to Master Anything" as a rebuttal to all of Gladwell's mistakes.

In the book Ericsson also points out the difference between going through the motions for 10,000 hours like a person driving to work and back, versus deliberate practice, like a Formula 1 driver moving up the ranks. One of the key differences is that deliberate practice can only be maintained for 2-3 hours a day before rest is needed.

That would mean it would take a minimum of 3,333 days without a single day off to have put in 10,000 hours of mastery. So when did Finn start riding again?

P.S. @WAKIdesigns, Ericsson is one of yours.
  • 7 0
 Sicccccc!!! Can't wait for his first place elite men DH podium to show up soon!
  • 5 1
 the question wasn't if
the question was When?!

some people among us, know this deep inside them, push hard, regardless if. but do it because of life, curiosity, wanting to learn and know it.
if you're scared, so be scared and still do it.
after all, nobody knows where we might end up. nobody knows.

perhaps it is still an if question, but maybe the more you do it, the more you practice the more you spent time with it.
it becomes a question of when.

this applies to a lot. I hope this helps you, it has helped me.
  • 14 2
 The tragedy of life, take a miss at what you are made for. Happens for most people probably. The only thing you can do with it is to appreciate what you have, make the best of it. The worst? The true hell? Spend your life looking to the other side of the street, and saying the grass is greener over there.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: well said, i agree with you, life can come right at you at times, but, that's life.
  • 7 0
 This was great......nice work Whistler!
  • 7 0
 Well done. This has been a great campaign.
  • 6 0
 I think the same count for Brandon Semenuk as well
  • 3 0
 Having three young boys myself I have to say this vid really resonated with me. Progressing yourself is one thing but the satisfaction you get watching your kids learn and eventually pass you in skills is amazing.
  • 5 0
 incredibly blessed....... .
  • 4 0
 doing math, 10'000 riding hours result in 200 lower leg services
  • 1 0
 With all the fuss over his DH career - I'd totally forgotten it was Finn that they campaigned to get in to the whip-off! He looks so young in that photo to say it was only 5 years ago! Damn I'm old.
  • 4 0
 Clever film Iles
  • 2 0
 If I make a riding video of myself, I wonder what Rob Warner's rate would be to narrate it?!
  • 1 0
 I need to go riding something fierce! August 4th can’t come fast enough! Nor the 11th. Going riding every Sunday at whitefish that I’m out there!
  • 1 0
 Dedication with Time and Money can make dreams come true. Here's to continued dedication.
  • 1 0
 Man I wish my local ski resort would turn the lifts in the summer! My kids and I NEED it!
  • 1 0
 My Tae Kwon Do instructor used to say you become a master at something after 10,000 hours.
  • 2 0
  • 2 0
  • 3 2
 10000 hours of training to become a sweetboy.
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Dad hat golf cap
  • 2 1
 Legen-wait for it- Dairy
  • 1 2
 Does seem like an unfair advantage & how good would everyone else be with this experience?
  • 2 0
 This is weak. I can't name one other person from Whistler racing the World Cup. The riding season is too short, and everyone skis in the winter. There are more top Canadian downhillers on Vancouver Island where you can ride most of the year. Finn was a better rider at 14 than most adults, even those racing competitively, who had been riding for longer than he had been alive. Much more to it than location.

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