In this edition of RMD, we cross the border heading to British Columbia, Canada and the not-to-be-outdone Canadian Rockies we all dream of riding. Hot springs, high mountain lakes and endless single track call us north with Panorama Bike Park our final destination. We recommend you hit up a natural hot spring on the way to make sure you are properly prepared for all the trails awaiting you on the mountain. Unfortunately, with all the flooding in the area our favorite spot on the river was underwater so we didn't get that hot soak we needed after the long drive. Thankfully, my old buddy Matt Vielle and I decided to jump in a picture-perfect, icy glacier-fed lake instead. It was cold but got rid of the cobwebs, and we were more than ready to continue north to the town of Invermere and the final drive up the canyon to Panorama Resort.
Invermere is an idyllic town sitting on the edge of Lake Windermere just off Hwy. 95. Boasting 4,000 year round residents, and up to 40,000 flooding into town on hot summer weekends, it is quite the Canadian lake-front hotspot. Amazing views greet you from every direction in this wide open valley with huge mountain peaks as far as you can see. As we roll into the picturesque downtown, our first stop is Angus McToogle's, a popular local eatery. After a long drive, taking advantage of the outdoor seating area and beer on tap was a perfect introduction to the town. The owner also graced us with some traditional Scottish music on his guitar while we ate bangers and mash and Guinness steak pie. After a Scottish serenade, beer and great meal we head up to Panorama Resort to check out the bike park.
Friends Jeff and Jaimie Rees raved about the quality riding at Panorama Resort and we were excited to get out and see for ourselves. After a quick breakfast at the Picnic Cafe at the base we met up with Panorama marketing associate Jamie Hurschler who was eager to show us around. The village at Panorama is tremendous because it has something for everyone. Whether you're here to ride or, God forbid, just want to hang by the pool with your family, this is the spot to be. A number of beautiful condo's and lodges are within a stone's throw of the mile-high quad that takes you to the top of the bike park making extremely easy access to the mountain. If you’re here with family too young to hit the trails Jamie told us about the Pano Kids program offering kid-friendly activities on the mountain like Rock climbing/Fun Zone, EuroBungy, Pool and Sprinkler games, and Mountain Adventures (Check Panorama's website
for more details). The Grey Wolf golf course which is rated top 25 in Canada is also located at the Resort or you can hit up some whitewater rafting on Toby Creek which runs through the lower village. Like I said before, there are enough activities to keep everyone busy. Now off to ride!
The Panorama Bike Park is now open 7 days a week 10am-5pm for summer operations. 30 new Norco Aurum DH bikes are now available to rent with protective gear for folks who don't have a ride of their own. They boast a mile long chairlift with 380m / 1246ft of vertical drop and 17 excellent mountain trails.They are hosting the 2013 Canadian DH MTB Championships July 11 & 14 here and rumor has Steve Smith will be on course, so trust me these trails are no joke. Bike park manager Jason Simpson and everyone on the trail crew has been working overtime to get the course dialed in. Crew frontman Stephan Mallette, who had previously been a trail builder at Bromont Bike Park, and his boys Richard Calvert, Mason Pridham and Owen Peters are putting heart and soul into the trails to bring the park to the next level with a load of new obstacles waiting for this weekend’s big race.
Matt and I were stoked to film with the local MTB instructors Vee Burroughs and Sheena Brereton; these ladies love getting new people into the sport and showing them the ropes. When they’re not teaching they rip the trails here at Panorama. We saw one, if not both of them, on the trails all weekend long. Panorama's onsite mechanic/ripper Nick Boland and local Invemere riders Angus McCarty and Jon Topozini were happy show Matt and I around as we hit all the classic trails available on Panorama. There were great beginner trails, like Rocking Horse, that still kept the interest even for skilled riders. Let it Ride, Mercy Me and then on to Hells Bells seemed like favorite trail combo for most riders because of its combo of roots, rocks and berms on the upper section and long line of jumps, hips and wall ride on the lower section. With no line in sight it was easy to dial in a few zesty whips on smooth table tops. We also shredded the technical Quadzilla and explored the gnarly lines at Cliffs of Insanity. Crazy Train, another favorite, had plenty of sweet wood features and drops with a nice amount of good ol’ rowdy DH style riding in between. The Rock Star Dream It Built Contest features including The Mouse Trap, Log jump and Whale tail was the icing on the proverbial cake and completed the awesome experience we had on the mountain. After a long day of shredding we chilled out on the deck of the T-Bar with our new Canadian friends and sampled some the BC's finest brews. Not a bad way to end our sweet weekend!
As you can probably tell we are huge fans of BC and Panorama Bike Park is another hidden gem to write home about. If you’re in the area, we strongly recommend you head up to the big race this weekend. If not, check out their website to get all the details on how you can plan your next riding vacation. There is no question Matt and I will be back, but next time we won't be wearing our camera bags!
Stay tuned for the video from our days in the park coming soon,Big Thanks to