During your Whistler vacation, consider jumping aboard a snowmobile for some high-adrenaline fun! With a trail system 100km long, Whistler boasts ample terrain to experience snowmobiling for the first time, or for seasoned pros to deviate from the beaten path and discover slopes rarely sullied by human activity.
The two major Whistler snowmobile providers are Blackcomb Snowmobile and Canadian Snowmobile, each offering a variety of Whistler snowmobiling tours that cater to all skill levels. Depending on your budget, time, and taste, you could find yourself motoring through old growth forests, gazing at the tips of glaciers, or drinking a stunning Whistler mountain vista.
With adventures for beginners to snowmobiling pros, Blackcomb Snowmobile is ready to meet your needs. Learn more about their Whistler snowmobling tours.
Catering to all skill levels, (beginners to advanced), you'll zoom through old growth forests and play in deep fluffy snow with exclusive Whistler snowmobile guided tours on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
Here are some tips to prepare for your Whistler snowmobiling tour.
Snowmobile drivers do not need a driver’s license. However, you must be 14 years or older to be eligible. It is also recommended that passengers be at least 10 years old, and able to hold on firmly.
There’s nothing worse than being cold and clammy. For this reason, avoid cottons and sweat shirts that retain moisture and invite the possibility of hypothermia. Instead try polypropylene garments and thermal under layers that release moisture and retain body heat.
Quality snowmbile wear should also be effectively resistant to wind and water. Your helmet and face shield (generally provided by the tour operator), are essential to protect from cold and hidden hazards. Waterproof, insulated boots and leather snomobile mitts can also add protection and warmth.
Operating a snowmobile is similar to riding a bicycle - the ease of turning the handlebars depends mostly on your speed. (Hint: use a lighter touch when burning up the trail). Keep your feet in the stirrups for stability, and lean to the inside on the turns.
Keep a space of at least 30 yards from other snowmobiles on the trail. Lastly, at slower speeds don’t be afraid to take a fall. (Tipping over a couple times is part of the experience).
Just like regular driving in North America, snowmobiling adheres to the same guidelines (with a few exceptions). Always keep to the right of the trails, especially on turns. When stopping, do not stop directly on the trail but veer off to the side.
Never stop on turns or narrow parts of the trail if you can avoid it. Be courteous and give the right of way to oncoming groups of pedestrians, skiers, and other snowmobilers. And keep that throttle under control! Your speed should be consistent with posted speed limits and trail conditions.
While it’s tempting to preoccupy yourself with the stunning Whistler scenery, your attention is better spent on the path before you. Engine noise and your helmet may interfere with your hearing, so you’ll have to rely on visual sharpness to navigate your way. Dangers to consider: other trail users, snow banks, oncoming sleds, trees and branches on the trail, obstacles veiled by the snow, and wildlife (wouldn’t want to kill Bambi).
To avoid getting stuck in the first place, remember to stop in deep snow only if you are pointed downhill. Also watch for depressions in the powder, which could be stream beds that make it extremely difficult to pull a sled from.
And remember, don’t be afraid of getting stuck as it’s bound to happen a few times a day, unless you’re staying on perfectly groomed trails. As long as you keep the throttle going you are likely to pull through the soft spots.
Some heavily used Whistler trails can become bumpy and inflict stinging pain on your spine. Learn the proper technique for handling the ups-and-downs! Decrease your speed as you approach the bumpy section, but keep your speed consistent. (Avoid revving the throttle as it will dig the bumps deeper for future riders).
Stand up slightly and anticipate large dips using your legs as shock absorbers, letting the snowmobile buck up and down beneath you. Throughout your ride, switch positions to avoid constant stress on the same part of your body, and take numerous breaks to keep your muscles loose.
Riding tandem on a snowmobile allows much more freedom to roam the Whistler vistas with your eyes. But keep in mind, you’re still of vital importance the driver and the snowmobile’s handling. After seating yourself behind the driver, grab on to one of the rider holds: either the backrest bars, the strap on the seat, or of course, the driver.
Remain aware of the trail and upcoming turns. For best handling, mirror the movements of the driver and lean when they lean. Anticipate bumps in the trail and use your legs for shock absorption. Finally, abandon ship with the driver as it’s much safer to let the snowmobile stop on its own.
With these Whistler snowmobile tips, you’ll be a step ahead of the other rookies. But be aware, with great snowmobiling skill comes great responsibility. (Use your new wisdom for good, and not evil). Lastly, make sure you listen to your guide and enjoy your snowmobiling adventure on Whistler mountain!
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