WHISTLER — A TRAIL RUN­NER’S PLAY­GROUND

Whistler Traveller Magazine - - TRAVELLER I CONTENT - STORY BY DAVID BURKE IM­AGES BY JOERN ROHDE

Kevin Ti­tus has pretty much done it all in the run­ning world — both on the road and on Whistler’s fa­mous net­work of recre­ational trails. Ti­tus, a school teacher who has lived in the re­sort for 33 years, has fin­ished at or near the front in a host of road races and has a per­sonal best of a blis­ter­ing 2 hours, 19 min­utes, 32 sec­onds in the marathon (That’s a pace of 5:19 per mile over 26.2 miles.). He’s also won the gru­elling 50-kilo­me­tre (30-mile) Knee Knack­er­ing North Shore Trail Run twice, and came in first in Whistler’s 24-km Com­fort­ably Numb trail race — a race he co-founded a few years ear­lier — in 2011, at age 54. Ti­tus and other trail lovers owe a big debt of grat­i­tude to the Re­sort Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Whistler (RMOW) and to the lo­cal moun­tain bik­ing com­mu­nity for the abun­dance of riches that is Whistler’s trail net­work. Tal­ented trail builders — mostly work­ing un­der the um­brella of the Whistler Off Road Cy­cling As­so­ci­a­tion ( WORCA) with the bless­ing of the RMOW and the co­op­er­a­tion of pri­vate landown­ers — have fash­ioned a net­work mostly with two-wheeled travel in mind, but also a tre­men­dous resource to those seek­ing fit­ness and soli­tude on two feet. “It’s a main rea­son for liv­ing here in the sum­mer, spring and fall,” Ti­tus said of the hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres of trails in and around Whistler. “There’s just such a great va­ri­ety of trails, and cer­tainly WORCA has been in­stru­men­tal in build­ing and main­tain­ing them.”

With re­cent up­grades to the trails of Rain­bow Lake, Sproatt Moun­tain and Train Wreck, run­ners and bik­ers have an ex­panded play­ground to ex­plore. With so many trails to choose from, any list of lo­cal run­ning “favourites” is purely sub­jec­tive — when asked to com­ment on this writer’s list, Ti­tus of­fered a few of his own. Trail run­ners, of course, come in all shapes and abil­i­ties, as one’s pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence might be an­other’s gru­elling night­mare. Here’s a brief list of trails, bro­ken down into Nice (easy), Nasty (in­ter­me­di­ate) and Gnarly (more dif­fi­cult).

Nice

• Val­ley Trail — No mat­ter where you are in the re­sort, you are prob­a­bly not far from a seg­ment of the 40-kilo­me­tre­long, mostly paved Val­ley Trail. It links Whistler Vil­lage and Creek­side with lakes, parks and neigh­bour­hoods and is used by those com­mut­ing to work as well as those out for a pleas­ant walk. Wayfind­ing signs make it easy to head out for a run and find your way back.

• Lost Lake Trails — Not far from the Vil­lage, the trails in Lost Lake Park en­com­pass both dou­ble­track paths (Panorama and Cen­ten­nial) and sin­gle­track (Tin Pants, Molly Ho­gan and Old Mill Road). For a slightly hilly sin­gle­track run­ning ex­pe­ri­ence al­most de­void of rocks and roots, start at the Pas­sivHaus near Whistler Vil­lage and head up the wide path to­ward Lost Lake. Look left for the sign to Tin Pants, a twisty, up-and-down and nicely grav­elled path that leads to other, sim­i­lar trails.

Nasty

• A River Runs Through It — One of the sig­na­ture Whistler sin­gle­track trails, it has been up­graded sev­eral times over the years. The el­e­va­tion gain is min­i­mal but in­cludes enough twists, turns, planks, logs and bridges to keep your in­ter­est. Most peo­ple start the 4.3-kilo­me­tre, out-and-back trail from Rain­bow Park. Al­low 30 to 40 min­utes in each di­rec­tion, or you can loop back via Alta Lake Road or Bob’s Re­bob/ Whip Me Snip Me on the north side of the road. • High Note — For a run or hike with amaz­ing alpine vis­tas, it is hard to beat this one. Pur­chase a ticket for the Whistler Vil­lage Gon­dola, then take the Peak Chair to the sum­mit for the start of the 9.5-kilo­me­tre route that loops back to the Round­house Lodge. “High Note is nice be­cause you’re start­ing and fin­ish­ing in the alpine; so it’s beau­ti­ful, for sure,” Ti­tus said. Be­fore you go, be sure to find out whether the trail is snow-free and bring sun­screen and an ex­tra layer along as it can be chilly even on sunny days. You’ll have to pick your way down a few switch­backs near the start, but there are some great run-able sec­tions and in­cred­i­ble views of Cheaka­mus Lake and Black Tusk.

“There’s just such a great va­ri­ety of trails, and cer­tainly WORCA has been in­stru­men­tal in build­ing and main­tain­ing them.”

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