Well, yesterday I got to finally follow in never's footsteps (tire treads?) and ride Panorama Bike Park outside Invermere, BC. All I can say is "WOW!" It is not Whistler; but that is 'not Whistler' in a very good way.
You won't find the buffed, truck-width corridors through the trees up here and the full-bore romp jump trails crowded wih grom traffic. This is semi-old-skool, rough-hewn singletrack DH, with some interesting, sonme sketchy, some not-so-sketchy wood thrown in. All-in-all it was one of the best times I've had on a mountain.
I went up solo, whcih meant that I had to find someone to tag along with (at my wife's insistance). Well, and plus, park-riding is always more fun that way. Well I lucked out in spades. One of the employees at the bike shop in the village was supposed to guide a group of six and I was welcomed to tag along; only the group bailed because of the morning rain. He wanted to go ride anyway, so it was just two of us with the whole mountain to shred as we liked. By the time we got on the chair, the rain stopped, the sun broke and the weather held the rest of the day with absolutely hero dirt.
We strated on some blue trails to warm up, then moved on to the blacks.Then it was on to the double-blacks and man were they steep-n-deep. Rooty, rocky, technical and rough. Best part was, every run we did was full top-to-bot tom - - no turn out and rest-and-jaw breathers; just go . . . and go. Nice long (5-10-minute) runs. So you really got the feel of the whole trail all put together in solid runs.
He had to bug out back to the shop and work about 1:00, so I went back up and did a blue run, then broke for lunch in the village with my wife and Alex from the shop. After lunch, I went back up and hit Insanity (one of the double-black trails) again, then hooked up with some riders from Calgary for another run down insanity at speed (trying to keep up with them, then back to a blue called Mercy Me that ends in a jump trail called Hells Bells - - the closest thing to a Whistler-like jump line. That was a fun romp to close the day on and a good cap on 5+ hours of solid riding.
All told, 12 runs on a fun, fun mountain and two very tired hands. Definitely going to come back next year, hopefully with a group of us.