A Scottish family's summer adventure to Big White in BC Canada. Having been to Big White five times for winter skiing, this family was eager to return for some summer downhill biking.
As a family from Scotland who love Big White in winter (and have been 5 times), we couldn’t wait to get to the resort in Summer. When they announced they were opening mountain bike trails
for downhill riding in summer we were so excited. I’m not sure when my 16 and 15-year-old sons were ever more excited… perhaps our last Christmas holiday in Big White in 2015! (notice a theme here?)
So, armed with the largest family CanaDream RV
(MHA 33ft) off we went to explore and camp on the mountain along with our friends who had their own CanaDream RV too.
Camping Big White
offers amazing value for money on RV and tent camping
, located right beside the Black Forest lift and just 15 mins walk from the village centre mall. We arrived at Friday lunchtime to find only a few other campers there - our RV site was a drive-through spot right in front of the shower and toilet block. Although there is no electric, water or waste hookups at the campsite, our RV’s were fully self-contained and we really enjoyed being disconnected (though our kids found the free WIFI!). It’s very simple and uncomplicated and if you have any questions, the lovely Kristen, who works for the resort, was on hand to help us.
We quickly set up the RV’s in minutes and we were off to central reservations to register for our mountain lift passes and our downhill rental bikes (amazing Trek Session 8’s).
Friday evening is a late biking night- so the keen boys went off for “just a few runs” which turned out to be 4 hours’ worth! And the rest of the group went up the lift to hike to the peak and down.
Hiking Big White
The mountain flora and fauna were incredible. Some locals were saying the flowers were the best they’d seen in 20 years. While it was our first time up in summer, we couldn’t have agreed more.
We really enjoyed the hike to the peak and then down the Falcon Ridge to the village. It was more challenging in parts than we thought, so good sturdy shoes are recommended. It’s a very rocky mountain with lots of jumping over rocks and windy paths. The network is easy to follow as stones are brightly painted orange and little Inukshuk’s guide you round.
Biking Big White
Renting a downhill bike is to be recommended if you don’t have your own. The downhill bikes are built especially for this type of terrain and armed with huge suspension forks and massive dinner plate sized brake disks - you feel like you can accomplish anything. The team at Big White were super friendly, funny and helpful. Simon and his team guided us through the paperwork, disclaimers and all the requirements efficiently - there were 9 of us so it was quite a task.
Whilst my family are bikers, our friends were completely new and a little apprehensive. The team had them kitted out expertly with helmets, body armour and bikes aligned, and brake handles reversed (for us Brits) and we were all ready to go.
The downhill trails are accessed from the Bullet Express chair lift, a high-speed chair with bike racks which are easy to use. Even I managed it first time, though the chatty lifties are there for any malfunctions and to help the kids (and big kids).
Our friends had booked a Bike Big White private instructor for the day - as total newcomers to biking they really wanted to get to the basics before trying anything bigger. They couldn’t have asked for a better instructor than Jackie Martin, who knew the mountain like the back of her hand and had an incredible way of teaching the group, who aged from 12 through to 57! Not an easy feat for anyone. All had an amazing day with Jackie and were definitely better off for having gone through the basics of biking before setting off up the chair lift.
As it was our first time on the mountain, the experienced riders in our group took their time on a few warm-up laps and enjoyed the green run “Pry Bar”, which essentially takes you down to the bottom again. It’s a long one and is more challenging than I expected, but it was a great warm up.
I soon got left behind by my boys, they were in their element. The runs were even better than they had watched on YouTube and they were on the final lift at the end of the day.
Our favourite runs
• The Joker- out of this world!
• Dark Roast- nice and flowy
• Berm Slang- great warm up run
Apres-biking at Big White
With sore legs and tired arms, we headed for The Woods for some light refreshment and some quality appetizers. Local craft beers, ciders and fizzy drinks (pop) for the kids (they’d earned it) along with home-made fries and hand-cooked chips - we were in heaven.
Dinner was a casual and noisy affair in Snowshoe Sam’s - it’s a great place in winter and we had a super night in the summer. It’s where the locals hang out and we enjoyed burgers, pizza and chicken strips.
As it’s daylight until nearly 9 30pm, we slowly wandered back to the RV’s, stopping to take in the open-air cinema - there is so much going on in this resort.
With a day full of activity, it was lights out quick and the campsite was so quiet we all slept well. Big White, we’ll be back… in both winter and Summer!
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