Toby Creek Adventures Offers a Fresh Spin on Mountain Biking

Located in Panorama, B.C., Toby Creek Adventures is the first shuttle-access mountain bike operation in the area.

Dirt dreams: A rider on an advanced trail operated by Toby Creek Adventures. Photo by Margus Riga.

Some masochistic mountain bikers may tell you they derive pleasure from a rooty and rocky, unrelenting 1,560-metre climb. But the majority of those freaks are lying through their grit-smeared teeth. Forget riding uphill: shuttling is the way to go!

Enter Toby Creek Adventures in Panorama, B.C., the first shuttle-access mountain bike operation in the area. Adventurous mountain bikers in the intermediate or advanced class can take the 20-person (max) shuttle, which departs on the hour from the Toby Creek base area. With the shuttle doing the uphill grind, your legs will be fresh for every lap.

Lorraine Blancher, Toby Creek Adventures’ marketing manager and a former pro mountain bike athlete, says each lap takes about 40 minutes and the shuttle ride up is 20 minutes. The cost is $30 for the initial ride and $10 for each additional lap. E-bikers can ride the up-track after the shuttle departs each hour at a cost of $20 per lap.

“So far, we’ve built two private, world-class trails … and there are more trails coming,” Blancher says. She adds that trails at the bottom half of the mountain are rated intermediate and feature “non-stop berms, rollers, table-tops and tons of side-hits.”

Toby Creek Adventures also operates a skills park at the base area, plus a one-kilometre green-level flow trail that Blancher says is “perfect for beginners to practise their skills and try out the sport.”

So, while big-air aficionados — and, yes, easy-does-it “flow” riders who like to keep it chill — can all currently find their happy place at Toby Creek, the adventure company has even bigger plans on the horizon.

“We’re just waiting on [provincial] government tenure approval to add guided high-alpine rides in the upper reaches of our private terrain,” says Blancher. “It’s going to be a mountain-bike experience on par with the best in North America.”


Pack it Up

If adventure-riding is your jam, you may want to get into bikepacking, a fast-growing genre in off-road cycling. Bikepacking is an overnight or multi-day adventure on your mountain bike or gravel bike — and thanks to a plethora of frame-packs, saddle-bags and tight-fighting panniers now on the market, it’s easier than you think. (That being said, space and weight restrictions mean you’ll have to forgo bringing your drink-blending apparatus for plastic mini-bottles.) Some popular two-day bikepacking trips within range from Calgary include the Lake Minnewanka shoreline, Elk Pass and the Big Elbow/Little Elbow loop in K-Country. To learn more about bikepacking, the necessary equipment, possible routes and essential planning tips, visit the experts at your local bike shop.

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This article appears in the May 2024 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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