The minute that we saw a listing for ATV tours in Whistler, we knew that we had to book it. Not only do we both love ATV's, but it was one of the only ways that we were going to be able to tour the mountains October. October is between the main tourist seasons. We were visiting too early to ski and too late to use the lifts for summer hiking as the gondolas were closed for annual maintenance. It's not all bad though, visiting in October gave us good deals and we didn't have huge crowds. Plus, it was so beautiful with the leaves donning their fall colors. We booked our tour on a Friday night, when the weather was clear and crisp. When we woke up Saturday morning to head for our ten am tour, the town was covered in a blanket of snow, with more falling. I had packed all of my heaviest clothes, but was still not prepared for spending two hours in the snow. The biggest area where I was ill equip was footwear. I had my Uggs, which although warm, I was not going to sacrifice on an outdoor excursion. My other option and the one that I went with was my Mizuno running shoes, which are known for their breathability. The only socks were a pair of moderate weight ankle socks. Not good.
Prior to getting on the actual tour, we checked out the snow-covered advertisement sitting at the base of the mountain, close to where we had to check in for the tour.
We are not about to let a little snow scare us off!
It'll just slide right off that ATV!
It doesn't look like much snow in the pictures, but it was just getting started. Our tour route had to be changed due to low visibility and the afternoon tours were canceled.
We were driven in a bus about ten minutes up the mountain to a base camp where the ATV's were housed. It looked like a business attached to a private residence. Our group had about ten drivers and two tour guides. Due to an arm injury, I rode as a passenger with Dan. Dan used to own an ATV in England and it's more fun just letting him take the reins. We managed to make the biggest splash in going through the giant mud puddle!
A great thing about the ATV company is that they provided cold weather gear. I bulked up with a yellow rain pants and a much thicker winter jacket than the one I brought. I also borrowed black rain boots. The boots were much better than my running shoes, but I still suffered from improper socks. If I learned one packing lesson on this trip, it would be the value of warm socks! My toes were frozen by the end of the tour and I think that I might have been in actual trouble if the tour had continued much longer. I thought that the tour was run with a high degree of professionalism with a focus on safety and comfort for the guests.
After gearing up, we climbed on our ATV's.
Baby, it's cold outside!
All of the drivers had to complete a short safety course to prove to the guides that they knew the basics and then we were off into the mountains. I was told that this was the best time of day for bear sightings and kept my eyes peeled. I didn't see any and I don't blame them for sleeping in on a snowy October morning!
As someone who has had very little experience with snow, I felt like the entire tour was nothing short of magical. The pictures don't do it justice. It was stunning.
We raced through the snowy forest.
Keeping a look out for bears!
The visibility getting less the higher we climb.
Next stop, the North Pole
Here I am, hidden behind all of my gear, but smiling!
I'm in there somewhere...all snuggly warm, except for my feet.
Here's a map of the ski slopes that we explored.
We rode here, there and everywhere.
Enough with the break, let's ride!
On the move, keep looking for bears!
We had a fantastic time and would highly recommend this activity to anyone visiting Whistler!