Best of Whistler 2012: Sports & Recreation 

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Best of Whistler 2012 - Sports & Recreation

Best of Whistler 2012 - Sports & Recreation

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 Rock'n'Roll rocks.  And rolls. And does some other unexpected things as it winds its way down the slope in the Crystal area. On a groomer day it's almost as fun as its neighbour — and number two run on the list — Ridge Runner. On a powder day it becomes something else, with a lot of little surprises on both sides of the run.

Ridge Runner is a roller coaster on snow with gut lurching ups and downs, and one of those trails that's great in almost any conditions. It's also a trail where you can take anybody, from the most hardcore expert to the virtual beginner.

Spanky's Ladder, the gateway to the gems known as Diamond, Ruby and Sapphire bowls, was number three on the list. All the runs are steep, deep and double black, but if you know your way around you're going to have an amazing run.

Best XC Ski Loop

Of the more than 100km of cross-country trails available in the Callaghan and  Lost Lake Park,  the one with the most traffic is the Lost Lake Loop — a selection of beginner trails that circles the lake, and where most cross-country skiers in the community probably got their start. While there are longer, faster and more scenic trails out there, nostalgia, access and night skiing seem to count for a lot as the Lost Lake Loop took the most votes in this category. Second on the list was the almost 5km Norwegian Woods trail at Whistler Olympic Park in the Madeley Creek area. This is a great out-and back trail to Powell Lake. Third on the list is the very flat — and this year very cheap — loop of Nicklaus North, which has a few things going for it — it's flat, so it's fun for families and beginners, it's open so you get incredible views of the mountains. And did we mention that it's flat?

Best Snowshoe Trail

 Lost Lake Park  has around 10km of marked snowshoe trails to enjoy and lots of other options if you go off the beaten path, and is popular with everyone from amateurs to people warming up for race events like The Yeti Snowshoe Series (which comes to Whistler Olympic Park on Mar. 2 this year — visit www.theyeti.ca for details).

Second on the list for snowshoe fans was the Callaghan, or more specifically the trails at Whistler Olympic Park. The WOP has about 20km of marked trails to explore, and infinite side trips with lots of great snow.

Third is the Canadian Wilderness Adventures guided hike on the Medicine Trail in the Callaghan Valley, a 3.5-hour tour into old growth stands that were recently discovered to be over 1,000 years old.

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