ATVing at Whistler B.C.
By Scott A. Sumner
Brad Messom is the lead guide at Canadian Snowmobile Adventures and Canadian All Terrain Adventures at Whistler, BC. He gave me my first experience in the wonderful world of ATV's. I loved it! As an avid snowmobiler of some 35 years it was a long time coming, but well worth the wait especially in the spectacular mountain setting of Whistler, BC.
The company, Canadian All Terrain Adventures was started in 1993 by Alan Crawford and Doug Washer. "They were grooming operators at Whistler Blackcomb and would go out on these snowmobile adventures after work. People would listen in at the bar and ask if they could go along,' smiles Brad Messom. "They started the business and have branched out to ATV's, Hummers, Sno Cats and Helicopters. The company went from 2 to 50 employees and 60 to 70 snowmobiles. About 1/2 of those are high end sport sleds and the other half touring sleds. We have Bombardier Ski Doo Renegade 600 HOs and Ski Doo GTX Touring 550s. Every 2 years we change the sleds. In ATVs we have 25 - 8 Bombardiers that will be replaced this year as well as 2005 Honda Tracksters."
Clients can book through a reservation agency or come to the company sales desk which is located at the Carlton Lodge at the base of Whistler Blackcomb. "We book 2, 3 or 4 hour snowmobile trips and run expedition style multi-day trips in the winter time. There are a whole variety of tours we can accommodate from sight seeing to rip and rides."
Our ATV trip on a beautiful sunny Whistler day was the mountain explorer which cost $120 per person. Canadian All Terrain Adventures have all the required gear - boots, rain suits and the safety materials - DOT helmets, goggles and gloves. They gave us a run down on the machine, how it works, how to ride and get comfortable on the machines before you head out on the trails. All the tours are guided, so what ever the experience level and riding levels of the groups they tailor to each group. You could have a pretty extreme ride if you want. We were on Blackcomb mountain up some of the maintenance roads and some of the off shoots where we actually cut across some of the ski runs. You went up to the Glacier Creek Lodge at 5000 feet and headed down from there.
I was interested to hear about snowmobiling in Whistler where you can get a riding experience from beginner level in the Fitzsimmons Valley on very gentle, wide trails groomed daily with no sharp corners - super simple and very scenic as Brad would say. To an intermediate level at night after Blackcomb closes where you can go up to the Crystal Hut area for 3 or 4 hours. "We have one tour that is a fondue dinner where you snowmobile up and down. For those who dont want to snowmobile you can access that with our Bombardier Sno Cat,' states Messom. "We have intermediate tours where we have tenure in the Callahan Valley and can cater to those people who can really ride and maybe have their own snowmobiles at home.
"Last year we started Heli Snowmobiling at Strout. These 4 1/2 hour tours cost approximately $500. You fly up on top of Sprout and there are about 8 or 9 holes with fantastic snowmobiling. It is all weather dependent on whether the chopper can fly or not depending on the ceiling. There are 5 people in the chopper on a 5 minute ride from our base at the Callahan lodge and you snowmobile 3 and 3/4 of a hour. You fly up once and you are in a bowl where you can play in the powder." notes Messom.
Does Brad Messom like his job? "My job is the best job ever. I am an avid outdoorsman. I love working in the outdoors and I do love snowmobiling now. It is amazing,' smiles Messom. "If I get a day off I will spend it snowmobiling. I'm saving up for my own sled. ATV's are great as well. They get you in a lot of amazing places and it is a great way to see the mountain."