King of the Scene
What It Is: Once dominated by the logging industry, today this small city of 15,000 is an outdoor sports enthusiasts dream worthy of a stopover on the way to Whistler.
You Should Go If: You want to explore countless miles of trails and logging roads in a broad panoramic valley at the tip of Howe Sound.
Don't Miss: The Ring Creek Rip to Powerhouse Plunge ride, a twisty, fun singletrack romp in the woods that has a few nerve-testing drops unless you take the cheater lines. Squamish is also home to the Stawamus Chief, one of the world's largest granite monoliths.
Local Knowledge: Be prepared to push your personal courage envelope, because what locals call cross-country riding is probably closer to freeriding for the rest of us.
Quotable: "The only reason we are not Moab north is because our weather can be horrendous," admits Dave Heisler, owner of Corsa Cycles in Squamish. "But that's also one of the reasons it's so green here. When the sun is out it's one of the best riding places in the world."
Shoptalk: Both Corsa Cycles (www.corsacycles.com; 604.892.3331) in the Squamish Station Mall and the Tantalus bike shop (www.tantalusbikeshop.com; 604.898.2588) on Glenalder Place have knowledgeable staff and extensive rental fleets.
Crash Pad: Pull into the Howe Sound Inn and Brewing Company (www.howesound.com; 604.892.2603) on Cleveland Avenue in downtown Squamish for an affordable room and tasty adult beverage.
Getting There: From Vancouver International Airport, make the 90-minute drive through the city and up the Sea-to-Sky Highway. But remember to check the construction schedule for Highway 99, which is undergoing a massive upgrade ahead of the 2010 Winter Olympics that will be held in both Vancouver and Whistler.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication