You Can: Confidently, if conservatively, ride moderately difficult terrain.
You Want: To corner faster, clear larger obstacles, and bomb down technical trails.
The Trip: Book a few lessons at Whistler Bike Park, which features thousands of man-made and natural obstacles—berms, rollers, cliffs, rock slabs, and even a foam pit to jump into (from US$217 per day with bike rental and lift ticket). Your coach will help you master the terrain and make quick downhill turns on switchbacks without putting your foot down, and will offer tips like how to prevent crashing while taking a banked turn (lead with your chin). Then head out on the hundreds of miles of trails that surround the ski resort. By night, soak in the Pan Pacific’s pool and hot tub (doubles from US$199), both of which overlook the bike park.
Essential Gear: On top of a good all-around ride like the Santa Cruz Blur LT (US$1,850), you’ll need a full-face helmet, biking gloves, goggles, and total body armor. You could buy all these accessories from a quality manufacturer like POC for around US$1,000, or you can just rent everything you need from the park for US$45 a day. The Whistler Bike Shop also rents Giants, Treks, and Konas, from entry level to the same downhill bikes the pros use (US$99 per day).