Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Koots, Hoots and Muddy Boots

Words by Ryan Kuhn
Images by Vince Boothe

I’m a first time Banshee blogger, long time biking addict. I’m living large racing/riding a new Scythe (see the Pinkbike preview here: and thought
I’d chime in on the “insider’s blog” to give you a glimpse of what’s happening with the trails and tribulations in the Kootenays of BC. As I’m in the process of working on a story focusing on the trail builders in this region, I’ll update this blog with the exciting bits of what’s goin’ down, or up, with the riding scene in these parts…and how the Scythe’s handling it all.

Ryan on a twisted little Stu-stunt on the Flume...nice

Seeing how I’m from Rossland, that’s a good place to start. A little known fact is Rossland is dubbed “Mountain Biking Capital of Canada.” How does a community earn such a dubious title? Well, it’s kinda like turning pro – you just say it and it’s so. Voila! However, while Rossland may not be dolled up in Troy Lee, there’s definitely something supporting the ambitions claim (I know, I your community the “Mountain Bike Ruler of the Universe” for all it’s worth!).

While Rossland is home to 170k of buffed, technical, steep and rapidly rolling single track, it’s now world-renowned for the Seven Summits Trail ( – an IMBA “Epic” and Bike Mag’s “Trail of the Year” for 2007. Yeah, it’s all that…but that’s not all.

Rossland was once an epicentre for DH and freeriding, with some of the gnarliest sections featured in the original Kranked movies and host to numerous races – including highlights on the BC Cup/Canadian Cup series. Those downhill glory days appear to have moved on...or have they?

Presley and Ryan driving the golden spike (ok, galvanized) on a new 17-foot-hip/step-up-over-a-log-ride thing. More on this later...

Last fall, a group of local grassroots trail builders calling themselves the RFA (Rossland Freeride Alliance) approached the local Kootenay Columbia Trail Society to help maintain and build on the black-diamond trails in the area. This was largely in response to the direction the society was taking with a cross-country focus and the destruction of some of the more popular stunts without discussion. Since then, an informal agreement has been reached and there’s been a flurry of freeride trail building activity by the RFA and friends, both on sanctioned trails and some less legit but very popular gems.

In this instalment, I’ll show you a bit of what’s happened on “The Flume” – a steep, stunt-infested classic. The RFA has mostly worked with wood on this trail in the past year. Here are some images of what we’ve been up to:

Valet Parking – a new edition on the Rossland classic The Flume. Built over an older, decommissioned line, it takes a gnar steep rock face into this massive catch berm, followed by a long rolling skinny. Rory gets hammered.

This is the underside of the Valet Parking berm – we knew there would be some serious momentum carrying into this thing so it needed to be bomber. Tied into the huge stump with braces sitting on bedrock, I’d drive my truck on this beauty.

It's a long one...long live the Alaskan Mill!

Isaac, mill master.

Ryan eyeing the end of the long Valet Parking (pre-Scythe).

This is the early stage of "The Moustache" (aptly named, Matty!) stunt on the Flume. Unfortunately I don't have any pics of the finished product, but will post soon. It is actually two log rides with a small gap/drop linking them and a small gapper at the end of this long, downhill skinny.

Yet another new creation - this was a rebuild of a sketchy old section just after the "Johnny Rocks" drop on the Flume. Cedar=solid. These stunts were built with available deadfall and snags. We avoided spiking live trees.

Parting shot: Chris McLean...the man, the legend. Chris is the most dedicated trail builder I've ever met. Pictured here on another late, post-build session. Beer and darkness always make it bit more challenging!

Until next time...keep diggin'.