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This Is Why Mountain Bikers Love Whitefish, Montana

There are many reasons why Whitefish, Montana is suddenly on every mountain biker’s radar and a 3,800-foot descent is one of them.

There’s something refreshing about the town of Whitefish, Montana. Perhaps it’s the clean mountain air. Or maybe it’s the expansive sky. Or it could be the refreshing simplicity of the place: Central Avenue is located in the middle of downtown, which is a short walk from City Beach, and from all these spots you’re offered an incredible view of the aptly named Big Mountain, home to Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Whitefish sprang up over a century ago when a railway station was built in the Flathead Valley, about an hour’s drive south of the Canadian border. It was inhabited by loggers, farmers and railway workers back then, but that changed in the 1940s with the development of the ski resort on Big Mountain. Soon athletes and travellers were visiting the area and many stayed.

This is the beginning to an article I did about mountain biking in Whitefish, Montana. To read it in its entirety, visit mountainculturegroup.com.

Blundstone Boots Review – 4 Sports, 1 Day, 1 Pair of Blundstones

I’ve reviewed a lot of gear over the years and sometimes it’s hard to think of new ways to test things. This one, however, was a lot of fun: 4 sports, 1 day, 1 pair of Blundstones. This is how the review starts:

Blundstone boots are the de facto footwear for the mountain town I live in. They’re so ubiquitous, the entrance way to house parties resemble a Blundstone factory floor. I remember one New Year’s Eve bash in particular where there were about 20 pairs of the boots by the front door and at the end of the party, CBC Journalist Bob Keating was dismayed to learn a particularly exuberant reveller had taken home his size 12s, and left him her size sevens. Despite their popularity, I had never owned a pair of Blundstones, preferring my Chuck Taylors even in the soppiest of weather. So when I was given a pair of black, leather-lined, round toe #558 boots to review I admit it took me a long time to leave the Chucks behind and start stomping around in them. In fact, my first few goes with the Blundstones were a bit uncomfortable: there was a particular spot that pinched around my ankle but very quickly the leather moulded to my foot and they were good to go.

At that point I looked into the company and learned it was started by John and Eliza Blundstone in Hobart, Australia, way back in 1870. It’s since changed hands a few times and is now owned by the Cuthbertson family who continue to operate the headquarters out of Tasmania, but most of the boots have been made overseas since 2007. (As of this writing the company makes 37 different kinds and colours including steel-toed work boots, kids boots and winter-specific boots with Thinsulate insulation.)

Read the entire review on Mountain Culture Group.

Bouldering in Blundstones. Not recommended.

Danny Macaskill’s Done It Again

Freestyle and freeride mountain bike sensation Danny Macaskill’s latest video showcases the Isle of Skye and it’s sick: the epic landscape shots and amazing tricks along precarious ridge lines make it one of the best mountain bike shorts ever.  However, one of the best parts of the film is towards the end where we see him ram his front tire into a paddock fence and front flip over it. This guy’s a legend.

One of my 1st dates with Marley. Beautiful fall riding weather in the Kootenays

Farewell to my Lucy Lawless

 

 

A week ago I sold my 1988 Ford Ranger pick-up truck to a friend because the maintenance required on her was getting beyond my limited mechanic skills. It was a hard decision though as Lucy and I had been through some amazing adventures together. I bought her 7 years ago and named her Lucy Lawless because, well, I illegally drove her back to my house without any insurance or license plates and I just got the sense that she was a really tough female truck.

Since then she’s taken me up many a logging road and on countless adventures from first biking dates with my now-fiancé Marley to gay pride parades. She’s shuttled bikes, canoes, climbing gear, spaceships and bodies (specifically mine when I slept on her).

I hope she enjoys her new life as a backroads wood hauler with her new owner, who’s a way better mechanic than I. May she always remain Lawless.

Loading up for the 5-day, 500km Raid the North Adventure Race in 2010

Loading up for the 5-day, 500km Raid the North Adventure Race in 2010

One of my 1st dates with Marley. Beautiful fall riding weather in the Kootenays

One of my 1st dates with Marley. Beautiful fall riding weather in the Kootenays

Full moon sleep-out in the back of Lucy before an alpine start to put up a new rock climbing route.

Full moon sleep-out in the back of Lucy before an alpine start to put up a new rock climbing route.

Hauling La Roquette to the bobsled races in Rossland.

Hauling La Roquette to the bobsled races in Rossland.

Prepping for the Gay Pride Parade in Nelson.

Prepping for the Gay Pride Parade in Nelson.

Sol Mountain Lodge’s Other Backcountry Season

The Backcountry Ski Canada crew are at the Sol Mountain Lodge in the beautiful Monashee mountains near Revelstoke, British Columbia, to take part in their season, which is in full swing right now.

Before you begin to wonder just how this is possible in the middle of September, let us clarify that it’s the midst of their mountain biking season. Sol Mountain is one of the only backcountry lodges in Western Canada that has purpose-built singletrack riding during the summer months and we’re going to be sessioning all of their trails over the next few days.

For the entire story about Sol Mountain Lodge, go to Backcountry Skiing Canada.

Backcountry Lodge + Mountain Biking = Luxury

For many of us backcountry skiers, the off season is spent whiling away the hours flipping through back issues of ski porn mags, attending the occasional CrossFit class and dreaming of the white stuff. But for others, the summer and autumn months are an opportunity to take part in another sport that has us climbing peaks and tearing back down them.

Mountain biking is what has brought the Backcountry Ski Canada crew to Sol Mountain Lodge on the southern border of Monashee Provincial Park near Revelstoke, British Columbia. (That and the opportunity to scope out the winter terrain.) It enjoys excellent tenure (30,000 acres), epic snowfall (up to five metres a season) and, importantly, road access in the summertime.

For the entire story about Sol Mountain Lodge, log on to the post at Backcountry Skiing Canada. 

Review of the Chrome Buran Messenger Bag

There was one point while reading the “manifesto” of Chrome Industries when I couldn’t help but scoff. “Chrome is not about fashion” the all caps prose read, “We make gear that protects people and their things from the elements without looking like you came from the mountains. Tools for living the city (sic).” Well, I live in the mountains and I have to say I think we’re a fashionable bunch. In fact, there are those who would argue Nelson, British Columbia, is the epicenter of functional fashion in Canada because of all the adventure guides, mountain bikers, professional skiers and other outdoor athletes who live here and who actually care about how they look when they walk down Baker Street. What we don’t have a lot of is bike couriers and hipsters, though, which is the main target market for Chrome I think, given the plethora of tatoos and skinny jeans in their marketing shots.

To read the entire review, log on to Backcountry Skiing Canada.

Review of the Five Ten Freerider Danny MacAskill Shoe

Since his sleeper hit debut on YouTube in 2009, Scottish freerider Danny MacAskill has become a household name. If by some rare chance you haven’t heard of him, then you obviously are not one of the 31 million people who have seen his Inspired Bicycles’ video where he rides a chainlink fence and pops inverted aerials off a tree. Since that video went crazy viral, MacAskill has been picked up by Red Bull, he’s designed his own bike frame, and Five Ten has had him create his own shoe, appropriately called the Freeride Pro Danny MacAskill. I was recently given this shoe to demo even though I have never, and will never, ride a fence. Nor will I ever throw down a tail whip or a back flip – at least not intentionally. Which is unfortunate because that’s exactly what these shoes were designed for, not for downhill or cross-country riding, which is what I prefer. Five Ten claims these shoes are good “from urban trials to freeriding…and ripping your favorite trail” and I agree with the first two points but definitely not the third.

To read this entire review, log on to Backcountry Skiing Canada.

Review of The North Face Downieville Colab Shorts and Wrencher Jersey

In the past few years The North Face has been tiptoeing into the mountain bike clothing market to cater to the off-season whims of their pro ski athletes, such as Sage Cattabriga-Alosa. Then, at last year’s Interbike Show in Las Vegas, the company jumped in with both feet by announcing a partnership with Pro-Tec and unveiling a new line of padded apparel. The centerpiece is the rugged Downieville Colab Short which incorporates a padded inner chamois featuring Pro-Tec’s proprietary flex panels. The whole concept behind this short is to withstand as much abuse as you can throw at it, which is exactly what I did on a recent rainy ride in Rossland, BC. The area had been experiencing record-breaking rainfall and the trails were slick, fast and water-logged. More than once my tires slipped out around a corner and I landed on my hips. And in one memorable instant I naively rode through a creek with water levels up past my knees and endo-ed onto the far bank. In every instance I was happy to have the added protection of the Downieville Short.

To read the entire review, log on to Backcountry Skiing Canada.