Exploring the trail epicenters of Revelstoke, Castlegar, Nelson, Golden, Invermere, and Fernie, we set out to discover the true meaning of being on "Kootenay Time." The Kootenay region encompasses the Rocky, Selkirk, Monashee, and Purcell Mountain Ranges, and offers something for riders of all abilities. From massive descents, picturesque single track, to mind-blowing tech and spicy jump trails. The region is enthralled with an abundance of character and populated by laid back locals whose friendliness and passion for the outdoors make this place feel like home.
Kootenay Time; Easy going, stress-free, slow pace of life, where a given time is merely a ballpark figure.
You cant ride Revelstoke without being STOKED. This region offers an absolute buffet of all you can ride terrain, with locals who are more than willing to show you around. It wouldn’t be far from the truth to claim that Revelstoke is British Columbia’s best-kept secret. The trails here are managed by the Revelstoke Cycling Association, whose dedication to trail building and maintenance would make you think you had teleported to the Whistler Bike Park. We met up with Canada Cup racer and people's champion Garret Macintosh to explore the bike park and beyond. After some deliberation, we went with local favorites Boulder Mountain and, Revelstoke Mountain Resort as well as some trails that you will just have to discover for yourself. The highlight of Revelstoke was the resorts world famous Fifty-Six Twenty trail that is rumored to be the longest flow trail ever built. This 15-kilometer-long, machine built blue trail is a mountainside flow highway with a seemingly endless supply of jumps and berms. The trailhead is located at the top of the Stoke Chair and is accessed via a 7-kilometer climb up the Stoke Trail. In true Kootenay fashion, we took our time and admired the surreal views of the valley below. After clocking out from a day in the saddle The Village Idiot is the local watering hole to have a pint and review that GoPro footage.
Castlegar is one of the less known hidden gems in the Kootenays. We met up with local Flannel Crew rider and builder Shawn O'Keefe for the complete local's experience. The trails in this region are managed by The Castlegar Parks and Trails Society with 12 downhill/enduro specific trails for riders of all abilities. With Shawn as our guide, we were determined to hit the region's best trails and went with Merry Creek and Rialto trail networks. Although one day is never enough to fully appreciate a region's trail systems, we were blown away by what we found. Well-built wooden stunts, loam, and tech were keeping us humble all day. Staying true to our roots we hit the Lions Head Pub, a massive mountain bike supporter to round out our time in Castlegar.
Nestled deep in the Selkirk Mountain Range, Nelson has been a monumental Free-ride location since the sport's inception. The trails in Nelson are managed by the Nelson Cycling Club and known for their extensive craftsmanship and unique wood stunts. Our local legends Shawn O'Keefe & Dan Strzelec took the helm here to play tour guide, and local photographer Ashley Voykin captured all of the action. It's refreshing to see raw, natural, and well-built trails over the manicured mountainside flow highways we have grown to expect. The crew rode Mountain Station and Morning Mountain trail networks. Things move a little slower here in Nelson, and it was a welcome relief after some busy days on the road. It's not just the trails that are brewing either with multiple breweries available to wet your whistle, including our favorite the Nelson Brewing Company.
Golden’s mountain biking culture is extremely diverse and unique. The town itself has an abundance of character and world-class trails that exist on both the East and West sides of the valley. We met up with Psychosis racer and long time friend Tyler Paksi, to discover the best of Golden. We decided to ride Mount 7, the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, and the notorious Terminator Ridge (T4). What better way to wake up then 20 minutes of adrenaline-soaked, arm pump torture down Dead Dog. Next, we switched on the Strava and headed to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort to rack up some seriously impressive vertical at 4,314ft per lap. The trails in this region are maintained by the Golden Cycling Club who do a fantastic job with trail signage and construction. Last on the agenda was the notorious T4 which traverses the Terminator Ridge and boasts a staggering 8km of downhill action to the town of Nicholson. At the end of the day whats a road trip without a cheeky stop at the local brewery. The Whitetooth Brewing Company is the place to be if you want to give those hands a much-needed break over a cold IPA.
Invermere boasts some of the most diverse and easily accessible terrains in the East Kootenays. The trail evolution here has exploded thanks to The Columbia Valley Cycling Society for transforming the local scene into a world-class mountain bike destination. With so many ride options available we went with the Columbia Valley classics of Mount Swansea, Steamboat Mountain and Panorama Mountain Resort. Invermere is a one-stop shop when it comes to trail variety. Steep descents, spicy jumps, and world-class single track are the pillars of which this newly formed mecca was formed on. With Calgary only 3 hours away you can expect this mountain bike hub to be busier all summer long than its Kootenay counterparts. If your thirsty after a day in the saddle then ULLR Bar is the best local spot to throw a few pints back. Check out the full trail roster for Invermere and the surrounding Columbia Valley here, and add this Kootenay gem to your next mountain bike trip.
Much more than just another resort town Fernie really does have it all. Almost every mountainside in town is littered with world-class trails and the local dirt jump park has produced some of the biggest names in Canadian Slopestyle. The trails are built and maintained by The Fernie Mountain Bike Club who take better care of there trails than most resorts. We were fortunate enough to meet up with YouTube sensation The Loam Ranger while he was filming at the Fernie Alpine Resort. We dropped Kodiak Karnage in the rain but you will have to head over to his channel to watch that mayhem unfold at The Loam Ranger. After the bike park, we decided to end our trip with the Fernie classics of Morrissey Ridge and Ridgemont trail networks. Saving the best for last we ended the day at the Fernie Brewing Company. If your feeling extra adventurous try the Trail to Ale Challenge.
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