Thursday, April 28, 2011

Italian charge...Day 4 & 5 on the Ligurian coast

 You've never heard of Calizzano. It's a small town pretty much in the middle of nowhere and the riding is unreal. Seriously. The dirt is tacky, the terrain is a natural playground of half-pipes and wall rides and berms and the slope angle is just right where you can ride long sections off the brakes. Calizzano, you are beautiful, we'll be back one day to rail your sweet dirt.

 Sometimes a good day becomes a great day just because of lunch. We rolled into this remote «agritourismo» restaurant to a little slice of heaven on earth. A cute local girl greeted us upon arrival and served up a multi-course meal in a restored barn. Then came the espressos. Then came rose proseco in the sun and some random archery session. Here, Evan Schwartz feeds donkeys dandilions. Ah, the good life.

We're here with photographer Dan Barham, born in Manchester now living in North Vancouver. Barham is dedicated to his craft and his images translate - he's good at what he does. Here's a little behind the scenes action, Stephen Matthews roosting and Barham shooting. This is one of about seven takes of this berm being ridden. Don't tell anyone.

 Hmmm, cafe. There's something about the coffee in Italy that blows ours out of the water. 

This is Schwartz and Matthews riding another great trail Europe's biggest beach forest. Coming from the West Coast of British Columbia, the land of coniferous trees, it's a treat to travel through a deciduous forest at high-speeds on bikes.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tails from the trail: Day 2 & 3 in Italia

This is a place that i will return to. This town is called Triora and it's tucked way up a remote valley just a few clicks from the French border. Check out that view! It's pretty rare to be in Europe and see no evidence of mankind in any vista. We only just scratched the surface of the riding too. 

 Facebook. Twitter. Whatever. These ladies don't give two cents. Evan Schwartz taking a moment in the sun while daily life in rural Italy rolls along at it's own pace.

Triora is supposed to be one of the last places where witches were burnt in all of Europe. Crazy. I swear we could smell flesh burning when we rolled in.
Eating is like religion in Italy. This was lunch: five courses later and a bottle of the local red. Journalist Dave Smith and I ended up napping in the sun for a good hour afterwards. Then we went riding. When's the last time you napped in the sun after a bottle of wine and a big meal? Me too. It was nice.

If you could smell this photo it'd be a combination of sage and jasmine and sea salt and pine. There's something about the air around the Mediterranean that's intoxicating and dreamy.

Stephen Matthews, Evan Schwartz and photographer Dan Barham, deep thoughts. Or maybe not. Chilling on a jump waiting for the evening sun to do it's thing.

Schwartzy straight air into the blue.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 1, Exploring San Remo on Italy's Ligurian Coast.

The prospect of exploring a new region on the Italian coast was just too hard to refuse. Springtime in Italy; big mountain shuttles; the Mediterranean; great cuisine; super coffee and epic wine; it's on. I'm here with a tight and solid crew from B.C.: photographer Dan Barham, journalist Dave Smith and riders Stephen Matthews and Evan Schwartz. The goal of our trip is simple, to explore the region with the potential of launching a new downhill trip for Big Mountain Adventures in 2012. Tough job, I know. But someone's got to do it.
  We arrived into Nice, France yesterday to 15 celcius, grey bird weather and a little damp, not what we expected in this part of the world. We were met by Manuel, an Italian guide who assured us that this was a good thing as the trails needed some moisture. We hopped in his van and climbed along the coastline with views of mountains and Meditarranean and a perfect vista of Monaco where real estate costs $40,000 per square meter and where Bono and Elton John come to hang and epic roads are driven by Lamborginis and bought with new Russian rubbles. Just beyond Monaco lies San Remo, the first stop on our journey. 
  Today we logged seven big laps high above San Remo. The driving here is crazy with super narrow roads that wind up and down the mountain side and quick, assertive drivers. Our shutttle driver is the ultimate multi-tasker, his phone would blast Euro-techno as it's ring while he'd proceed to answer with a colourful «pronto», hands flailing in all directions and then talk a million miles a minute while honking around corners with the tunes pumping in the van and even a little TV going on the dash while each mirrow seemed mere centimeters from rock walls at any given time.
  The trails are fast and sandy with rocky sections and some super eroded sections too to keep you on your toes. The kind of ruts where you point your front wheel and let off the brakes and aim for the berm at the bottom, if there is one at all. We all stayed on our bikes today which is a good sign for the rest of the trip. The riding here is definitely fun.
  We had lunch today at a mountain restaurant who's owner was a former rally car driver and runs a team. These are all rally plaques behind Evan. We all had pesto pasta again, because it's so amazing here. And a few espressos to wash it all down of course. And then hit the trails again for the afternoon.
  I like this photo. It sums up our day nicely.
Canada represent. Matthew's and Schwartz' Devinci Wilsons ready for action, high in the clouds.
  For any of you who've driven this coastline you probaly remember the crazy autostrada highway that's tunnel then bridge, consecutively, for over an hour straight. I've driven it a bunch of times, t's been nice to see what lies beyond this highway and meet the locals. Our hosts have been amazing, driving us all day with nothing but big smiles and helping us whenever possible.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

BM selected "The 20 Best New Trips."

We're honored that our new Sea to Sky mountain bike trip has been chosen as one of "the 20 Best New Trips of 2011" by Canada's Explore Magazine. "Bike BC's Secret Trails" On the eight day Sea to Sky trip from Big Mountain Bike Adventures, riders will discover awesome singletrack trail along the B.C. coast that only the locals know about. Riding locations include Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver's North Shore. There is also an optional extension in the Chilcotins. July 23-30, 2011."
Thank you Explore Magazine. We were among some truly amazing company in the top 20 - from stand-up paddleboarding down the Nahanni River to remote hiking adventures in the Torngat Mountains and more impressive adventures. For more information on our amazing mountain bike trip in our backyard (we're based in Whistler btw...), CLICK HERE and come join us this summer!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

New New Zealand video

A few weeks ago was our amazing New Zealand mountain bike holiday, Silver Fern. What a mountain bike trip! Wondering when we'll have our 2012 dates ready? Soon. Within a few weeks. Here's a little peek of what transpired..sit back, put it on full screen, and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Canadian Loonie buys $1.04 USD

Attention Canucks: according to the Bank of Canada one Loonie buys $1.04 USD today. This is the strongest Loonie seen since November 2007.
Hmmmm...let me think for a second...Big Mountain's trips are in USD...that means that with my Loonie im actually getting a discount! Canucks: if there was ever a time to book a mountain bike trip with us, it's today!
Ahhh, the trusty Loonie soars again....

Ancient Stone Forest in latest Bike Magazine.

Peru. Peru. Peru. Is it just me or has there been a lot of play about mountain biking in Peru lately? I've been saying this all along...the place is heaven for mountain biking. The latest Bike Magazine just published a two-pager taken from photographer Chris Christie from our Unforgettable Andes trip. Want to be in the picture? We've got Peru trips coming up next month, in June and September. CLICK HERE for info on our all-mountain trip and CLICK HERE for info on our new DH trips. Viva Peru!
Our group chillin' in the Ancient Stone Forest before a MASSIVE descent.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Mountain biking and barbeque...

Just down the road from Big Mountain Adventure's headquarters in Whistler BC lies a little known mecca for mountain biking with a peculiar name, Squamish. When i say mecca, i mean it is one of the best places to ride in Canada, if not #1. Next time you're on your way to Whistler, don't just drive through but pull over and get your bike off the roof. Turns out they're about to develop a National Mountain Bike Training facility there. Read about it in Canada's Pedal Magazine. Congratulations Squamish!

The lush and inviting Squamish Valley. Riddled with singletrack...

Want to ride Squamish with local guides? Either join us on our Sea to Sky trip July 23-30 this year, or get in touch and we can set you up with a guide to show you around.

"Images burnt into my mind," Derek Frankowski

"One of the best parts of being a photographer is being invited to document fun and interesting things. The idea of traveling to document huge descents and culture, in a place that has thousands of years of history, was an exciting one. In 2005 I was fortunate to go to Peru as a photographer for a Bike Magazine feature....CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY.
Two flavours one can expect in Peru.
Big Mountain Adventures is running some amazing trips in Peru this year....
Inca DH, June 3-12. click here.
Unforgettable Andes all-mountain trips, May 6-15 & Sept 30 - Oct 9. click here.