Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Border crossing.

There are just a few place in the world where you can mountain bike up and over a pass on singletrack and into another country. A few days ago we did just this. The approach to this border into Italy from Switzerland is unique: shuttle where we unload on a dam (coinsidentely Europe's biggest curved dam), ride starts with a climb that's inside a long tunnel then a traverse above a teal-green lake some more climbing on switchbacks and then a 45 min. hike a bike to 2750 m. We brought our passports but there was no one to check them. Then it was a very long downhill to a bustling town, beer, fine wine and a great dinner.
Tate, Euan and guide Pete Gaston nearing the border of Italy.

Big mountain chillin'.

Mandatory walk!

A well-deserved pasta dinner. Supported by beautiful Amarone.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Zee mountain schuss.

We just wrapped up Day 2 of our Cloudraker mountain bike trip in the Valais region of Switzerland. Yesterday we met the group in Geneva and along the spectacular lake shore, up the Rhone Valley and into the Alps. After checking into our hotel in Lourtier we built our bikes and went for a sweet warm-up ride on the mountain in the backyard. When i opened the shutters of my room this morning i was shaking my head at the driving rain and cold temperatures. I was not stoked. But, the day turned out perfectly as the rain stopped just after breakfast and we ended up punching through the clouds into fresh snow and sunshine. Killer day. Tomorrow's another big one as we head up the valley to a big climb up and over a pass and into Italy for a nice pasta dinner and some fine wine. Stay tuned!
Classic Switzerland riding on grassy singletrack.

Shredding freshies in late July, only in the Alps.

Riding an ancient bisse or waterway to bring water to villages.

Quintessential Cabane de Mont Fort. Coffee time.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Scoping big lines for Anthill.

Yesterday I set out with La Vallee hotel owner Jean-Marc Pellissier in his backyard for a six-hour hike to a high-alpine cabin perched on a moraine. The weather was looking iffy and just as it is in the high mountains of Switzerland in the summertime we encountered rain, a snow squall, glorious sunshine and generally cool temps. What a day. The cabin was more like a modern dwelling that sleeps nearly 100 and cost three million Swiss Francs to build. Leave it to the Swiss. Why were we hiking you ask? We were looking for epic singletrack to be included in Anthill Films' next movie called Strength in Numbers which comes out in April 2012. Discovering what we did yesterday, I can tell you that the Swiss segment is going to be pretty amazing...
Just before the July 20 snow squall.

Big mountains.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trek unveils 2012. Raising the bar even further.

Trek Unveils 2012 Line of Full Suspension Bikes
World’s lightest DH bike, new all-mountain Slash, DRCV Forks highlight 2012 offerings
A beauty for sure.

  (Mayrhofen, Austria) – The world leader in mountain bike technology, Trek Bicycle, has unveiled its 2012 collection of trail-ripping full suspension bikes to the global media at its Ride Camp in Mayrhofen, Austria. Included in this year’s line are two completely new models; the DH-world changing OCLV Mountain Carbon Session 9.9 and a bike that’s fitting of an entirely new category called “Technical Trail”, the new Trek Slash. New technologies abound as Trek’s Fuel EX, Remedy, and Rumblefish bikes will now be equipped with DRCV Fox Forks, a new fork breakthrough spawned from Trek’s Southern California-based suspension lab’s development work with Fox Racing Shox.

Session 9.9
A pioneering force in the development of carbon fiber technology for 20 years, 2012 represents a giant leap in Trek’s OCLV genealogy with the introduction of the Session 9.9; our first carbon downhill bike. With Trek’s off-road specific OCLV Mountain carbon, the 9.9 breaks new ground in lightweight DH race bikes, while carrying on Session’s reputation as the most agile and precise race frame available. The choice of World Cup superstar Aaron Gwin, the redesigned frame features new geometry and an increase in suspension travel to 210mm. Trek’s move to carbon on the Session 9.9 allows for internal cable routing, or if run externally, virtually indestructible patent-pending MicroTruss that eliminates riveted cable housing guides. The Session 9.9 also represents the first time that downhill riding has birthed a material usage innovation at Trek with the application of InTension, a material that is lighter than carbon composite and leverages Trek’s Honeycomb patent. “The objective was to make the Session dramatically lighter without compromising the previous bike’s incredible performance,” said Trek Senior Composite Manufacturing Engineer James Colegrove. ”The 2 years of R&D we invested allowed our Advanced Concepts Group to create significant new technologies, like the use of a new material called InTension that acts like the center section of an i-beam;  transferring shear loads between the two faces of carbon. The R&D time also produced a patent-pending cable tie system called MicroTruss that eliminates the need for riveted cable guides. Our development team is very pleased that the Session 9.9 will introduce such significant new carbon technology to the world.”

For 2012 Trek is launching the Slash, an all-new 160mm travel bike designed for the growing endurance downhill market. Developed in partnership with Trek riders Rene Wildhaber and Ross Schnell, the Slash has the perfect suspension, geometry, and parts spec to dominate the endurance downhill scene. Taking advantage of Trek’s Full Floater and EVO link suspension designs, the Slash is paired with a DRCV shock and Active Breaking Pivot rear end to allow for maximum pedaling efficiency no matter the conditions. “Slash is defined by a lot more than just its travel — it’s the whole package of commanding steering, superior suspension, and a parts spec that rivals some DH bikes in durability and performance,” said Trek Mountain Bike Product Manager John Riley. “If you’re riding events like Megavalanche or Downieville, this is your bike.”

Trek’s singletrack and technical trail platforms get a huge suspension technology boost with the addition of Fox DRCV forks (Dual Rate Control Valve). The Dual Rate Control Valve rear shock that has been so well received on the Remedy, Fuel EX, and Rumblefish platforms is now being paired with a fork that incorporates the same technology and matches its performance. When the fork is compressed far enough into the stroke of the primary air chamber, a plunger opens a second air chamber, increasing the volume of the shock for larger impacts. The result is small bump compliance, with big-hit performance. This technology, developed by Trek’s Southern California-based suspension laboratory and Fox Racing Shox, sets a new standard for suspension performance unseen anywhere else in the bike industry. “After we made so much progress in increasing rider control with the DRCV shock, it’s great to be able to bring that versatility and improved handling to the front suspension,” said Trek Suspension Lab Director Jose Gonzales. “It further isolates the rider from the bumps of the trail and keeps the wheel on the ground longer, meaning better traction and greater stability.” With the new fork design, Trek has also slackened the headtube angles on the EX and Remedy by one degree, increasing the bikes’ stability at higher speeds, and improving handling in steeper sections of trail. To top off the new look of the EX and Remedy lines, Trek moved cable and brake hose routing internally, which not only creates a cleaner bike, but also makes for a quieter ride.

Expanded 29er Collection
From the godfather of 29” wheels, Gary Fisher, comes an expansion to the world’s broadest, and best-selling, collection of 29ers. 2012 welcomes aluminum versions of the insanely popular, 100mm-travel, Superfly line that will be offered alongside their established carbon brethren. The singletrack trail slayer Rumblefish gets a new mainframe with a higher bottom bracket and a full 120mm of rear wheel travel. Rumblefish will also be getting a huge fork upgrade with the addition of the new DRCV fork, making it one of the most capable 29ers when the trail gets rough.

Suspension Calculator
For 2012, we’ve addressed the rider and their experience as much as the product by making a perfectly tuned ride possible anywhere Wi-Fi is available with the launch of an online calculator that provides the perfect suspension settings throughout the full suspension line given a rider’s bike, model year, and weight. Optimized for mobile, tablet, and desktop devices and accessible now at <> , the suspension calculator features an intuitive interface that will provide the perfect suspension settings throughout Trek’s full suspension mountain bike collection. The calculator will be updated with new models throughout the year as 2012 bikes arrive at Trek retailers.

About Trek Bicycle:
Trek Bicycle is a global leader in the design and manufacture of bicycles and related products. Trek believes the bicycle can be a simple solution to many of the world’s most complex problems, and is committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent people from using bicycles more often for transportation, recreation, and inspiration. For more information about Trek, visit <> .

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Nice Place To Be.

This is going to sound somewhat contradictory to what we preach here at Big Mountain Adventures, the leader in mountain bike travel...but oh well, here it goes. I'm spending the week on an island off the coast of BC, not far from home, that features long stretches of white sandy beaches littered with driftwood, dead quiet roads, eagles perched in trees, beauty mixed forest on a carpet of ferns and electro-green moss...and a tightly knit network of fast and flowy carvable singletrack. Man the riding is good. My point, you see, is that I'm a mere few hours from my own garage. No planes, no trains to get here. It's nice to find such a sweet little gem just around the corner. Adventure, is all perspective. It can be in the trails in the park at the end of your big city street where you ride with your five year-old daughter, or the loop that you do every week-end with your buds or the pump track that you hit every summer evening that you can at your neighbours. Summer is here and it's prime time to ride mountain bikes. So get out and find some adventure on your bike, be it across the street or across the world. Enjoy.

Nice view from here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What's in a name?

Trail builders are often quirky characters who'll hunker down deep in a forest for weeks and months at a time as they craft their masterpiece to share with riders. The last stroke of their brush is usually the trail name. Some names suit the location and feel of the landscape and stick like velcro while others seem to slide off one's memory. Some names make us laugh and some are just wacked. Names like Gravitron, Rolling Orgy, Your Mama, Medieval Flow, the Brazilian, Sex Boy, Joyride and Oasis are just a few trail names that we ride and love. What about where you ride? Any particularly interesting trail names?
Come this way...

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Seb Kemp.

Working with us this summer is none other than legendary rider, coach, trail builder and journalist Seb Kemp. You might have read his exploits in Bike Magazine or NSMB.COM or DIRT or NZ's Spoke, or maybe you've never heard of him? Either way, we're pumped to have Seb at the helm of a private British Columbia all-mountain trip that hits Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast, Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and the Chilcotins, and on a private Swiss DH trip with guide Stephen Matthews. There's no one better to show you around and show you a great time.

When asked about his mountain bike background, Mr. Kemp speaks:

"I am a nomad following the warmer months of the globe, and a gypsy with no caravan. Bikes, in all their forms, have consumed my life since I was very young. I am just as happy doing all day xc epics in the backcountry as I am pounding laps in a bike park or floating through a freshly slapped line of jumps. I choose not to blinker myself to thinking that mountain biking is anything in particular. Mountain biking is many things to many people. In the end it's all just playing with toys and it is all fun.
I am fortunate enough to be allowed a voice through numerous magazines and websites ( and, as well as my own page,  Some wise ass once said those that can't do, teach. Well, what I have found is that those that can, can't necessarily teach, and everyone, whether they can or can't, could do with some coaching. I have worked as a coach in the Whistler Bike Park for three summers as well as guiding in the Sea to Sky Corridor of BC and in New Zealand for several years. Coaching and guiding feels like the most honest way of helping people enjoy their mountain bike experience to the fullest. I am also a hired gun and build trails all over the world. Putting tools into the earth and creating shapes for riding upon is the ultimate form of expression and payback for any mountain biker. It also gives you mean callouses and keeps the hairs on your chest taut and curly. Important things to have if you want to lure a lady figure back to your cave."
Deeper thoughts, enjoying a cool bevie with friends post ride.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

We're back.

It's been seriously played out in recent years but after a multi-year hiatus Big Mountain Adventures has moved it's headquarters back to Whistler BC. Yea, you know the one, home to the world famous Whistler Bike Park and Kokanee Crankworx and the epicenter of all things mountain bike on the planet. Or, more accurately, one of the epicenters or at least a serious leader in all things mountain bike. Despite the hype and the fact that we've all probably heard a little too much about Whistler, the place does buzz mtb something serious. Driving up the super scenic Sea to Sky highway from Vancouver you'll see scores of trucks with gleaming rigs hanging off the tailgates. Then when you roll into town the whole valley seems to be into mountain biking, from packs of Brits pinning it for A-Line on DH bikes to super fit XC girls hitting lakes post-ride to full families on bikes and baby boomer grandads training for next week's Loonie Race. The place is firing on bikes. We're stoked to be back and can't wait to hit the awesome trails, right from the office door.
Supersize berm on the Whistler Bike Park.