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Ode To The Alpine

Above the Tree Line

Words by Paul Stevens.
October 17th, 2010

The majority of the higher alpine trails of BC were covered in snow for most of the summer, due to a huge snow base last winter. Because of this, late summer into fall has become prime time for riding the alpine. It is a shame it has become ride-able so late, because there is something about that fresh, dark tacky dirt up above the tree line that turns any mountain biker into the proverbial kid in a candy store! The cold, moist air at higher altitudes, which prevents the tree seeds successfully germinating, means you are pulling on the jacket on what feels like a hot summers day in the valley. The cold mist rolling over the tops of the mountains keeps the alpine trails in perfect shape. With few or no trees to soak up the moisture, the trail sees all the weather, with just the lupines and heather for company, which just add to the alpine singletrack experience.

paul stevens, alpine blog, 2010, specialized  Enjoying the alpine meadows in the Chilcotins

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to ride in the Chilcotins, a zone I have been meaning to get to ever since I started hearing about it. Since that day, I have heard endless accounts of epic alpine climbs and descents, through the kind of dirt that feels like it was designed to ride bikes on! It didn’t disappoint. A two day trip was a great taster of what the Chilcotins had to offer, and left me gagging for more! One of the most amazing parts is that when you emerge from the trees, the terrain is so open, you can see other trails across the valley, and the huge potential for more, winding off into the distance, and you realize what a small part of the surface of the riding area you are scratching, or even looking at, and you can see a long way!

paul stevens, alpine blog, 2010, specialized   Way above the tree line you can scope a lot of potential!

paul stevens, alpine blog, 2010, specialized   Getting a little over excited in a sandy turn.

paul stevens, alpine blog, 2010, specialized   Bringing some Dual Slalom action to the alpine!

In late August I travelled to Golden, to race my first UCI sanctioned race of the year, at Kicking Horse resort. Their bike park really appealed to me because the gondola goes way up into the alpine, and you descend for about a thousand feet before you even hit the tree line! Awesome. It was a great feeling to be back racing the big bike, and I felt like I really started to get to grips with the Demo. The geometry took a while to get used to, with the short back end offering so much traction right beneath you in the corners, but I feel like my result proves how well I am getting on with the bike. 1st Citizen Male and 2nd fastest time of the day! On the way home from Golden, we took a stop to ride in Revelstoke on Monday. The place is a hidden gem. The riding is unreal, and we got to taste even more alpine singletrack while we were there. Back in Whistler, after riding so much alpine singletrack elsewhere, it feels like I need to get out and ride the local alpine trails, as there isn’t much time to fit them all in before they start getting snowed on again! See you up there.

paul stevens, alpine blog, 2010, specialized    Playing around in the alpine of Revelstoke

paul stevens, alpine blog, 2010, specialized   It feels great to be racing the big bike again. Phat Wednesday, Whistler.


Did you get an alpine fix this year?  Ride the southern Chilcotins?  Confess here…