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Little Foothills Heaven

Going Big In Calgary

Words by Stephen Matthews. Photos by Peter Matthews.
October 17th, 2011

It’s always an adjustment coming back to Calgary for the fall and winter months. It’s where I’ve grown up so my ties to the surroundings and people stretch back my entire life. On the other hand I’ve made my adult life all about the exploration of new environments and adventure, so coming home always has an underlying mundane feel to it. Every year I come home, I see new faces in the riding scene, but I quickly find myself in and amongst my lifelong friends who are still out there digging, riding, and sharing laughs.

stephen matthews, airprentice, 2012 demo 8, nsmb, team nsmb
  The approach is a little simpler when you’re not dealing with mountains and old growth forests. Photo ~ Peter Matthews

Everyone remembers the guys who you used to cruise around with when it all began on a bicycle. Night sessions on the embankment outside 7/11, digging trails where, at the time location secrecy was the most important thing in your life. Everyone’s grown up in one way or another, but I’m fortunate to have a group of Albertan riding buddies who have way too much passion for the sport to stop now.

stephen matthews, airprentice, 2012 demo 8, nsmb, team nsmb
  Step up, and over into another coulee. Photo ~ Peter Matthews

stephen matthews, airprentice, 2012 demo 8, nsmb, team nsmb
  Life’s not bad in Alberta. There’s plenty of great riding that’s untapped by most! Photo ~ Peter Matthews

I came home after an incredible season in the Sea to Sky, to some amazing trail work in and amongst the foothills of Calgary. The boys have built this super fun step down to step up across the coulees of Calgary. The inventiveness of creating a freeride mountain bike line in a relatively mellow area has got to be acknowledged.

stephen matthews, airprentice, 2012 demo 8, nsmb, team nsmb
  Fall in Alberta is incredible. The deciduous leaves beneath a big blue sky are a classic look to Calgary in autumn. Photo ~ Peter Matthews

Life in Calgary can feel a little mundane to me, but then I just remind myself of what we have here. We have an exciting riding scene that’s really starting to blow up. In a sprawling city there are little one hit senders that satisfy the need for excitement, and our trail network is continually growing. I’m a little east of where Corb Lund was talking, but I have found myself “In my little foothills heaven on that northern Rocky range.”

stephen matthews, airprentice, 2012 demo 8, nsmb, team nsmb
Here we are right in the middle of a city of a million people, using our imagination to create something new. Photo ~ Peter Matthews


Loving the fall colours. Have  you done any freeriding in the foothills? Comments here…