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VIDEO

Riding in the Yukon

Words Pete Roggeman
Photos Dave Smith
Video Ollie Jones and Hailey Elise
Date Oct 1, 2021
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Several years ago now, a group of us traveled to Yukon Territory to do some riding, and learn a bit more about a program we had heard about called Singletrack to Success, which is a Carcross/Tagish First Nation (CTFN) project initiated in 2006 with the mandate to develop a world-class network of single-track trails on Montana Mountain, a sacred site of Carcross/Tagish First Nation, while providing local youth with summer job.

We came back with incredible memories, new friends, and an appreciation for the ways in which mountain biking can create opportunity and open doors in ways we hadn't imagined. Thankfully others did imagine a new way to give youth opportunities to learn and expand their horizons - others like Derek Crowe and Jane Koepke, who founded Sinegletrack to Success along with leaders from the Carcross/Tagish First Nation.

Unfortunately the video project got shuffled around and delayed, and at one point we thought we'd lost some of the footage. Then time passed and - hand up for the blame here - we just didn't get it over the line. Fortunately Ollie was able to find his last draft of one of the videos we'd planned, and this seemed like an appropriate time to share it. We have other stories and a whole host of incredible photos from that trip, and there will be a good time to share them in future. For now, please enjoy a brief taste of the Whitehorse and Carcross experience. It truly is a world class destination for mountain biking (among other things) and we can't wait to get back.

Should you be interested in visiting Whitehorse, whether to ride in the summer or see the Northern Lights in the winter, you must go stay with Boréale Explorers. This was our second time staying with them, and everything from the comfortable rooms to the incredible food was first class. They will do everything from picking you up at the airport to recommending where to ride, organizing shuttles and guides, and making sure your trip is completely dialed. Of all the trips we've been on, few have come close to matching the experience at Boréale, none have surpassed it.

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The riding within an hour of Whitehorse features almost every type of terrain you could imagine.

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One of the youth from Singletrack to Success airing it out after a hard day of building trail. Notice the footwear.

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Boréale Explorers have all the important things covered. Comfort abounds without being cushy.

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Oh, you wanted to ride some alpine trail with views? That's all close by.

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Some of the youth from Singletrack to Success. We'll dig deeper into the program in a future article. It's a blueprint for engaging youth and involving First Nations in development and tourism while creating opportunities - and summer jobs - as well as exposure to mountain biking for local youths.

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Comments

DaveSmith
+2 Pete Roggeman Martin
Dave Smith  - Oct. 1, 2021, 3:04 p.m.

Nice to see this one out in the wild. There's good people up there in the north!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Martin
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 2, 2021, 9:09 a.m.

Better late than never. Will be putting out an article with a bunch more of your awesome photos from that trip, as well as some from Hailey.

Reply

jonathan_fo
+3 Pete Roggeman Martin Cam McRae
Jonathan Fournier  - Oct. 1, 2021, 5:03 p.m.

I've been in Yukon a couple times and I must say, the experience is quite different then any other destinations I've been too. The mood is so laid back, relax and kinda... "outlaw". You can just go anywhere, camp, grill on a nice fire camp. And oh, yeah, the riding is great too ;)

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Martin
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 2, 2021, 9:10 a.m.

There's something special about the Yukon. The people are a huge part of it, but being in wide open expanses like that is very special.

Reply

martin
+1 Pete Roggeman
Martin  - Oct. 2, 2021, 12:11 p.m.

I drove from Quebec to Whitehorse 6 return trips (by myself most of the times) to go working and riding in the summer. There is definitely something special there and it still feels like my second home even if my last visit was in 2015. 

It's easy to be in awe in the wilderness there, but the Yukon's hidden gem is the people! Plus as Jonathan said, the relaxed mood, positive vibes and willingness to do things is something I haven't found yet anywhere else. And the Boreale Explorers crew (and lodge) are the best ever!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Martin
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 2, 2021, 5:04 p.m.

That's amazing. What was the route you drove? 

The people make the place for sure. I think we have four or more articles worth of anecdotes about people we met. I've never been for more than five days but would really love to spend a few months at a time up there to really feel the place. I've been lucky to go to some special places but the Yukon is up top with the best of them.

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martin
0
Martin  - Oct. 2, 2021, 7:12 p.m.

All of the routes haha! I have tried most main highways and many secondary roads from QC to BC, but from the Alberta/BC area, I drove up the Alaska highway most times. I've driven up the Cassiar highway twice teo, which is is much nicer/more wild and probably closer if coming from the West. 

All was done on a '92 Corolla and a '99 Civic without any hiccup (including the Dempster twice!) so you don't need a Unimog to drive up North!

Reply

gdharries
+3 Pete Roggeman Martin Cam McRae
Geof Harries  - Oct. 2, 2021, 4:42 p.m.

There’s a lot going on in the Yukon, mountain biking-wise. Our community of cyclists and active people in general is very large and diverse.

This summer we had a ton of events, one of which was an enduro in Dawson City on their amazing Midnight Dome trails.

We ran it in August due to the pandemic, but next year we will probably do it in July along with an epic gravel event.

If you’ve not yet ridden in the Yukon or want a reason to come back, plan a trip in 2022!

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