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AIRprentice 2012 Rider Blogs

July 7, 2012, 5:32 p.m.
Posts: 4295
Joined: June 24, 2010

The first day of AIRprentice 2012 is in the books. Yesterday's tacky trails and bearable temperatures were replaced with dust and heat, but that didn't discourage the nine riders and six Money Shot shooters to get their goods. Many of the riders were able to convince the Money Shot shooters to get up for a 5 am session before breakfast, hoping to get the bangers they'll need to go along with their blog posts. We also had a chance to christen the new extension of ProStar, Walk The Line – and the boys went off. The riders will drop their best words and photos in this thread by morning, so stay tuned to hear all about day one of AIRprentice 2012… and feel free to leave a comment!

Paul Stevens snapped a few shots and did a quick writeup of the day, with additional shots from our Money Shot photographers, HERE.


July 7, 2012, 7:34 p.m.
Posts: 9255
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

Looks awesome so far… Can't wait to see what the riders and shooters will bring to the table.

July 7, 2012, 10:05 p.m.
Posts: 603
Joined: Oct. 29, 2007

The typical Saturday morning began as not so typical. The loud shrieking noise of my phone blasting terrible noises into my silent sleep at 4:45AM unpleasantly awoke me for a sun rise shred mission. The mapped out mission for the morning began late Friday night with some new and old friends at the riders meeting. I was very surprised to see many other groups in the bike room in the morning with the same prerogative. The gruesome bug infested, yet beautiful hike up silverstar with Mark Matthews, Connor Macdougall, Mike Kirk and Brock Anderson began.

Smashing a sweet flat rolled corner on pipe dream as one of the first shots of the morning. By far the earliest Ive ever shotten!

Battling bugs, spotty sun patches on trail and the guy in the back of your head saying [HTML_REMOVED]#8220; Hey! You know we could be sleeping right now, right?![HTML_REMOVED]#8221; we made it work. Smashing corners, scrubbing jumps, Blasting big airs on jumps , yelling at wildlife made for probably my most exciting morning ever.

Staying low and sideways on a highspeed step up on pipe dream. I swear the sun was rising out of this landing, a little blind! Marks shadow kind of made it a little easier!

Group breakfast and meeting commenced about 4 hours after leaving to the trails. Riding for that long and that early on an empty stomach definitely made for a hungry crew! Many bagels were consumed. We then headed out for some sweet warm up laps with current team members and got into the swing of things!

Shortly after our warm up laps we shredded down to pro-star and had a super sick session. Forsure the best sickest jump line ive ridden in a bike park! Some guys had some slams and some stomped some really rad stuff!

Doing a little Nac attack action on the "Mother" step up on pro-star. This Jump has a super long landing that turns into a tight left hander, even if you screw up your still in for a sick corner. Super fun forsure.

An 8 foot drop led into this sweet right hand step up hip. Throwing a little opposite schleyble for the legend Richie himself. You could get super drifty on the run out of this landing. In between the jumps was almost as fun as the jumps themselves!

After having a blast on pro-star we went down to a new trail, [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;walk the line[HTML_REMOVED]#8221;. Now this is a rad jump trail! Ive said it before and by all means mean it when I say it[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;s the best jump trail I have ever ridden in any bike park! Silver star is sick, I very much enjoy trails where you have to clean everything to get through the trail. This got me stoked, jumping through tree branches, roosting corners, scrubbing jumps, and blasting whips made for a sick session!

This was the first jump on walk the line, you could pop it super high or pocket it into the trail-side wall after the landing. Using my front wheel to take out some tree branches. I like to fake dirtbike sounds when I ride sometimes… Old habits.

Sweet high speed loose corner about halfway down walk the line. The less you brake the more fun you have on this one! Definitely trusting the tires.

We wrapped up our session on walk the line and headed in for a sweet lunch at the saloon. After lunch we quickly got back out for more shooting, and by quickly I mean it. [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;Comet[HTML_REMOVED]#8221;, a simple fire road down a ski run made for some of the most exciting blasting ever!

Tomorrow I go for 95.. One of my favourite things in bike parks, nothing like hopping 50 feet off rollers while pinning down a road. Thanks Strava!

The afternoon was consumed with rad times with the crew, filming and shooting photos on some of our favourite spots on the mountain. Not only was I looking to get stellar shots for myself, but awesome shots for our shooters as they are competing themselves. The afternoon flew by, and we got some pretty sweet stuff! This weekend so far has been phenomenal and I cant wait for tomorrow, where the Dag[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;s DH race awaits. So far this weekend has been stellar! I cant thank the guys behind the NSMB crew enough, Such an awesome chill vibe with friends and an insane amount of shredding!

Check back in tomorrow,
Ace Hayden.


July 7, 2012, 10:50 p.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: July 5, 2012

With the recent rain and muddy conditions we’ve been experiencing in Whistler, this weekend was the perfect time to escape to the Okanagan sunshine. It’s my third visit at Silver Star and I’m impressed each time I come here. The trail crew deserves major props for taking an awesome approach at developing this park — it’s consistently large berms, flowy lines, and wooden features offer a great riding experience.

We are pretty lucky in BC to be able to go out and shred groomed trails down huge mountains in all corners of the province, and Silver Star is the perfect venue for NSMB to host their AIRprentice event. Not only because of the quality riding, but the relaxed vibe and care free mood that seems to surround everyone here.

Mason Mashon (NSMB team rider) and I arrived at Silver Star Friday afternoon and headed straight to the hill. After our first run we couldn’t put our bikes down, the tacky conditions were just too good to pass up. Mason kills it on both sides of the lens and here he captures me taking a corner on Shazam, one of Silver Star’s classic trails packed with super fun turns:

Shot by Mason Mashon- not bad for an iPhone photo!

Friday night’s meet and greet was the perfect time for us AIRprenti to get a crew of 5 together and begin coordinating all the spots we wanted to shoot. It’s awesome to see there’s a huge pool of talented and motivated people in AIRprentice this year. The riders in my group consisted of Ace Hayden, Connor MacDougall, and myself. To top it off, we had Mike Kirk on the photos and Brock Anderson covering the video side of things. Our team’s 5:00 am start and hard work helped us get the majority of the shots we wanted by Saturday evening.

_Discussing Angles _

Training the Step Up on “Pro Star”

Berms for Days

The biggest surprise and highlight of the weekend so far was hitting this new trail called “Walk the Line”. The boosty hip jumps and scrub friendly step-downs make it one of the most playful trails on the mountain. Thanks trail crew, you nailed it with this one!

“Walk the Line” is an addiction. Our second session of the day went well into the evening.

On Tomorrow’s Menu- Sunny skies, good riding, and rad times! Thanks NSMB.

Mark Matthews

I ride bikes for, chromag, dissent labs, and I like to have fun!

July 8, 2012, 12:25 a.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: July 7, 2012

I was pretty psyched to hear the news that I had gotten invited to compete in the NSMB AIRprentice competition. After watching good friends of mine win it the previous two years, I was ecstatic to follow in their foot steps. The last two weeks of waiting around in Calgary were agonizing, knowing that soon enough I would be in Silver Star riding with great people on a sweet mountain. The count down had begun. It wasn’t till Thursday night that it really set in; I was leaving the following morning. A late morning bag pack followed by a seemingly endless 7-hour drive followed. Finally, I arrived at Silver Star around 4 pm on Friday. I was too eager to sit around and wait for the meet and greet, I set forth to pick up an extended play lift ticket and ride the park for my very first time with my room mate Ben Byers and photographer Lindsay Donovan.

Wow. That’s pretty much all I can say about the trails. The conditions and trails were absolutely amazing. The first trail I rode consisted of smooth, flow, tacky, perfect (you probably get the point) berms all the way down to the chairlift, practically didn’t need to use my brakes once. The following three and a half hours literally flew by, busting out as many laps as we could on as many different trails as we could before dinner. Next thing I knew we were enjoying drinks with the crew and talking plans with the crew at NSMB for the weekend. The goal for the weekend was simple: 1 filmmaker, 1 photographer, and 3 riders would team up to create media content throughout the weekend, with a few added group sessions as well as a downhill race to keep things interesting. I ended up being paired up with Ben Byers, a shredder from Victoria, as well as long time friends Mike Brothers, Lindsay Donovan, and Andrij Chubaty.

We got together and quickly decided we should get up early to catch some golden light in the early hours for photos/videos. With plans set, we headed to bed. Before I knew it I was rudely awoken by the sounds of my alarm. I honestly don’t think I have ever been up that early; 4: 45 wake up, on the trail by 5: 15am. I was tired, but stoked to go shoot. We set off and started filming the first few things that caught our eyes. A section of berms on the blue trail Shazam. After getting some good shots there, we pushed on and reached the infamous Pipe Dream trail, flowy berms and tables all the way down. At this point the sun was out and the mosquitoes were coming out in a big way. We ended up opening up a big table near the bottom and Lindsay ended up snapping this whip shot on it.

Meanwhile we were struggling to deal with the bug bites, I was about to lose my mind. I can’t imagine how Lindsay and Andrij must have felt; at least we were riding half the time!

We ended our morning shoot with a fast single-track section, as the light was good. Quickly after however the sun was getting too high and we were all far too itchy to continue on filming for the morning, we returned to our hotels and grabbed some breakfast with the rest of the crew.

Next on the agenda was group session on Pro Star, a flowy jump trail as well. Every one was absolutely killing it and good times were had all around. I particularly enjoyed the big left hand hip in the middle of Pro Star. That jump seriously made me feel like I was riding a motorbike.

After Pro Star, we all got ready to be the first riders on Silver Star's brand new trail Walk The Line. Basically, that trail is the best trail ever, and getting fresh tracks made it all the better. After cramming in as many laps as I could we went and grabbed lunch. Having been awake for almost 7 hours at that point, I was pretty spent. Nonetheless we set off to get as many runs in for filming before the end of the day. Sneaking in two practice laps on Dags DH before the lift closed. Last run ended with a pedal to tree stump collision for me. This resulted in my bike and I front flipping down the gnarly slopes of Dags. It wasn’t as much fun as it sounds, trust me. Luckily, I ended up injury free.

Now It's time to rest up and get ready for another great day of shredding for tomorrow. Huge thanks to NSMB for making this whole weekend possible.


Stephane Pelletier

July 8, 2012, 12:37 a.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: July 7, 2012

Today was my first full day at the Silver Star Bike Park. When I say full day, I mean as much stuff as you can do at a bike park full day. Starting early with a 4:45 am wake up call, I couldn't have been more exited for the day ahead of me. Hiking up the mountain for some sunrise shooting in the early morning, the sun hanging low in the sky making the trails relaxed and straight epic. The mosquitoes were eating us like it was their job but we muscled through and finished the shooting like it was our job. Finally when the chairlift got up and running we headed up the mountain for a sick day ahead of us. From riding Pro Star to Walk the Line, everyone was shredding in their own unique way. Riding and shooting all day makes you see how amazing this mountain is. By the time that i got back to the room at 5 pm it was time for a well deserved cat nap. My first full day at Silver Star was amazing, outstanding weather and mint trail conditions together made this a trip to remember. My expectation were completely exceeded with Silver Star Bike Park. Thank you to NSMB for hosting the AIRprentice and letting me be a part of it all.

Thanks, Ben Byers

Photo Credit: Paul Stevens

Photo Credit: Lindsay Donovan

July 8, 2012, 1:22 a.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: July 8, 2012

I dream about rolling my wheels, exploiting gravity, and easing the pace of everyday life. In our world catching up on sleep happens during the work week.

Lindsay Donovan captured this view of the BC interior at sunrise.

Waking up to see something special, capturing it, and sharing it with the people who embody the same passion. The cycle, our community's beating heart. When I see something that makes me want to drop everything and ride it is my role in the cycle to produce something that brings us back to where we belong. Grips, seat, and pedals.

My favourite part of Silver Star, The corners. Short reach for fresh dirt on top of this one.

Discovering new places with new people, on a bike, in all time conditions (minus all time mosquitos). It is my pleasure to be part of an event that brings a group of individuals together to learn, progress, and produce. I will look back on this weekend remembering moments with old friends and new, where I feel like I was a part of something larger than the group. Walking away from this with inspiration to impose creativity somewhere new and explore my own potential within the cycling community. Watering the seeds of something we all share a passion for. Simply, riding bikes down mountains. Chasing the flow and feeding the cycle.

Me, one foot table on Pro Star. Style on the slope. Photo: Lindsay Donovan

AIRprentice is a melting pot. Each of the "airprenti" has a story that led them to Silverstar this weekend. All of us are reaching for higher ground and this is stepping stone along the way. Win or lose, is helping us gain weight in the sport and remind us why we do what we do. Progression has never felt so natural, and it is proof that the right people make all the difference when pushing personal limits on a bike. I found myself settling into a comfort zone as of late. It was refreshing to expand that comfort zone and bring my own style to a diverse group of people who are keen to push each other on bikes.

AIRprentice Gang. Our stoke amplifier goes to 11. Photo: Lindsay Donovan

Summing up a day like today is hard. Wake up, photo shoot, food, bikes, photo shoot, food, bikes, food, games, bikes, and bed. That is what happened to us. Imagine 9 competing riders training down a blind trail, following its builder, surrounded by photographers and videographers, after multiple sessions on some of the best dirt any bike park has to offer. The day seemed infinite. At this point most of us have reached a new level of tired, the saloon played a vital role in keeping us alive. I have not heard many complaints and I am doubtful I ever will. Thanks!!!

Mike Brothers

July 8, 2012, 2:09 a.m.
Posts: 2045
Joined: Jan. 5, 2010

"Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!" It's 5am and time to wake up. I slip on my number nine shirt and walk down stairs to the basement to grab my bike. In the bike room I'm greeted by all six money shot competitors and seven sleepy AIRprentice riders. The night before we had all met and divided into three groups containing three riders, one photo, and one video competitor. Everyone had decided to try and hike up to shoot in the morning light, but two riders had partied a little too hard on Friday night with the NSMB crew to see the sun rise over the valley.

Group One: Brock Anderson, Mike Kirk, Ace Hayden, Mark Mathews and Connor MacDougall laying down the steez on Pipe Dream! ~ Photo Mike Kirk

Both of these riders happened to be from my group so that left Mike Gamble, Toby Cowley and me to take advantage of the golden light wherever we saw fit. We chose a 40 minute hike to the top of Silver Star to shoot a rock face on Downtown that a local rider assured me would look amazing. Locals know best. The location was nicer than I ever could have imagined and within 30 minutes the talented members in my group had captured all of its beauty, so we moved on to other areas. At 7:30 we needed food and headed back to the hotel with big smiles, nasty bug bites and a roll of bangers.

When the sun kisses this rock it's real friendly. It was gracious enough to let me down a dozen times without inflicting bodily harm.~ Photo Toby Cowley

The breakfast table was buzzing with excitement before a single drop of coffee had been brewed. Evidently all of the groups had found success in their early morning adventures. A short briefing from NSMB team captain Trevor Hansen over breakfast had everyone hooked up with lift passes and ready to ride by 10:00.

Sunburns, bug bites, and what looks like a full bladder; there's still no place else we would rather be. ~ Photo Mike Kirk

We had our choice of NSMB team riders to follow down their choice of trail for our warm up. Then it was straight back up the mountain to Pro Star for a session with all of the riders. The reputable stunts were all slain and every moment of it was captured by the money shot competitors. Trail worker Jason moved our session down Pro Star and into a jump line called Walk the Line that had been opened up specifically for our competition. I had to deal with a flat tire and too fast of rear shock rebound on my first run through, but eventually I got my bike dialed and managed to fly through the big doubles before the riding was shut down for lunch.

I don't remember the last time I saw dust. It certainly came out of hiding for the Pro Star session.~ Photo Toby Cowley

After lunch we formed our smaller groups and once again struck out for gold. Ben Friesen joined my morning group, but unfortunately our other group member Jordan Cook was injured in the afternoon session and couldn't ride. Ben and I took our Downhill bikes down Flow and were able to impress Mike with our speed until 4:30 when the lifts stopped running. Our early morning hike had curbed any desire we might have had to carry on without the chairs, so we headed back to town for showers and food.

Ben proposed a "jump to flat" challenge on this feature. Neither of us lost. ~ Photo Toby Cowley

The night was wrapped up in the Saloon for platters of food and a tire changing competition that ended with blindfolded finalists. Despite the earlier experience on the trail, I was not even a match for the first round, and I had to watch Steven Mathews take the prize money once again. Most of the riders - me included - were content to relax in the hotel and reminisce over the long day. However, there's no stopping the party animals.

Group Two: Andrij Chubatey, Lindsay Donovan, Ben Byers, Stephane Pelletier and Mike Brothers blasting off into the valley. ~ Photo Lindsay Donovan

AIRprentice is the first real mountain bike competiton I've taken part in and it is an amazing experience. Every other competitor shares my desire to ride bikes and I know I will be riding with some of them again this summer. It's unfortunate AIRprentice only lasts two days, but I'm sure day two is going to be just as memorable as the first.

July 8, 2012, 8:56 a.m.
Posts: 33
Joined: July 26, 2008

The NSMB AirPrentice always has been a very unique contest. Instead of a rider timed on their fastest lap or judged on the difficulty of tricks performed in their run, one is criticized on their well roundedness as a rider in general.

My first AirPrentice experience was last year. The sun was shining all weekend, the trails were tacky, and the overall experience was amazing. At the end of the weekend, I was not chosen to be part of the NSMB team. I left the Silver Star Bike Park with a new goal; I wanted to try my luck again in 2012 to try and earn a better finish in the contest. I submitted my AirPrentice application this year and was invited back for another fun-filled weekend.

The first day at the AirPrentice began very similarly to last year. The riders were greeted with a warm breakfast and a great day of riding. Tacky trails, as well as shooting with extremely talented filmers and photographers made for a great day. I spent the afternoon riding with Garrett Thibault as we shot photos and videos with Toby Cowley and Mike Gamble. We managed to get some good shots both photo and video-wise, check them out!

Riding some classic "flow". ~ Photo Toby Cowley.

Garrett Thibault and I training down "Flow". ~ Photo Toby Cowley.

Pinnin' it down dusty Silver Star singletrack. ~ Photo Toby Cowley.

Overall my first day at the AirPrentice went well. After the bike park closed, I killed some time before dinner by taking some shots of the different trail features around the Silver Star Bike Park. Here they are:

'Blast Off'. ~ Photo Ben Friesen.

'World Cup' in the golden light. ~ Photo Ben Friesen.

'Double Dog' S-berms. ~ Photo Ben Friesen.

Many unique wood features can be found at the Silver Star Bike park; 'Double Dog'. ~ Photo Ben Friesen.

Loamy roots on 'Double Dog'. ~ Photo Ben Friesen.

Day 2 is going to begin with a session on 'Pipe Dream' followed by a race down 'Dags Downhill'. Afterwards, the 2012 AirPrentice will be crowned.

July 10, 2012, 12:10 p.m.
Posts: 2271
Joined: Nov. 22, 2002

Smashing a sweet flat rolled corner on pipe dream as one of the first shots of the morning. By far the earliest Ive ever shotten!

Ace gets shotty on first use I've seen of the word 'shotten'. Nice one.

July 10, 2012, 9:19 p.m.
Posts: 603
Joined: Oct. 29, 2007

Ace gets shotty on first use I've seen of the word 'shotten'. Nice one.

I've been hacked.


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