The Kootenays have been gaining international recognition for mountain biking.
The area’s steep slopes and rich dirt are the perfect ingredients for constructing spectacular and challenging trails.
The two Kootenay towns on the lips of cyclists are usually Rossland and Nelson, but right between the two is where some of the best new trails are being built.
Castlegar used to be behind in the mountain bike scene. There were only a few trails and some crossed private property resulting in their dismantling. But the bikers kept building, with a plan to expand and legitimize their trail network.
In 2010, The Castlegar Mountain Bike Society was formed with that goal.
Since then, the society has constructed some of the best bike rides in the region. Using the skills of their volunteers, trails here have become known as being big, wide, and flowing. They allow a rider to roll smoothly through the banked corners and over the optional wooden stunts, bridges and drops.
The trail networks have increased along with the society’s credibility, as they joined forces with the Castlegar Friends of Parks and Trails. The Castlegar hiking trail association’s experience in dealing with land legislation and funding for construction and maintenance has helped ensure the trails are permanent installations.
“We wanted to build an awareness of the social and economic value that the bike trails create for Castlegar, as well as start an avenue for the existing trails to be recognized and protected,” said Dave Hall, an early member of the Castlegar Mountain Bike Trails Society and now Castlegar Friends of Parks and Trails Mountain Bike Director. “The amount of effort to build these trails would astound people and is truly a passion for people who love to ride their bikes.”
As the society is busy maintaining their existing trails, they also have other big plans.
In the spring of 2015, construction starts on the mountain bike skills area in Millennium Park and a bike raffle is underway with proceeds going to trail projects.
Tickets can be bought at Mallard’s, The Lion’s Head, and a variety of other business around town.
Though the Castlegar Mountain Bike Society is growing, it still needs your help. You can come out and help build with them on Tuesday nights, as shown on their Facebook page. You can also become a member for $10 per year by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re just starting to scratch the surface of the potential that exists in Castlegar,” Hall said.