I love summer! The endless days filled with joy and exhilaration brought on when mountain biking at new destinations. To date I’ve been hard at work and play, okay, definitely a bit of both, travelling to Utah and throughout central Alberta to document new areas for followers of bikepirate to explore. Last week I headed to Rossland and Nelson on a six day road trip with my friend Pat, to cover two areas currently not listed on our website.
First stop, Rossland, dubbed the mountain bike capital of Canada, for a day to visit the newest member of the bikepirate team – Neville Bugden. Nev works to maintain the trails of Rossland full time during the summer months, as a part of a crew that oversees all sanctioned trails in the area. The group is funded by various grants that a team of volunteers, forming the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society, apply for every year to keep things going. This is a great concept that appears to be working very well for the Town. 32 official trails cover over 170 kilometres within the city limits and many trailheads are an easy pedal from Rossland’s downtown main street.
Our day in Rossland saw us shuttling to the Kootenay Columbia trail, from where we pedaled up to KC Ridge. A fun and technical descent down KC Ridge took us over to Milky Way and down to Green Door. A fun downhill or all mountain ride well worth checking out. The sweet technical singletrack included various man-made and natural features all rideable with an all mountain bike and super fun on a downhill bike.
After spending a day riding and visiting with Nev it was time to head to Nelson. Yes our visit to Rossland was short and sweet, but with Nev representing bikepirate you can rest assured that will be adding loads of great Rossland rides to our site very soon!
Our week in Nelson started off at the Svoboda Trail System located at the northeast end of town. Parking at the end of Elwyn Street we started our long pedal up the dirt road to reach the top of Paper Bag; a must do descent littered with technical rock slabs, a few short steep ups ending in a long and steep down. Paper Bag is an awesome downhill trail that will test your descending skills and well worth checking out. Wearing a full face helmet is highly recommended, but not required. You might also want to throw on some knee and elbow pads. After a 4km climb you are rewarded with a long 3 km downhill, well worth the pedal up.
We continued our week riding in three other areas including; Nelson’s North Shore Trails, Giveout Creek Trails and Mountain Station Trails. All worth exploring and all offering a number of trail options for the beginner to expert rider. If you’re not up to the task of pedaling your big bike, bring an all-mountain or visit the Giveout Creek and Gold Creek Trails area where shuttling even with a small vehicle is doable. The North Shore may also be shuttled, but you’ll need a truck or SUV with good clearance to get up the FSR. We tried taking my Ford Focus up Nelson’s North Shore, but only made it up to the 1km mark before hoping out and deciding to do the pedal/push up to the start of the trailhead located at 1,800 metres; a total of 1,200 metres in elevation was gained over 6 km of pushing/riding. Once near the top we discovered a metre of snow and had to retrace our steps and find another way to enter the Upper Hitman trail. An awesome descent that is well worth the effort once the snow melts. Jumping on Upper Hitman, about halfway down the trail where the snow had melted, we descended down to Hitman and Doz Slabs to finish our epic ride. We enjoyed Hitman immensely and LOVED Doz Slabs. Doz Slabs features a dozen technical slab descents, scattered all the way down the trail. Many do not have ridearounds, please be warned.
After an amazing week of riding in Rossland and Nelson, my body is a little bit worn; but, I’m already planning my return visit to Nelson to document the trails we didn’t get a chance to sample. Both towns offer such amazing riding and both have such a wicked vibe that I cannot wait to go back. On my list for Rossland is the 7 Summits, oh I can hardly wait!
PLACES TO STAY
Ymir Hotel: If you’re on a budget and don’t mind driving to Rossland or Nelson daily. No place for bikes, but clean and cheap accommodation.
Alpine Motel: Located a short 10 minute walk to downtown, the Alpine Hotel is a clean and bike friendly motel. Prices are reasonable, there is onsite laundry, BBQ and a hose to wash your bikes off after a day of ripping up the trails.
PLACES TO EAT
There are many restaurants and places to grab a bite in Nelson. Here are just a couple of our favourites.
Oso Negro: Best coffee in town, so I’m told not being a coffee drinker myself. I did enjoy the delicious muffins and tea.
The Outer Clove (536 Stanley St): If you like garlic, then this place is for you. An awesome restaurant serving up some tasty dishes all made with garlic, and lots of it.
Gericks: Located on Baker Street this is a great shop to get beta on local trails and to pick up a Nelson Trail Guide.
Sacred Ride: Another cool shop to check out during your visit to Nelson.