Feature

Feature

“En Marche” – The Vallée Bras du Nord story

October 31, 2019

“Have you ever thought about building bike trails here?” This pivotal question was posed fifteen years ago, in a yurt perched high atop Delaney falls - the landmark of the Vallée Bras-du-Nord, in Saint-Raymond, Quebec - and it sparked the conversation that would lead to a world-renowned mountain bike mecca and an award-winning youth program.

 

 

At the time the Co-op Vallée Bras-du-Nord, an innovative model of cooperative management, was only celebrating their second anniversary. In that short time, they had already developed reception facilities, several refuges, and 60 km of hiking trails.

Frédéric Asselin, Director of the Co-op, was sharing the yurt with Géo Plein-Air magazine journalist Gilles Morneau; professional mountain biker Mathieu Toulouse; and national team mountain bike head coach Michel LeBlanc. The trio was in the area on a hiking and canoeing trip. Frédéric, always on the lookout for new activities to stimulate growth, listened attentively as the men discussed the potential for mountain bike trails in the valley. It quickly became clear that the glacial valley with its cliffs, rivers, and waterfalls, was the perfect natural setting for two-wheeled exploration.

That evening, a seed was sown. And just over a year later, after Frédéric had visited other bike parks and fell in love with mountain biking himself, the idea of building bike trails was presented to and approved by the board of directors of the Vallée Bras-du-Nord. And in 2007 the youth project, En Marche began work on the trails.

The En Marche project is designed to give kids who are struggling; have dropped out of school, are dealing with family violence, drug addiction, and delinquency, the opportunity to be out in nature using forestry work as an educational tool. Dozens of young men and women are selected each year to work building and maintaining trails within the valley.

The youth spend six months swinging pulaskis and mcleods, while a trained social worker accompanies them each day. At the end of the summer, the whole team takes part in a wilderness adventure trip, where, confronted with a hostile environment, they learn about tolerance, discipline, teamwork, and perseverance.

By 2008, the En Marche team had already built roughly fifteen kilometres of mountain bike specific singletracks and twice that length in double-track. The cyclists came, loved it, and began spreading the word. The (now) famous Chute à Gilles, which passes at the foot of a nice waterfall, set the tone for what the valley had to offer and became its signature trail. The excitement among riders grew every year thereafter, especially with the opening of the Saint-Raymond sector, Grande Ourse trail, and Maple butter trail; a very flowy roller coaster built on a kame (a hill of glacial origin composed of sand and gravel).

Recently, the "En Marche" team spearheaded the construction of the most iconic track of the Valley, the Neilson Trail. Three summers were needed to create what is often called a ‘masterpiece’ in a breathtaking natural setting. The young craftsmen carved a sweet rideable ribbon along the Neilson riverbank; building the bridges, carving the rock in places to reach seemingly inaccessible sections, and incorporating as much as possible of the beautiful granite slabs that have been polished by the flow of water for centuries.

On the strength of these repeated successes, the Valley has seen the number of its two-wheeled visitors multiply each year, and has now acquired the status of an unmissable destination. The quality of its facilities and how the Co-op works with the community, businesses, loggers, and landowners are what have helped the valley to flourish and become a model of sustainable tourism. But the Vallée Bras-du Nord’s greatest pride remains the more than 200 young men and women who have built the trail network. These trail builders can be proud, not only of the work they have done in the forest but also on themselves. Three-quarters of the youth who have participated in this program re-entered the job market or returned to school - and some still work for Vallée Brass-du-Nord. Last year, the En Marche project received the highest mark of distinction for a youth intervention program when the director, Étienne Beaumont was presented with the Youth Recognition Award at the National Assembly from Quebec’s premier Philippe Couillard.

Rocky Mountain has been the exclusive bike partner of Vallée Bras-du Nord since 2008, ensuring that the trail builders and staff are able to access and enjoy the hard work they have put in.

Previous Feature An Argentina Adventure 5 part video series. This trip wasn't about finding big hucks, shredding scree slopes, heli-shuttles, or filming for a feature movie. It was about finding a true mountain bike adventure and sharing it with close friends.
Next Feature Carson Storch Interview – Ready to Rampage Going into his fifth year competing at Red Bull Rampage, Carson has already experienced nearly all the highs and lows an event of this magnitude can offer.
Feature

Carson Storch Interview – Ready to Rampage

October 22, 2019

Going into his fifth year competing at Red Bull Rampage, Carson has already experienced nearly all the highs and lows an event of this magnitude can offer.

“It's pretty awesome to be a part of the greatest mountain bike event to ever exist. . . it's always been a childhood dream of mine.” Going into his fifth year competing at Red Bull Rampage, Carson has already experienced nearly all the highs and lows an event of this magnitude can offer. And beyond his own goals, he’s putting in the work to support the next round of athletes who share his childhood dreams. “Red Bull Rampage has 'made' a lot of careers overnight, including mine,” he says.

Carson wasn’t yet competing in any of the ‘big’ events when he made it his goal to compete at Rampage in 2014. He worked hard all year; filming an entrance video and placing in the top ten at events like Red Bull Joyride (he got called up from the alternate list the morning of the competition)  and District Ride. With his foot in the door, he qualified at Rampage his first year and threw down three runs. He ended up 15th overall but it was enough to get him invited back the following year. In 2015, when Carson crashed during his last practice run at Red Bull Joyride and broke his collar bone, it seemed unlikely that he would be healed in time to compete at Rampage. But with his determination and commitment to physiotherapy, he was ready in time. However, things didn’t go as planned. While testing a jump during practice, Carson crashed and hurt his ankle (an injury that would plague him for the next two-and-a-half years) forcing him to make the difficult decision to withdraw from the event.

“I came into [2016] with a stronger mindset,” Carson says. And it worked. He took third place and best trick (for 3’ing a big drop). “I didn't expect it, it just happened mostly because I was having fun with it at that particular event.” This became a pivotal moment in Carson’s career allowing him to focus on freeride and filming and less on slopestyle.

The following year Carson placed 7th overall at Red Bull Rampage. But again last year, he had a challenging experience.

Last year was a tough one for you at Rampage, what happened?

Last year was a new zone, and that always means a crazy amount of building. I simply didn't have time to finish the middle part of my line, which was basically the easiest part. It was the weak link and got me on both runs and in practice. I actually took two hard slams the morning of the big day and almost didn't get cleared to ride. It really put me in the worst possible mental state while sitting at the top about to drop in for my runs.

 

 

 

 

 

What is your approach this year at Rampage with going back to the same zone?

My goal is to focus on getting my line dialled and building a whole new middle section that will hopefully be fast and raw and allow me to get to my big drop feeling stoked.

What was your involvement with Proving Grounds?

I guess you could call me the facilitator. Todd Barber approached Kyle Jameson and me with the idea, and we thought it could be something great for the sport of Freeride, so we helped kickstart it by piggybacking it off of Black Sage.

 

Why do you think it's important to have an event like this for entrance into Red Bull Rampage?

I believe that Proving Grounds is great for upcoming talent, it gives a few people the chance to get into Rampage. I also think it's still important to have the other 8 wildcards invited based on prior results, video parts, etc - just like it's always been.

The thing that gets me most excited, is the potential for a series of 'Proving Grounds' style events around the world. It's something that fills the void in freeride, that obviously isn't Rampage, and not Fest Series, but essentially a mix of both. There are, of course, people who don't agree with my view of it, but I honestly think it would be huge for our sport, and a way to cater to the younger generations by giving them something inclusive to work towards.

 

What has the past year looked like for you in terms of highs and lows?

There have been many highs this year, not too many lows - which is always the goal. Black Sage is always a highlight of the year for me, so much work goes into it and at the end, it's always worth it. I travelled all year, competed in a few slope comps, and did a lot of filming. It’s been a great year!

You got to preride the Red Bull Joyride course in Whistler this year, what did you think about the changes?

I thought the course changes were a definite step in the right direction. I feel like a course full of options and a little more creativity is good. It opens the door up for anyone to take it! It was so fun to get back on the Joyride course. The last time I rode it was when I was competing in 2015 and broke myself off in practice. It felt good to cruise it again successfully and get some demons out of my head!

What are you most excited to be focusing on at the moment?

Rampage is always a rad thing to focus on. You have to stay healthy all year, and being prepared for Utah is riding big mountain terrain and overall bike control. So I can ride anything, film anything, and have that in the back of my head. Filming is another thing I love focusing on because it forces creativity and brings me back to my roots of exploration and riding every type of mountain bike.

When starting out in your career, it is important to say yes to everything and gain as much exposure as possible, how does it feel to have reached a position where you can pick and choose your projects and competitions?

Yep, coming into my career I was doing anything and everything to get my name out there, which was an awesome experience. But nowadays it's pretty surreal to just do what I want to do, which is to focus on video and photo projects that are quality over quantity and do the same with events. I try and do builds for video projects that will last and build up the scene. A lot of what I focus on is doing these builds in Bend or in elsewhere in Oregon. The more going on in a scene means more motivation from the younger generations and more for them to look forward to being apart of one day.

 

 

 

 

 

You have a 'yet-unnamed-project' that you have been focusing the majority of your time and energy on. Can you talk about it yet?

Not quite yet! We are close to releasing the teaser for it though. I have been working with Clay Porter for the past year and a half on this film project, among others, and it's been a great time. All I can say is I'm extremely stoked on it and it will hopefully release the Summer of 2020 (TBA).

Digging at Red Bull Rampage has commenced and Carson and his build team are already hard at work putting in long days to create a fast and raw mid-section in his 2018 run. Given Carson’s abilities, his drive, and the wisdom he has shown again and again throughout his career he is always one to watch. But beyond Red Bull Rampage, his commitment to freeride development, inclusivity, and the generations that will follow in his footsteps is what makes Rocky Mountain most proud to have him on their team.

 

 

Good luck Carson!

Previous Feature “En Marche” – The Vallée Bras du Nord story This is the fairytale story of purpose-built singletrack set amongst some of Quebec’s most stunning vistas and constructed by some unlikely characters.
Next Feature The Jank Files - Episode 6 From $80,000 watches and litres of fondue, to mega party trains and grimace-purple hematoma’s. This is Episode 6 of The Jank Files.
Feature

The Jank Files - Episode 6

October 15, 2019

It’s been a long season for everyone and what better way to end it than at a new venue in some of the most impressive mountains in the world. With 360-degree panoramic views of the Monte Rosa, the famous Matterhorn, and glaciated valleys, Zermatt is impressive in every sense of the word. Traditionally a hiking and mountaineering town, the riding here is tight, technical, and for the lack of a better word – jank.

New for this year was the Trophy of Nations, described by the EWS as an event to “Work with your team, strategize, pace each other, and share the experience.” All that is true, but when we asked the Canadian Men’s team, comprised of Rémi Gauvin, Jesse Melamed, and Kona’s Rhys Verner, their opinion, they put it simply as “a party train going 100%.”

The Trophy of Nations event also featured the Industry Trophy, a race on the same course as the pro's where brands could put together a team of staff, athletes, or anyone they wished. We looped in our team rider, Peter Ostroski, Brand Manager, Stephen Matthews, and Product Manager, Ken Perras to form “Team Slayer”. The team started strong flexing custom Race Face jerseys, tapered in the middle with a leg hematoma, and finished strong with good memories and beers on the beach.

Filmed by Caldwell Visuals
Photos by Dave Trumpore

A big thank you to all our sponsors!
Race Face, Maxxis, Fox, Shimano, Smith Optics, WTB, OneUp Components, Stages Cycling, Peaty’s Products, EVOC, RideWrap

Previous Feature Carson Storch Interview – Ready to Rampage Going into his fifth year competing at Red Bull Rampage, Carson has already experienced nearly all the highs and lows an event of this magnitude can offer.
Next Feature The Jank Files - Episode 5 Between Rémi’s budding slopestyle career, Jesse’s broken hand grip mods, and ALN’s on-the-fly packing, the team joined Peter Ostroski in America and took on California in style. Now that the dust is settled, check out Episode 5 of The Jank Files.
Feature

The Jank Files - Episode 5

September 04, 2019

We all expected Northstar to be dry, loose, and rough. Well, it delivered on all fronts. The tracks raced were some of the gnarliest we’ve seen this year and the combination of moon dust and boulders meant staying upright was a gamble on every stage. Jesse, Rémi, Andréane, and Peter navigated the jank and put down some incredible runs and impressive results.

Between Rémi’s budding slopestyle career, Jesse’s broken hand grip mods, and ALN’s on-the-fly packing, the team joined Peter Ostroski in America and took on California in style. Now that the dust is settled, check out Episode 5 of The Jank Files.


Filmed by Caldwell Visuals
Photos by Dave Trumpore

A big thank you to all our sponsors!
Race Face, Maxxis, Fox, Shimano, Smith Optics, WTB, OneUp Components, Stages Cycling, Peaty’s Products, EVOC, RideWrap

Previous Feature The Jank Files - Episode 6 From $80,000 watches and litres of fondue, to mega party trains and grimace-purple hematoma’s. This is Episode 6 of The Jank Files.
Next Feature Climbing ain't dead From climbing up features he never dreamt possible to picking routes that mine as well be the Penrose Stairs, Camille’s having as much fun on the climbs as he is on the descents.
Feature

Climbing ain't dead

August 28, 2019

It’s no secret that riding an eMTB makes climbing easier. In fact, that’s kind of the point for a lot of riders. But Camille Servant sees the added assistance from the motor as a chance to approach his riding differently. 

From climbing up features he never dreamt possible to picking routes that mine as well be the Penrose Stairs, Camille’s having as much fun on the climbs as he is on the descents. There’s something to be said for the love/hate relationship many of us have for the traditional and monotonous grind, but we’re excited to see Camille mixing it up.

 

Altitude Powerplay

Presented by: Rocky Mountain
Video by: Lone Wolf Productions
Featuring: Camille Servant

Previous Feature The Jank Files - Episode 5 Between Rémi’s budding slopestyle career, Jesse’s broken hand grip mods, and ALN’s on-the-fly packing, the team joined Peter Ostroski in America and took on California in style. Now that the dust is settled, check out Episode 5 of The Jank Files.
Next Feature The Jank Files - Episode 4 From sketchy lunch laps on the North Shore, fancy showrooms, fresh kits, and taking the top spot of the team podium; this is Episode 4 of The Jank Files.
Feature

The Jank Files - Episode 4

August 20, 2019

There’s something special about being able to race at home. Fortunately for this crew, they get that opportunity every year at the Enduro World Series in Whistler. Jesse, Rémi, and Andréane all live in the Sea to Sky corridor and are proud to race on their home tracks in front of their friends and family. Crankworx is an festival for mountain biking, as it brings riders together from all over the world. For the Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team, that means their American teammate Peter Ostroski comes up to join the crew and put down some fast times!

From sketchy lunch laps on the North Shore, fancy showrooms, fresh kits, and taking the top spot of the team podium; this is Episode 4 of The Jank Files.




Filmed by Caldwell Visuals
Photos by Dave Trumpore

A big thank you to all our sponsors!
Race Face, Maxxis, Fox, Shimano, Smith Optics, WTB, OneUp Components, Stages Cycling, Peaty’s Products, EVOC, RideWrap

Previous Feature Climbing ain't dead From climbing up features he never dreamt possible to picking routes that mine as well be the Penrose Stairs, Camille’s having as much fun on the climbs as he is on the descents.
Next Feature Oscillation Back and forth, forward and back. Mastery on the bike comes from constant repetition.
Feature

Oscillation

August 19, 2019

Back and forth, forward and back. Mastery on the bike comes from constant repetition. Whether it’s your hundredth time down a trail or you’re about to drop into a new one for the first time, steady, well-rehearsed motions are what will get you through. So, ride fast and send it deep because the Slayer is built for those who charge.

Thomas Vanderham



Rémi Gauvin



Carson Storch



Previous Feature The Jank Files - Episode 4 From sketchy lunch laps on the North Shore, fancy showrooms, fresh kits, and taking the top spot of the team podium; this is Episode 4 of The Jank Files.
Next Feature The Jank Files - Episode 3 From dirt kart racing and glacial river baths to podium finishes and the hospital visits. This isn’t your average Euro trip; this is Episode 3 of The Jank Files.
Feature

The Jank Files - Episode 3

August 01, 2019

Rounds 4 and 5 of the Enduro World Series were scheduled back to back this month. With only a few days in between each race, the schedule presented the perfect opportunity to set out on a European road trip. Crossing Italy and ending in France, the hot temperatures, cold gelato, lengthy playlists, and wild bike races were an incredible recipe for spending a few weeks abroad.

From dirt kart racing and glacial river baths to podium finishes and the hospital visits. This isn’t your average Euro trip; this is Episode 3 of The Jank Files.

Filmed by Caldwell Visuals
Photos by Dave Trumpore

A big thank you to all our sponsors!

Race Face, Maxxis, Fox, Shimano, Smith Optics, WTB, OneUp Components, Stages Cycling, Peaty’s Products, EVOC

Previous Feature Oscillation Back and forth, forward and back. Mastery on the bike comes from constant repetition.
Next Feature THE SLAYER – Official Trailer release The film, from the writer-director, features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the iconic horror films of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Watch it, if you dare.
Feature

THE SLAYER – Official Trailer release

July 29, 2019

“In a small mountain town, a new terror haunts in the woods.” Watch the Official Trailer for THE SLAYER – coming August, 2019.

In one small town, trick-or-treating turns to terror. Scott Secco’s THE SLAYER brings a rider’s worst nightmare to life, as they fight to survive against an unstoppable killing machine. The film, from the writer-director, features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the iconic horror films of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Watch it, if you dare.

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#TheSlayer #RockyMountain #LovetheRide #OfficialTrailer #Trailer

Previous Feature The Jank Files - Episode 3 From dirt kart racing and glacial river baths to podium finishes and the hospital visits. This isn’t your average Euro trip; this is Episode 3 of The Jank Files.
Next Feature 2019 C.O.R.E. Ambassador Summit Once a year we take the opportunity to open our doors to our extended Rocky Mountain family, our C.O.R.E. Ambassadors.
Feature

2019 C.O.R.E. Ambassador Summit

July 24, 2019

Once a year we take the opportunity to open our doors to our extended Rocky Mountain family, our C.O.R.E. Ambassadors. The program came from the mind of Wade Simmons, who recognized that there were amazing riders representing Rocky Mountain across North America and wanted to officially bring them into the fold.

The acronym, “C.O.R.E.”, stands for Cyclists of Radical Endeavors and refers to a group of Rocky Mountain ambassadors who share a passion for riding, contributing to their communities, and spreading the love for our sport. We have 23 C.O.R.E Ambassadors throughout North America that cover North Carolina to Ontario, California to Squamish, and everything in-between. After extending invites to the entire crew, 13 of them were able to make it for the 3-day riding adventure, starting with a look inside our North Vancouver R&D Centre.

Day 1

Hosted by six staff members that live and breathe to ride bikes, the weekend kicked off with a tour through our office and machine shop, the breeding grounds for where our engineering dreams become a reality. From theorizing about the future to designing and testing prototypes, it all happens here in our own backyard. Research and development are engrained in Rocky Mountain’s history and being located at the foot of the North Shore has its advantages.


Pedalling from the front door of our office, we headed to Mount Seymour to ride a classic lap down Dale’s Trail to Forever After. Aside from being a great route for the North Shore newcomers, we wanted to show off the trail work that we’d been doing on Forever After. As a part of our contribution to the North Shore Mountain Bike Association (NSMBA), we’ve taken on building and maintaining Forever After through their The Trail Adoption Program.

Wade led the next lap, which was a healthy mix of fast, flowy, and some North Shore jank. He’s the man with the plan and always makes sure every ride is unforgettable. From the top of Mount Seymour right back to the office, the C.O.R.E Ambassadors were treated to a backyard BBQ and cold “Prime Time” beers from Bridge Brewing. An appropriately named beer for the vibe set by Day 1.

Day 2

Since the North Shore is just the tip of the iceberg for riding in British Columbia, we decided to take our guests up the Sea to Sky corridor to Squamish. A few of the riders were living their best life taking the “Prime Time” mantra to heart but managed to rally together for another day of riding.

Joined by local C.O.R.E. Ambassadors, Greg Day and Dwayne Kress, and our Pacific Northwest Tech Rep, Pat Cox, they set the route to take advantage of all that “Canada’s Outdoor Capital” has to offer. Known for its grippy granite slabs and flowing singletrack, the stark contrast between trail sections caught a few people off-guard. Once everyone understood just how much traction you had on Squamish’ slabs, everyone began to open it up and get a little carried away with the rock roll runouts.

Dropping into 19th hole is like a rite of passage in the Sea to Sky. It’s been a classic shuttle lap for decades and boasts non-stop technical moves from top to bottom. With inspired confidence from our lunchtime pints of cheer, it was a turn and burn situation into the woods. From rowdy fall-line segments to new berm work on Pseudo-Tsuga, everyone’s smiles were a mile wide by the time we were back in town.

After a full day of unbelievable riding, the gravitational draw from the beer cooler was stronger than the desire to clean up and shower. It was great to see how yesterday’s strangers were now friends, and that was just after a few hours of riding. That’s what makes mountain biking special, the culture of forming new relationships all by having fun on two wheels. As the sun set, we were drawn to the dance-floor of Squamish’s one and only night club. People in this town can be a bit too serious about their daytime activities, so tend to skip out on additional hours of beers drinking and dancing – but we aren’t locals in this town.

Day 3

Maybe next year we’ll call this the “Glutton for Punishment Tour” because Day 3 started with a brutal climb up Debeck’s Hill. The amount of riding over the past few days was taking its toll, but the ambassadors pressed on. One pedal stroke at a time, we climbed up the 15% chunky road approach to Rigs in Zen and more recently built Pleasure Trail.

We took a healthy break at the top to rest our weary legs, refuel with bars and snacks, and prep the guests for a seriously rowdy descent. This is a trail with tight moves and rollovers, and the lines that were the go-to in 2004 are now completely bombed out.

About half way down, there’s a newer trail that’s popped up on the map called Pleasure Trail. Built between granite slabs and navigating down massive cliff faces, at the moment we’d say this is one of Squamish’ best laps! The crew made it to the bottom with all parts intact and still had the strength to high-five and hold a beer.

Back at the hotel, we recounted the amazing moments and were as excited to be done as we had been to begin. The comments from the C.O.R.E. ambassadors on the trails, the areas, and the amazing experience showed us they understand why it’s so important for Rocky Mountain to be located here. They took the memories of the experience home with them and now feel even further engrained in the Rocky Mountain family. That, in the end, is exactly what we wanted to do, and we can’t wait to do again.

Previous Feature THE SLAYER – Official Trailer release The film, from the writer-director, features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the iconic horror films of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Watch it, if you dare.
Next Feature Digger's back Wade saw the surgeries as an opportunity to help out a friend who had given him so much over the years. It was his idea to support Digger with an Altitude Powerplay, because he knew the assistance from the bike’s drive system would help get Digger back riding.

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