Friday, May 27, 2011

Fresh video from Peru...last week.

Hmmm, mountain biking in Peru. The riding is that good. Thanks to Stephane Heroux from New Brunswick for this video! Cheers!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

the weather

Sun sun sun sun sun sun sun sun!
One of the many things that i like about riding mountain bikes is having to know the weather. I like weather forecasts. I like storms. I like heat. I like cool days. I like it all. I guess mountain bikers generally like the elements. To really enjoy a ride you need to at least look out a window, glance up at the sky and see what's going on, or have some sort of idea of what mother nature has in store for you and what you'll need to prepare for. Are you heading into the desert mid-day where there's no shade or heading into the high mountains where snow could fall or in the jungle during rainy season? Important things to consider. But don't let the forecast deter you from getting out on your bike. Laguna Beach this week? Lookin' pretty nice i'd say. Jealous. Here in Vancouver BC, if you didn't like a little precip you simply would not be riding. It's been a wet six months here on the Wet Coast! Here's our forecast for the week ahead. Time to suit up and head out for some wet weather riding...
rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain!

Friday, May 20, 2011

5 Tips from the Godfather.

Wade LOVES to ride bikes.
Wade is know as one of the most natural trail riders anywhere. Follow him down a trail and he skips over technical sections as smoothly as butter, manuals and gaps stuff that most of creep down carefully and pretty much styles a trail out big time. He's got talent. We caught up with Simmons in Europe a few weeks ago as he prepared for this summer's Big Mountain Camps in Verbier, Switzerland and asked him a few key things to consider for mountain bikers...

1. Bike set-up is probably the most important thing a rider can do to affect their comfort and confidence. So many times I see people riding too long of a stem or have the handlebars rolled too forward or back. People need to have the bike properly adjusted to the type of riding they are doing. Proper suspension set-up is very important too, especially when we teach drops and airs. Its like getting into a rental car and not adjusting the seat or rear view mirror. Once all is adjusted its time to shred!

 2. Body position is crucial. When you buy a bike, nobody tells you how to ride it. Its assumed one will know how, because everybody can ride a bike, right? Wrong. The number one thing I see beginners and intermediates do wrong is lean too far back. Riders need to get over the front wheel and lead the bike. If you think of any sport that involves action, the body leads into the action: Skiing, you lean into the front, Football, you lean into the ball before kicking, Tennis, you lead with the shoulder before smashing the ball......everything is like this. Even when you ride down a rock face, you should be leaning forward, and not until the transition at the bottom should you weight back. It sounds counter-intuitive but its the way to ride.

3. Brake control and modulation. People cannot become great riders if they cannot operate brakes properly. Braking is a big part of mountain biking, and its very complicated. I am amazed at the number of people I see that do not know how to skid the rear tire. Sometimes on mountain bike website forums I read about people hating on skidding. Skidding is a skill one must master to become a expert rider. Anybody who complains about skidding being bad, does not know how use the skid properly. It is a way to steer the rear wheel, and once riders realize this, doors open on the trail. To master the combination of front and rear brake modulation takes time and practise, but once set on the right track, people will be better riders.

4. The Manual is another fundamental skill riders will need to master to allow progression. Its a skill that opens doors on the trail. The manual is used in many trail applications such as rolling off drops, smoothing out rough terrain and pumping through rolls. It can also be used to bring the front-end quickly around corners. A manual is a big crowd pleaser when you are riding down the road and pull a sic long manual. It can also be joined with other moves like a bunny-hop to manual for instance. The manual is relatively easy, but there are a couple of key points riders need to learn or you fall on your ass a lot!

5. Drops. Who doesn't love a drop? There are many types of drops with different characteristics that all require a little different approach. Some are straight drops, some have a gap factor to the landing, some have uphill take-offs, some downhill take-offs....many types, but all fun! Drops can also be very dangerous but when supplied with the right skills and knowledge there is only one
One of Wade's biggest drops ever. Mucho grande.
 Photo by John Gibson.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

BM guide Paulo Valle cuts against the Costa Rican grain.

We're elated. Paulo "Chico Dore" Valle, our good friend and the architect behind our legendary Pura Vida DH trips in Costa Rica has just been featured in the latest Bike Magazine's My Trail column. Here's what was written:

The Rider: Paulo Valle has been riding bikes as long as he can remember. Hailing from San Jose, Costa Rica, he started as a youngster, cruising his neighbourhoud and building jumps with his friends. His early appreciation for speed and air made BMX racing a perfect fit for the young ripper. The competitive spirit that Valle honed while racing BMX translated seamlessly to mountain bikes when he first rode one in 1990. He quickly rose through the ranks of Costa Rica's professional race circuit, ultimately winning national championships in both DH and XC. These days, Valle has long since stepped out of the race scene, instead pouring his energy into trail building - and sharing his trails with other riders as the main Costa Rica guide for Vancouver-based tour company Big Mountain Bike Adventures.
The Scene: In today's Costa Rican mountain bike scene, Valle is a rare breed of rider. While road and cross-country dominate the riding community, Valle is one of a handful of riders with a healthy appetite for challenging technical terrain that pushes the limits of both rider and bike. Whether it's a blessing or a curse, he is a lone soldier, building and riding on his own terms.
The Trail: Valle's network runs throughout the Talamanca Mountains near San Jose, where he has been building trails for about nice years. Topping out at just over 12,000 feet, the range offers long, technical descents from high alpine areas to jungle terrain, with many trails ending in the coffee plantations that are scattered across many of the region's valleys. When approaching trail building, Valle looks for his routes to form organically by letting the terrain dictate how the trail will flow. By taking advantage of natural obstacles, his trails have a raw, natural feel that can challenge even the most seasoned veteran. His ultimate goal is to have a network of unapologetically technical singletrack that connects the Pacific and Atlantic sides of his country. Anthony Smith.
Yea Paulo!!!!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

This week in the Peruvian Andes...

We just received word from our partner and guide extraordinaire Wayo from high in the mountains near Ollantaytambo who's at the helm of our Unforgettable Andes mountain bike trip in Peru. "Everything is going very well. Today the group went to Machu Picchu and I scouted two amazing trails close to Cusco starting at 14,1000 feet! Two more descents that you should know about!!" The guys are very happy with the trip and saying "best trip of my life." So I think everything is going very well here!" It's always great to hear that another trip is going well - after the months of correspondence with participants there's nothing more satisfying than receiving these words. Thanks for the update Wayo!
The first ride of the trip...just a warm up to what's to come!

In the arid Andes near Lima. A desert landscape on STEROIDS!

An old Inca trail. Amazing culture awaits in Peru.
Check out this mountain bike video from Peru shot a year ago. The riding in Peru is STELLAR!


Monday, May 09, 2011

The Yukon. Unplug. Re-set.

We live in a busy, uncertain, and sometimes morally challenging time. Tsunamis. Osama. Economy. Environment. The Stanley Cup. You know what i mean. While we fight to maintain our balance and sanity in this perpetual storm, it's important that we keep our feet on the ground and not loose sight of what's important in life: family, friends, reading books, exercise, fresh air, riding mountain bikes. Which leads me to invite you, my fellow mountain biker, to the Yukon & Alaska this summer. Why you ask? Because it'll help keep you grounded, it'll remind you of what's important and quite simply you'll have a blast. I'm not pointing any fingers here, just saying that we could all do with a little unplug and re-set.
Journalist Dave Smith searches for that elusive word.
The North is a place with fewer complications, where the rhythm is in tune with nature and the friendly locals will do anything to make sure you're having a great experience. Oh, and the riding just happens to be killer - big epics in wide-open landscapes, short loops on technical loamy singletrack and quick and punchy berm-infested railing-a-thon trails on firm, yet forgiving, dirt.
The colours of a palette.
The mountain bike guides on this adventure are the best hosts that you could ask for. Devon McDiarmid talks about his year: "I just returned from the North Pole where i guided two ski groups. This means I skied to both poles in one calendar year and there is a good chance i'll be getting to the South Pole again for the second time in 2011! But my biggest achievement of the year for me is kite skiing Greenland for a Guiness Book of World Record for longest kite ski expedition in the North, covering over 4000 kms" When you meet McDiarmid you'll be greeted by a low-key, humble adventurer with a great passion for guiding and a slew of truly amazing stories. McDiarmid will be joined by Ray Warner who recalls: "I moved to the Yukon after falling in love with Alaska and the North, during a summer of riding and climbing there. I went back to Banff, grabbed the rest of my gear, one backpack worth, walked to the highway and hitched to Whitehorse where I spent 17 years trying to get lost in the bush - riding, paddling, climbing and running sled dogs. The north is like nowhere else on earth, it is still pure and rugged with challenges at every turn." Warner is mad-passionate about all things Northern.
To be guided in the Yukon and Alaska on mountain bikes by McDiarmid and Warner is a great opportunity. Want to unplug and re-set this summer?

One trip only: Midnight Sun, August 21-27, 6 nights/7 days. $1995.00 USD.
The road from Whitehorse to Haines, Alaska. Is that John Denver on the radio?

Ride Whistler with us this summer!

Whistler, heard of it? Ha! The world knows Whistler but do they know what the locals know? Probably not. That's why you should join us on our 8-day Sea to Sky mountain bike trip July 23-30. Expect to ride trails beyond the Whistler Bike Park, from the Sunshine Coast to Squamish, Pemberton and Whistler Valley trails and more. Let's go!
Here's a video of a trail that we'll ride, Khyber's Pass off of Whistler Mountain.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Drivers seat with Evan Schwartz & Stephen Matthews in Italy last week

Big Mountain guide Stephen Matthews speaks about this trail: "Calizzano, Italy has one of the coolest machine built trails outside of the Whistler Bike Park. This trail is not A-Line, but it also blows anything at Silverstar, Sun Peaks, Kicking Horse, Panorama etc. out of the water. It follows a super simple concept; build it to be ridden fast, and the rest is up to your imagination!"

Want to hit Calizzano soon? Get in touch with us and we'll make it happen. Otherwise hang tight and we'll have dates posted soon.

Ride this trail on our New Zealand trip

Maybe not quite this fast though! This is a fine trail in dreamy Wellington New Zealand. For our 2012 dates and details HERE.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Big Mountain working with Anthill Films

We're excited to announce that Big Mountain Adventures is working with Anthill Films (formerly The Collective) on their next film dubbed Strength in Numbers to be released in Spring 2012.  Our role is to help the crew with logistics, guiding, planning, locations, contacts and more on their international shoots. Read more on

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Why do we ride?

Ride Alpenrock DH and get Chromag.

Dubbed by some as the ultimate downhill mountain bike trip on the planet, Big Mountain Adventures’ Swiss Alpenrock DH trip is a 9-day romp in the Alp’s highest peaks. From Verbier’s fast lifts and big descents, to barely-known backcountry blowout drops to the Rhone Valley, to fast and flowy Crans Montana and Zermatt’s mind-boggling lift network and ridiculous views and trails, this small-group DH holiday delivers on all fronts.
This year Big Mountain has teamed up with Whistler-based Chromag to offer all participants a Lynx DTsaddle and Fubar OSX bars. That’s right, you’ll bomb the Alps on Chromag, the quiet leader in innovative bike components for mountain bikers worldwide.
At the helm of Alpenrock in 2011 is Whistler-based guide Stephen Matthews who will be joined by global mountain bike explorer Seb Kemp. “Mountain biking is all about journey, adventure and exploration.” says Kemp, “Big Mountain has always been at the forefront of sharing the world with mountain bikers. To be given the opportunity to share these experiences with others is a privilege that I don't take lightly. What excites me is the golden moments on and off the trail: ripping down unfamiliar singletrack, stopping to take in the view and experiencing the details of other peoples lives and culture.”

Join Matthews and Kemp on Alpenrock 2011: August 12-20 and August 20-28.
Land cost is $2695.00 USD.
Joining in Geneva, Switzerland.
For more info on Alpenrock DH, CLICK HERE.

Arrivederci Italia: that's a wrap.

I love the people that you meet through mountain biking. May I introduce Louise Paulin. Have you met her or heard of her? It's possible, it's a small world. Born in the south of Sweden, lived in Chamonix for years and now lives full-time in the mountains above Finale with her daughter and husband. She's super cool and chill and rrrrr-rips on a bike.

I like this photo. It's not perfect, but then what is? A portrait of 'ol uncle Roost. Have you seen him lately?
You can't tell in the photo but it just stopped raining. Still, it's the beach and those are big bikes and that's a palm tree on the left and that there on the right is the Mediterranean. It cleared up and the sun did come out minutes after this was taken. I'm pretty sure that these bikes where stoked to feel sand under their tires and just be chillin' on the beach after a week of blissfull punishment.

After ride beers, you know the ones. They really do taste better. Scientific studies have shown that the taste of beer is enhanced post-ride because of a very special chemical is released after you get off your bike and sit down and take that first sip. OK, that's bullshit. This was simply a particularly good post-ride beers sessions. I think Stephen Matthews was recalling a ripping section of trails in this photo.
The last ride of our trip ended at an old church overlooking this sweet cove that was truly idyllic. After a swim it was time to pack up the bikes for the flights home tomorrow. Thanks to all who made this an amazing downhill mountain bike holiday. Want to join Big Mountain in Italy this fall or next year? Get in touch.