Most mountain bikers are aware of the riding scene in Rossland, British Columbia thanks to the Seven Summits trail (an IMBA Epic). Nelson has a reputation for big lines and big air. However, located right between the two, in the heart of the Kootenays, is Castlegar which has mostly been overlooked until now. Their tourist information office used to receive a few hundred requests for trail information every year. Those requests now number in the thousands.

The Castlegar Mountain Bike Society recently formed and joined the Castlegar Friends of Parks and Trails who were already set up as a charitable organization. Collaboration like this pools a community’s resources and prevents administrative redundancy. It allows an older organization to acquire new blood and the newcomers benefit from previous experience.

The mountain bike trails in Castlegar exist on the more advanced end of the spectrum, with some huge wooden technical trail features. We have to say that the more recent structures these guys have built are among the best we’ve seen in the country, with decking over 3 inches thick, enormous stringers and some very clever designs that increase safety. Unfortunately, new downhill riders have very little choice for trails.

We worked with some of the core builders to begin designing and building a new, LEGAL downhill trail near the Merry Creek trail system right on the edge of town. The goal was to provide a gravity experience for newer riders that advanced riders would still enjoy. Linked berms, optional drops, hidden jumps and tonnes of rock work were all included in the build.

Great riding is not the only thing awaiting you if you travel to Castlegar. The restaurants are incredible with Asian, Indian, Mexican and a smokehouse on the menu. The Lion’s Head Pub supports and promotes the bike club and they make a smoked brisket that melts in your mouth. We experienced some of the best service we’ve ever seen at the Mexican restaurant called Mazatlan where our waitress made a special grocery run just to get fresh mint for our mojitos.

Thank you Vince for organizing a very successful trail building school. Lawrence, you’ve done wonderful job of mentoring this fledgeling club. Finally, to the builders we rode with, good work and keep striving to put Castlegar on the mountain biking map.