north Shore

Epic Mountain Biking In British Columbia

Words: Werner Jessner 
Photography: Sterling Lorence

IT’S WET, SLIPPERY AND THERE ARE CHICKEN LADDERS EVERYWHERE. BUT ANY HONEST MOUNTAIN BIKER SHOULD MAKE THEIR WAY TO BRITISH COLUMBIA AT LEAST ONCE IN THEIR LIFE. 

Columbia británica

 The network of trails on the North Shore now covers 298 different tracks and around 156 miles. Not all of them are typical North Shore, with chicken-ladder-type bridges in the forest. There are also totally normal trails, which any technically nimble biker can negotiate.

More difficult are the speed features with jumps that lead dangerously close to the fir trees typical of the region. Helmets are therefore a great idea. 

Freeriding

Typical weather on the Shore: The atmosphere in the forest is unique, and so is the light. Bit it smells putrid. The fir trees distract from that - mostly. 

North Shore

Locals first made the woods negotiable, for the elite, at least, in the late 1990s with chicken ladders—bridges they built over obstacles themselves. This riding style would go on to affect the whole sport and produce stars and movies. 

“Why would you want a fat, low bridge when you can build a high, skinny one?”
Local Dan Sedlacek in the cult movie Kranked 2
North Shore

Bikers, once outlaws, are now of economic interest. And the hikers have survived too. 

Rutas en bicicleta por los Estados Unidos

The North Shore is not a bike park. Anyone looking for quick, banked turns and long jumps would be better served in nearby Whistler. There are no elevators on the North Shore and there are roots everywhere.

“Mountain biking in the damp woods on the Shore is what made me want to become a photographer in the first place more than 15 years ago.” 
Sterling Lorence
North Shore

Sterling Lorence, the man we have to thank for these pictures, is from the North Shore and grew up with the scene. He has worked with all the greats, befriending them in the process. 

Downhill en EE.UU.

The local bike shops act as information hubs. They have trail maps and can tell you which of the trails—which go by good old names like Pipeline, Old Buck and Bridal Path—are currently in good condition. 

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