Characters 6: The Spell of the Yukon

Oct 18, 2013
by Riley Mcintosh  
 
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Riley McIntosh
Characters #6
The Spell
of the
Yukon
Words Riley McIntosh
Photos Margus Riga

I wanted the gold, and I sought it,
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy — I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it —
Came out with a fortune last fall, —
Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn't all.
No! There’s the land. (Have you seen it?)
It’s the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made it;
Some say it’s a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there’s some as would trade it
For no land on earth — and I'm one.

-Robert Service, 1907


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bigquotesThe goal of the Characters series is to meet amazing people, have adventures, and explore what mountain biking means. This trip was a model for our beliefs. We encountered everything we could've wanted: escapades, camaraderie, and discovery. Our trip was segmented into four different conduits: Whitehorse with Boreale Biking, Carcross, Dawson City, and north on the Dempster Highway. Each stage of the trip offered distinctive personas, but the primary summary was this: The Yukon is a place every mountain biker needs to visit. I highly encourage you to take the trek north to visit a part of Canada that almost feels like another nation entirely. A territory of the longest, freshest trails imaginable. A place where people have no attitude, are open to you, are happy to be themselves. Where history is not just in the past, you can look back with your own eyes. The Yukon, the domicile of 'El Dorado,' that lost city paved with streets of gold, where gold nuggets almost jump into your pocket themselves. The Klondike Gold Rush represents one of the most bizarre mass excursions of human hope and endurance ever seen. Us mountain bikers have the unique opportunity to retrace those optimistic stampeder's footsteps, to ride the trails they carved out of the raw land, but on knobby tires. I hope the photos and words from our quest entice you to explore the Yukon. - Riley McIntosh



The mix of plains land and distant mountains was very other country feeling. This spot reminded me of Argentina.
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Sitting atop the permafrost and weathering temperatures that can vary as much as 142 degrees the Dempster Highway s road surface is entirely gravel 20 feet thick in places. There was no other way to build the road except load after load after load of gravel.
"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir

These boys looked the Gold Rush part. And you know what They own claims and everything.
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Phillips Leblond s house. This is some artwork in his front yard. Can you see James and Kenny sitting inside it It s huge. Phillips is an important figure in the Whitehorse bike scene and is known for unique and wonderful additions to bicycles......his metal fabrication skills are quite special.
  Phillip Leblond's house. This is some artwork in his front yard. Can you see James and Kenny sitting inside it? It's huge. Phillips is an important figure in the Whitehorse bike scene and is known for unique and wonderful additions to bicycles - his metal fabrication skills are quite special.

We couldn t believe how easy it was to get to Whitehorse just hop on a plane and fly 2 hours. And honestly it was the best riding any of us had done all year. Boreale gave us a grand time and opened their arms to us. I can t wait to go back. Their three day Weekender is the most popular package they off and the cost is 695CAD for 3 nights accommodation meals and 3 days of local guiding. Basically you get off the plane and they take care of everything. All you have to do is practice falling asleep under the midnight sun in the summer months.
  We couldn't believe how easy it was to get to Whitehorse, just hop on a plane and fly two hours. And honestly it was the best riding any of us had done all year. Boreale gave us a grand time and opened their arms to us. I can't wait to go back. Their three day 'Weekender' is the most popular package they offer and costs $695CAD for three nights accommodation, meals, and three days of local guiding. Basically you get off the plane and they take care of everything. All you have to do is practice falling asleep under the midnight sun, in the summer months.

The Yukon River trail. One of the coolest.
  The Yukon River trail. One of the coolest.

Another view of the Yukon River trail. This was just after we came out of a rippin descent through the Aspen trees. Suddenly the trail begins traversing the slope and extends for 14 km. The majority of the trail is directly above the river itself. At this point we had been on the trail for hours and everyone was tired and almost out of water. Little did we know Boreale s guides has left the Van parked right beside a swimming hole with beer chilling in wait......
  Another view of the Yukon River trail. This was just after we came out of a rippin' descent through the aspen trees. At this point we had been on the trail for hours and everyone was tired and almost out of water. Little did we know Boreale's guides had left the van parked right beside a swimming hole with beer chilling in wait.

On the Yukon River Trail if you decide to take a little airtime like James Doerfling is doing here it feels pretty sketchy. Why Because there is constantly big exposure on your left the entire way along the trail..........
  On the Yukon River trail, if you decide to take a little airtime like James Doerfling is doing here, it feels pretty sketchy. Why? Because you're exposed on the left, the entire way along the trail.

After dropping in from the top of Gray Mountain we rode down full on alpine gnarl. It wasn t the craziest trail but definitely steep and deep. As the ride carried on the trails got smoother and faster until we finally popped out above the river and just started machin. The mountains in the Yukon have a very laid back quality literally They start high but it takes them a very long time to get low......like a big giant resting on his elbow. It takes forever to ride down them This is a good thing in case you were wondering . Finishing the ride by meandering along this major body of moving liquid was a glorious thing.
  After dropping in from the top of Gray Mountain, we rode down full on alpine gnarl. It wasn't the craziest trail but definitely steep and deep. As the ride carried on, the trails got smoother and faster until we finally popped out above the river and just started 'machin.' The mountains in the Yukon have a very laid back quality, literally: They start high but it takes them a very long time to get low - like a big giant resting on his elbow. It takes forever to ride down them (this is a good thing in case you were wondering). Finishing the ride by meandering along this major body of moving liquid was a glorious thing.

By the time this picture was taken we d been riding for more than 6 hours. After spending some time on top of Gray Mountain we descended a series of trails all the way to the Yukon River. In the old days this spot featured a very serious set of rapids that caused the frenzied fellas of the Gold Rush a lot of problems. Nowadays due to a dam the river is much smoother here.
  By the time this picture was taken we'd been riding for more than six hours. After spending some time on top of Gray Mountain, we descended a series of trails all the way to the Yukon River. In the old days this spot featured a very serious set of rapids that caused the frenzied fellas of the Gold Rush a lot of problems. Nowadays due to a dam the river is much smoother here.

From here to beer. Marsha and Syvain at Boreale have just purchased a new property right between Carcross and Whitehorse closer to the mountains. They are taking everything awesome about their current setup Yurtville the yurts atmosphere and comfort and incorporating it into the new permanent lodge. The Bor ale Ranch will be open June 1 2014 and will have 4 rooms with private baths plus all of the yurts and prospector tents for overnight use. They have their popular all-inclusve trips plus self guided options for those that want to go at their own pace. Basically this is going to be a hub for Yukon mountain biking as it is a space made for riders by riders. With bonfires. Every night.
  From here, to beer. Marsha and Sylvain at Boreale have just purchased a new property right between Carcross and Whitehorse, closer to the mountains. They are taking everything awesome about their current setup ''Yurtville'' - the yurts, atmosphere, and comfort - and incorporating it into the new permanent lodge. The Boreale Ranch will be open June 1, 2014 and will have four rooms with private baths, plus all of the yurts and prospector tents for overnight use. They have their popular all-inclusive trips, plus self-guided options for those that want to go at their own pace. Basically this is going to be a hub for Yukon mountain biking as it is a space made for riders by riders. With bonfires. Every night.

The Yukon has a strong connection and long history with trail usage from First Nation use to gold rush stampeders to current neighbourhood dog walks. While the Yukon has had mountain bikers riding trails as long as the sport has been happening as other places have had the mainly mountain bike specific trails started about 10 years ago and are the reason there is such a strong mountain bike community. Both Whitehorse and Carcross have had organized paid trail crews working for many years now.
  The Yukon has a strong connection and long history with trail usage, from First Nation use, to gold rush stampeders, to current neighbourhood dog walks. While the Yukon has had mountain bikers riding trails as long as the sport has been happening, mountain bike specific trails started about 10 years ago and are the reason there is such a strong riding community. Both Whitehorse and Carcross have had organized, paid trail crews working for many years now.

I have noticed a change in Kenny. Perhaps the Spell of the Yukon has been seeping into his pores as we ride eloquent singletrack with views to die for. There seems to have been a perceptible shift in his personality. He seems calmer collected. Perhaps the hustle and bustle of his hometown of Whistler has become a distant memory. As we traverse along a trail that is too wonderful for words the Yukon River meandering peacefully beneath us the evening light shines upon us in a blissful glow. But it is not easy to forget the unyielding hydraulic force of that water below. Our guide Sylvain paints us a picture of the late 1890 s when fevered gold seekers paddled furiously up this river in canoes rafts and on logs Whatever it took to bring them closer to the gold fields. And he informs us of the misfortunes of many the drownings roiling rapids sucking entire parties under the whitewater snapping boats in half like matchsticks. As Sylvan tells us these ghastly tales I witness the calmness in Kenny s eyes fade. I see a smoldering heat rise in them at the mention of chaos and wreckage. He pushes off his pedal strokes fervent despite the constricted trail never mind the exposure to the water far below. He is off like a rocket and once again his riding has become hostile. James and I do our best to keep up. The Trembling Aspens and wandering water course frame the moment as we hurtle downhill.
  I have noticed a change in Kenny. Perhaps the Spell of the Yukon had seeped into his pores as we rode eloquent singletrack. There seems to have been a perceptible shift in his personality. He seems calmer, collected. Perhaps the hustle and bustle of his hometown of Whistler has become a distant memory. As we traversed along a trail too wonderful for words, the Yukon River meandered peacefully beneath us, and the evening light shone upon us in a blissful glow. But it is not easy to forget the unyielding hydraulic force of that water below. Our guide, Sylvain, paints us a picture of the late 1890's, when fevered gold seekers paddled furiously up this river in canoes, rafts, and on logs. Whatever it took to bring them closer to the gold fields. And he informs us of the misfortunes of many, the drownings, roiling rapids sucking entire parties under, the whitewater snapping boats in half like matchsticks. As Sylvan tells us these ghastly tales, I witness the calmness in Kenny's eyes fade. I see a smouldering heat rise in them at the mention of chaos and wreckage. He pushes off, his pedal strokes fervent despite the constricted trail, never mind the exposure to the water far below. He is off like a rocket, and once again his riding became hostile. James and I did our best to keep up. The trembling aspens and wandering water course framed the moment as we hurtled downhill.

Ok let s talk about the food. Marsha s mother is a chef. Delicious food obviously came naturally to her. A born and bred Yukoner Marsha s meals have a world wide flare with a decidedly Northern feel. Elk Burritos anyone Margus took the award for eating the most of these northern delicacies with Riley hots on his heels.
  Ok, let's talk about the food. Marsha's mother is a chef. Delicious food obviously came naturally to her. A born and bred Yukoner, Marsha's meals have a world wide flare, with a decidedly Northern feel. Elk burritos anyone? Margus took the award for eating the most of these northern delicacies, with Riley hot on his heels.

Boreale Biking has got to be the friendliest mountain bike guiding operation in Canada. They are Situated on a rural property just outside of Whitehorse. With direct 2 hour flights from YVR YYC and YEG it s easy to fly in. Boreale picks you up at the airport and the trip begins.....incredible trails food and characters await.
  Boreale Biking has got to be the friendliest mountain bike guiding operation in Canada. They are situated on a rural property just outside of Whitehorse. With direct two hour flights from YVR, YYC, and YEG, it's easy to fly in. Boreale picks you up at the airport and the trip begins. Incredible trails, food, and characters await.

Boreale Biking in Whitehorse was started because of a love for travelling mountain biking and the Yukon. Marsha and Sylvain the founders wanted to work for themselves and to create a unique experience for other mountain bikers. They wanted to make something that didn t exist in the Yukon a space with all the amenities of a comfortable hotel coupled with all the trappings mountain bikers need. Great food great beds and local knowledge on the trails. Yurts Aurora Borealis and amazing trails to hit come morning......
  Boreale Biking was started because of a love for travelling, mountain biking, and the Yukon. Marsha and Sylvain, the founders, wanted to work for themselves and to create a unique experience for other mountain bikers. They wanted to make something that didn't exist in the Yukon: a space with all the amenities of a comfortable hotel, coupled with all the trappings mountain bikers need. Great food, great beds, and local knowledge on the trails. Yurts, the Aurora Borealis, and amazing trails to hit come morning.

The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth s atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun s atmosphere. Variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The most common auroral color a pale yellowish-green is produced by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth. Rare all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen at heights of up to 200 miles. Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora.
  The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere. Variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The most common auroral colour, a pale yellowish-green, is produced by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth. Rare, all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen, at heights of up to 200 miles. Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora.

1 04 AM September 1st 2013. Ogilvie Mountains Canada. Intergalatic Planetary......
  1:04 AM, September 1st, 2013. Ogilvie Mountains, Canada. Intergalactic planetary.

At Boreale Biking the guests are responsible for blending up the morning smoothies
  At Boreale Biking, the guests are responsible for blending up the morning smoothies!

Riley puts the hurt on James and Kenny. Keep in mind Riley wrote this caption in 3rd person. Vain prick.
  Riley puts the hurt on James and Kenny. Keep in mind Riley wrote this caption, in 3rd person. Vain prick.

This is Sam. He is 24 years old and a guide at Boreale. I d say Sam is the friendliest dude I ve met all year. And a shred-dog to boot.
  This is Sam. He is 24-years-old and a guide at Boreale. I'd say Sam is the friendliest dude I've met all year. And a shred-dog to boot.

On top of Gray Mountain Whitehorse far far below.
  On top of Gray Mountain. Whitehorse far, far below.

It s cool thinking about all the different rock slabs I ve ridden. In Nelson the granite is super grippy in North Van it always seems slimy and slippery and scary. In the Cowichan Valley it s thick with moss and also lichen and in Squamish it is almost like sandpaper. Here in Whitehorse the rock was different sharp and gritty and wanting to tear your tires up. I guess James noticed that and decided to just jump the whole damn thing.
  It's cool thinking about all the different rock slabs I've ridden. In Nelson the granite is super grippy, in North Van it always seems slimy and slippery and scary. In the Cowichan Valley it's thick with moss and also lichen, and in Squamish it is almost like sandpaper. Here in Whitehorse the rock was different, sharp and gritty and wanting to tear your tires up. I guess James noticed that and decided to just jump the whole damn thing.

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  Doerfling isn't just a big mountain chute guy. He can ride it all.

James Doerfling riding down some shit that is way crazier than it looks. The control and confidence of this guy is just f*cking marvelous. Watching the ease with which he handles lines like this made me realize why he is in the uppermost tier of big mountain riders on Planet Earth.
  James Doerfling riding down some shit that is way crazier than it looks. The control and confidence of this guy is just f*cking marvellous. Watching the ease with which he handles lines like this made me realize why he is in the uppermost tier of big mountain riders on Planet Earth.

Carcross which is 45 minutes from Whitehorse was traditionally a seasonal hunting location used by the Carcross Tagish people for many generations prior to the discovery of gold in 1896.
  Carcross, which is 45 minutes from Whitehorse, was traditionally a seasonal hunting location used by the Carcross/Tagish people for many generations prior to the discovery of gold in 1896.

Carcross is situated at the northern end of Lake Bennett which was along the Yukon River-based portion of the route that some 30 000 stampeders followed to the Klondike gold fields Dawson City in 1897 98. The overland portion of the route was the Chilkoot Trail between Skagway Alaska and Lake Bennett which was a traditional trading trail controlled by the coastal Tlingit First Nation. The Gold Rush changed everything for the Carcross Tagish First Nations people - many of them worked as packers and guides on the trail each Stampeder was required to have a literal ton of provisions before being allowed across the Canadian border and their seasonal hunting spot Carcross became an important supply point and town site.
  Carcross is situated at the northern end of Lake Bennett, along the Yukon River-based portion of the route that some 30,000 stampeders followed to the Klondike gold fields (Dawson City) in 1897/98. The overland portion of the route was the Chilkoot Trail between Skagway, Alaska and Lake Bennett, which was a traditional trading trail controlled by the coastal Tlingit First Nation. The Gold Rush changed everything for the Carcross/Tagish First Nations people - many of them worked as packers and guides on the trail (each stampeder was required to have a literal ton of provisions before being allowed across the Canadian border) and their seasonal hunting spot (Carcross) became an important supply point and town site.

This is the man in Carcross. The 2nd half of the Derek Crowe Jane Koepke allegiance. Derek is a photographer Greenland ice kiting record holder Yukon mountain bike pioneer and father of two. Derek and Jane are fully immersed in mountain biking - riding building and coaching. In 2006 Jane left her cushy government job to work for herself. She had years of experience teaching and leading outdoor youth-oriented programs. Derek was pursuing his photography dream. You can t find a more beautiful spot than Carcross. It all kind of made sense. They both felt strongly that the success of their mountain bike vision hinged on their ability to gain the trust of the First Nation and Carcross community - and they couldn t do that if they were perceived as outsiders . It s almost impossible to get property in Carcross. They ended up with a condemned house on a downtown lot built a 12x16 shed so they had somewhere to sleep and moved there in 2006.
  This is the man in Carcross. The second half of the Derek Crowe/Jane Koepke allegiance. Derek is a photographer, Greenland ice kiting record holder, Yukon mountain bike pioneer, and father of two. Derek and Jane are fully immersed in mountain biking - riding, building, and coaching. In 2006 Jane left her cushy government job to work for herself. She had years of experience teaching and leading outdoor youth-oriented programs. Derek was pursuing his photography dream. You can't find a more beautiful spot than Carcross. It all kind of made sense. They both felt strongly that the success of their mountain bike vision hinged on their ability to gain the trust of the First Nation and Carcross community - and they couldn't do that if they were perceived as "outsiders." It's almost impossible to get property in Carcross. They ended up with a condemned house on a downtown lot, built a 12x16 "shed" so they had somewhere to sleep, and moved there in 2006.

The sign of a mountain bike freak the leg of Jonah Clark. Jonah is the owner of Icycle Sport Bike Shop in Whitehorse. Originally from Manitoba he migrated North a decade ago and has been a strong advocate of cycling in the Yukon. His shop is one of the best ever the building also houses a Coffee Roastery and Cafe. It s the kind of place you go to and just want to stay awhile........
  The sign of a mountain bike freak: the leg of Jonah Clark. Jonah is the owner of Icycle Sport Bike Shop in Whitehorse. Originally from Manitoba, he migrated North a decade ago and has been a strong advocate of cycling in the Yukon. His shop is one of the best ever, the building also houses a coffee roastery and cafe. It's the kind of place you go to, and just want to stay awhile.

Carcross resident Wayne Roberts came across an abandoned trail underneath the historic Mountain Hero mining tramway in the late 1990s. He cleared out the trail into the subalpine ran hiking tours on it and welcomed writer Mitch Scott and photographer John Gibson on assignment with BIKE and some mountain biking locals on the first mountain biking descent in September 2000. Wayne is originally from BC. Trails actually drew him to Carcross as he saw an opportunity with the cruise ship tourists from Skagway and scenic historic trails in Carcross. In this photo we are laboring up the road about 70 of the way up Montana Mountain.
  Carcross resident Wayne Roberts came across an abandoned trail underneath the historic Mountain Hero mining tramway in the late 1990's. He cleared out the trail into the subalpine, ran hiking tours on it, and welcomed writer Mitch Scott and photographer John Gibson (on assignment with BIKE) and some locals on the first mountain bike descent in September 2000. Wayne is originally from BC. Trails actually drew him to Carcross as he saw an opportunity with the cruise ship tourists from Skagway and scenic, historic trails in Carcross. In this photo we are labouring up the road, about 70% of the way up Montana Mountain.

The credo of the Singletrack to Success project was building a destination one trail at a time . Its goals were to facilitate the development of adventure recreation and tourism in Carcross get First Nation youth working on their ancestral lands and put a modern spin on the cultural and historical connections between the Carcross Tagish people and trails. It was not insignificant that there was that historical tie to deriving economic benefit from trails. There was definitely resistance and opposition to the idea of trail development in the early years but the central tenets of youth employment and cultural relevance prevailed. Over time as more and more youth benefited from the Project that resistance gave way to acceptance and even pride. The project was presented as a model of Singletrack for Social Change at last year s IMBA World Summit. Jane Koepke titled her talk Building a Nation One Trail at a Time to signify the broader benefits of the Project.
  The credo of the Singletrack to Success project was "building a destination, one trail at a time." Its goals were to facilitate the development of adventure recreation and tourism in Carcross, get First Nation youth working on their ancestral lands, and put a modern spin on the cultural and historical connections between the Carcross/Tagish people and trails. It was not insignificant that there was that historical tie to deriving economic benefit from trails. There was definitely resistance and opposition to the idea of trail development in the early years, but the central tenets of youth employment and cultural relevance prevailed. Over time, as more and more youth benefited from the project, that resistance gave way to acceptance and even pride. The project was presented as a model of "Singletrack for Social Change" at last year's IMBA World Summit. Jane Koepke titled her talk, "Building a Nation, One Trail at a Time" to signify the broader benefits of the project.

Local youth are the bedrock of the Project. About 35 CTFN youth have worked with the Project since 2006. It s a rigorous job with difficult working conditions. Each year more and more youth show up prepared to meet that challenge. Many of them have taken that work ethic and succeeded in other aspects of their life whether it be school other jobs or what have you. It has exposed them to all sorts of people - mountain bike tourists Olympians media even Whitehorse residents - that they never would have met otherwise. Trail crew leadership revolves from year to year Derek for 3 years Wayne for 2 etc. . 2012 was a watershed year in that regard. CTFN citizen Shane Wally who started with the project at age 16 became the Crew Leader. He led a crew of 6 youth on probably the most difficult build to date. He rose to the occasion so decisively that he was promptly snatched up by a local tourism operator for work this past summer
  Local youth are the bedrock of Singletrack to Success. About 35 CTFN youth have worked with the project since 2006. It's a rigorous job with difficult working conditions. Each year more and more youth show up prepared to meet that challenge. Many of them have taken that work ethic and succeeded in other aspects of their life, whether it be school, jobs, or volunteer work. It has exposed them to all sorts of people - mountain bike tourists, Olympians, media, even Whitehorse residents - that they never would have met otherwise. Trail crew leadership revolves from year to year (Derek for three years, Wayne for two, etc.). 2012 was a watershed year in that regard. CTFN citizen Shane Wally, who started with the project at age 16, became the Crew Leader. He led a crew of six youth on probably the most difficult build to date. He rose to the occasion so decisively that he was promptly snatched up by a local tourism operator for work this past summer!

Carcross Tagish people figured prominently in the story of the Klondike Gold Rush. Two members of the official discovery party were Carcross Tagish citizens Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie their non-First Nation brother-in-law George Carmack was the other . There is an important Carcross Tagish story about Skookum Jim rescuing a frog considered by some Yukon First Nations as shamans or healers . A frog later appeared to him in a dream and told him he would find gold downriver. Here we are riding McDonald Creek. Even though we went by a few swamps we didn t see any Frogs. No gold for us I suppose.
  Carcross/Tagish people figured prominently in the story of the Klondike Gold Rush. Two members of the official "discovery party" were Carcross/Tagish citizens Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie (their non-First Nation brother-in-law George Carmack was the other). There is an important Carcross/Tagish story about Skookum Jim rescuing a frog (considered by some Yukon First Nations as shamans or healers). A frog later appeared to him in a dream and told him he would find gold downriver. Here we are riding McDonald Creek. Even though we went by a few swamps, we didn't see any frogs. No gold for us I suppose.

Another individual critical to the relationship is Justin Ferbey - a Carcross Tagish member Jane Koepke grew up with in Whitehorse and a VERY accomplished and astute fellow. Unfortunately we didn t get to meet. Justin championed the project for years within the First Nation and now is the CEO of the Carcross Tagish Management Corporation which leases the mountain and manages the trails . The other new development is that CTMC is now leveraging the increased destination appeal of Carcross due to Montana Mountain into real estate development. A waterfront subdivision is being planned for Lake Bennett on Settlement Land. Many of the prospective buyers will be Yukon and or Alaska residents who want residential property close to world-class riding hiking and kiting. It s not hard to imagine that Carcross will be to Whitehorse what Whistler is to Vancouver over time on a much much smaller scale of course That subdivision will put CTFN citizens to work building cabins houses generate tax revenue for the First Nation and increase the local population to better support year-round local business operation. And so the circle of destination development continues. The Project is serving as a model to other First Nations in the Yukon BC and beyond. Carcross Tagish Management Corporation the lease holder for mountain is completing a management plan that will set the course for how the mountain can continue to be developed and maintained in a manner that maximizes community benefits. Ongoing trail maintenance and new additions and refinements to the network are envisioned. A few alpine huts are in the early planning stages. Gladed backcountry skiing areas could follow.
  Another individual critical to the relationship is Justin Ferbey - a Carcross/Tagish member Jane Koepke grew up with in Whitehorse and a VERY accomplished and astute fellow. Unfortunately, we didn't get to meet. Justin championed the project for years within the First Nation, and now is the CEO of the Carcross/Tagish Management Corporation (which leases the mountain and manages the trails). The other new development is that CTMC is now leveraging the increased destination appeal of Carcross due to Montana Mountain into real estate development. A waterfront subdivision is being planned for Lake Bennett on settlement land. Many of the prospective buyers will be Yukon and/or Alaska residents who want residential property close to world-class riding, hiking, and kiting. It's not hard to imagine that Carcross will be to Whitehorse what Whistler is to Vancouver over time, on a much, much smaller scale of course! That subdivision will put CTFN citizens to work building cabins/houses, generate tax revenue for the First Nation, and increase the local population to better support year-round local business operation. And so the circle of destination development continues. The project is serving as a model to other First Nations in the Yukon, BC, and beyond. Carcross/Tagish Management Corporation (the lease holder for the mountain) is completing a management plan that will set the course for how the mountain can continue to be developed and maintained in a manner that maximizes community benefits. Ongoing trail maintenance and new additions and refinements to the network are envisioned. A few alpine huts are in the early planning stages. Gladed backcountry skiing areas could follow.

I am following James Doerfling and there is dirt everywhere. The trail bed is rich and dark. There is a sheet of soil rooster-tailing towards me in a brown wave obscuring my vision and doing it s best to get up my nose. We are high above the Northern gold rush pit stop of Carcross Yukon. The surface we ride upon looks like farm land that has been roto-tilled. It is as if the trails have had helicopters dump bucket after bucket of organic matter upon them. There are corner bombs going off left and right. We pick up speed and we aim shoot and hit our target sailing over a span of roots. The trail goes to the right. Whammo A corner bomb. Dirt is suddenly in my teeth in my eyes loose earth shoots up underneath my helmet. There is even dirt down my ass crack. How does that even happen James what have you done to me
  I am following James Doerfling and there is dirt everywhere. The trail bed is rich and dark. There is a sheet of soil rooster tailing towards me in a brown wave, obscuring my vision and doing its best to get up my nose. We are high above the northern gold rush pit stop of Carcross, Yukon. The surface we ride upon looks like farm land that has been roto-tilled. It is as if the trails have had helicopters dump bucket after bucket of organic matter upon them. There are corner bombs going off left and right. We pick up speed and we aim, shoot, and hit our target, sailing over a span of roots. The trail goes to the right. Whammo! A corner bomb. Dirt is suddenly in my teeth, in my eyes, loose earth shoots up underneath my helmet. There is even dirt down my ass crack. How does that even happen? James, what have you done to me?!?

Kenny Smith was riding perhaps the nicest bike the world has yet known Specialized Carbon Enduro 2014 Pike full XX1 carbon rims Reverb Sram bits. Holy crapoly that is a nice bike Kenny ride safe ok Don t be too hard on it............yeah right.
  Kenny Smith was riding perhaps the nicest bike the world has yet known: Specialized Carbon Enduro, 2014 Pike, full XX1, carbon rims, Reverb, Sram bits. Holy crapoly that is a nice bike Kenny, ride safe ok? Don't be too hard on it... yeah right.

Goat trail Carcross. This one has some unique rocks lines including this narrow elevated strip. Not super gnarly but different and fun.
  Goat trail, Carcross. This one has some unique rocks lines, including this narrow elevated strip. Not super gnarly but different and fun.

Wolverine trail Carcross. Riley was relentlessly made fun of for his XC look kinda short shorts clippy shoes no knee pads 29er wheels. Riley didn t have much retort so just rode on and was quick to hide the tears that rolled down his cheeks.
  Wolverine trail, Carcross. Riley was relentlessly made fun of for his 'XC' look: kinda short shorts, clippy shoes, no knee pads, 29er wheels. Riley couldn't retort so just rode on, and was quick to hide the tears that rolled down his cheeks.

Kenny Smith has been rolling the dice all day. He doesn t know these trails yet he refuses to be careful. He wants to ride and fast. He is a blur of flashy yellow Fox jersey ahead of us blasting between Trembling Aspen trees that vibrate in the wind and bestow an audible rustle to our passage. He is our leader and when he jumps we jump. When his rear wheel slashes aggressively at a bank we emulate. He rides as if he wants to kill the trail a little. Just hurt it a bit bend the trail to his will and reign supreme. His riding seems to say Crush your enemies see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women.
  Kenny Smith has been rolling the dice all day. He doesn't know these trails, yet he refuses to be careful. He wants to ride, and fast. He is a blur of flashy yellow Fox jersey ahead of us, blasting between trembling aspen trees that vibrate in the wind and bestow an audible rustle to our passage. He is our leader and when he jumps, we jump. When his rear wheel slashes aggressively at a bank, we emulate. He rides as if he wants to kill the trail a little. Just hurt it a bit, bend the trail to his will and reign supreme. His riding seems to say, 'Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.'

James on his Endorphin. James has been with Knolly for a few years now and was telling us about the new Warden a 27.5 wheeled all mountain beast coming out soon.......sounds like that ll be the bike for him besides his Podium DH of course.
  James on his Endorphin. James has been with Knolly for a few years now, and was telling us about the new 'Warden,' a 27.5 wheeled all mountain beast coming out soon... sounds like that'll be the bike for him, besides his Podium DH of course.

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  Jane Koepke. Described by many as the most influencial mountain biker in the Yukon. Her steadfast devotion to her homeland has already yielded huge results.

Jane Koepke wrote a report called Exploring the Market Potential for Yukon Mountain Biking in 2004. The Carcross Tagish First Nation was looking at a number of different tourism economic development ideas including a resort. They heard about the work Jane was doing and concluded that mountain biker demographics lined up nicely with their target markets. They approached Jane with the vision to create a mountain bike destination. Jane knew the Carcross area well and immediately responded that the vision was great but the trails simply weren t there to support it Next thing she knew she was applying for funding to scope the feasibility of developing a trail network in the Carcross area. The feasibility work was followed up with the first official year of trail construction in 2006.
  Jane Koepke wrote a report called "Exploring the Market Potential for Yukon Mountain Biking" in 2004. The Carcross/Tagish First Nation was looking at a number of different tourism/economic development ideas, including a resort. They heard about the work Jane was doing and concluded that mountain biker demographics lined up nicely with their target markets. They approached Jane with the vision to create a mountain bike destination. Jane knew the Carcross area well and immediately responded that the vision was great but the trails simply weren't there to support it! Next thing she knew she was applying for funding to scope the feasibility of developing a trail network in the Carcross area. The feasibility work was followed up with the first official year of trail construction in 2006.

It was a happy coincidence that Montana Mountain was Carcross Tagish Settlement Land AND the most suitable area for trail development in Carcross. The Yukon is a world leader with respect to settled aboriginal land claims. 11 of 14 Yukon First Nations are self-governing. They are governments in the fullest sense with constitutionally protected Final and Self-Government Agreements that set out their various powers - to enact legislation collect taxes and fully determine their future. They literally OWN most of that mountain and exercise full decision-making authority over it along with many other tracts of land in the Carcross area .
  It was a happy coincidence that Montana Mountain was Carcross/Tagish Settlement Land AND the most suitable area for trail development in Carcross. The Yukon is a world leader with respect to settled aboriginal land claims. 11 of 14 Yukon First Nations are self-governing. They are governments in the fullest sense, with constitutionally protected Final and Self-Government Agreements that set out their various powers - to enact legislation, collect taxes, and fully determine their future. They literally OWN most of that mountain and exercise full decision-making authority over it (along with many other tracts of land in the Carcross area).

The Klondike Vast rolling mountains distance unsullied foreign boreale forest tundra west to Alaska trails throughout remote. Those are some words that spring to mind for me looking at this photo.
  The Klondike: Vast, rolling, mountains, distance, unsullied, foreign, boreale forest, tundra, west to Alaska, trails throughout, remote. Those are some words that spring to mind for me, looking at this photo.

Visitation in Carcross from the adventure-oriented demographic is way way up. Trail visits likely doubled this year over last to about 3500 visits. A relatively small number but nonetheless significant to little old Carcross. This is without a single dime of CTFN s money being spent on marketing at this point.
  Visitation in Carcross from the adventure-oriented demographic is way, way up. Trail visits likely doubled this year over last, to about 3500 visits. A relatively small number but nonetheless significant to little old Carcross. This is without a single dime of CTFN's money being spent on marketing at this point.

5 15 PM August 29th 2013. James Doerfling laps up the evening sun at Derek Crowe s house. We have just finished riding the McDonald Creek trail from high up on Montana Mountain which stands like a stoic statue above Carcross. A Chilkoot beer a few laughs and the warmth of the sun.
  5:15 PM, August 29th, 2013. James Doerfling laps up the evening sun at Derek Crowe's house. We have just finished riding the McDonald Creek trail from high up on Montana Mountain, which stands like a stoic statue above Carcross. A Chilkoot beer, a few laughs, and the warmth of the sun.

The Yukon Howl at ride s end.
  The 'Yukon Howl,' at ride's end.

The McDonald Creek trail is one of many historic trails on Montana Mountain dating from the Windy Arm Stampede which happened about 5 years after those 30 000 stampeders went through Carcross. Silver and gold were discovered on the mountain and an impressive network of wagon roads tramways and alpine camps cropped up. There were over ten mines located throughout the Montana massif and mining only really ceased in the late 1980s. McDonald Creek trail was a historic wagon road that was built to run power from a small run-of-river hydro plant at the base of the creek up to the mines in the alpine in 1910. An elder showed Jane Koepke and a CTFN youth field assistant the general route on a map back in 2005 and indicated that he had used it during his childhood. The trail was located on either side of the swamp but it took a few visits to uncover the 100 year old corduroy road built through the swamp. About 100 meters of bridge material was flown in by helicopter and constructed to bridge the swamp for easy passage on bikes. Wayne s World is a new traverse trail that connects the historic trail back to Carcross so that hikers bikers don t have to use the railway tracks illegal if not dangerous
  The McDonald Creek trail is one of many historic trails on Montana Mountain dating from the Windy Arm Stampede which happened about 5 years after those 30,000 stampeders went through Carcross. Silver and gold were discovered on the mountain and an impressive network of wagon roads, tramways and alpine camps cropped up. There were over ten mines located throughout the Montana massif and mining only really ceased in the late 1980's. McDonald Creek trail was a historic wagon road that was built to run power from a small run-of-river hydro plant at the base of the creek up to the mines in the alpine in 1910. An elder showed Jane Koepke and a CTFN youth field assistant the general route on a map back in 2005 and indicated that he had used it during his childhood. The trail was located on either side of the swamp, but it took a few visits to uncover the 100 year old corduroy road built through the swamp. About 100 meters of bridge material was flown in by helicopter and constructed to bridge the swamp for easy passage on bikes. "Wayne's World" is a new traverse trail that connects the historic trail back to Carcross so that hikers/bikers don't have to use the railway tracks (illegal if not dangerous!).

The modern-day Carcross Tagish First Nation CTFN is a hybrid of inland Yukon-based Tagish people and coastal BC southeast Alaska-based Tlingit people who traveled inland to trade with the interior Yukon Indians. The two groups intermarried and over many many generations essentially became one group with multiple lineages
  The modern-day Carcross/Tagish First Nation (CTFN) is a hybrid of inland (Yukon-based) Tagish people and coastal (BC/southeast Alaska-based) Tlingit people who traveled inland to trade with the interior Yukon Indians. The two groups intermarried and over many, many generations, essentially became one group with multiple lineages

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Through the looking glass. The coolest possible stuff was just inches away but this antique shop in Carcross was closed. Anything you can imagine from the gold rush was on display animal skins trapping equipment tools sleighs hundred year old tins of anything imaginable.......for someone like me who likes history it was a kick in the balls not to be able to have a look inside.
  Through the looking glass. The coolest possible stuff was just inches away, but this antique shop in Carcross was closed. Anything you can imagine from the gold rush was on display: animal skins, trapping equipment, tools, sleighs, hundred year old tins of anything imaginable... for someone like me who likes history, it was a kick in the balls not to be able to have a look inside.

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Lake Bennett. How neat is that
  Lake Bennett. How neat is that?!?

The population of the entire Yukon Territory is less than 35 000 people. Roughly 19 000 of those people live in Whitehorse. There is a lot of elbow room up there.
  The population of the entire Yukon Territory is less than 35,000 people. Roughly 19,000 of those people live in Whitehorse. There is a lot of elbow room up there.

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The boys After a long drive we landed in Dawson City fairly excited. If you ever go there you will feel what we felt which is the sensation of stepping back into a memory. Dirt streets wooden sidewalks buildings changed only by time. Here we are heading out to find the Sourtoe.
  The boys! After a long drive, we landed in Dawson City fairly excited. If you ever go there you will feel what we felt, which is the sensation of stepping back into a memory. Dirt streets, wooden sidewalks, buildings changed only by the elements. Here we are heading out to find the 'Sourtoe.'

If you want in Dawson City you can do a shot of Whiskey with a human toe in it. They call it the Sourtoe shot a play on words because in the Gold Rush days the really hard core dudes were called Sourdoughs a nickname most likely bestowed because they carried little bags of bread yeast around their necks. A couple weeks before we showed up in Dawson some guy took the shot and swallowed the entire toe it made National News. I guess they had a spare toe.
  If you want, in Dawson City, you can do a shot of Whiskey with a human toe in it. They call it the 'Sourtoe' shot, a play on words because in the Gold Rush days the really hardcore dudes were called 'Sourdoughs,' a nickname most likely bestowed because they carried little bags of bread yeast around their necks. A couple weeks before we showed up in Dawson some guy took the shot and swallowed the entire toe, it made national news. I guess they had a spare toe

The Snake Pit in the Westminster Hotel has been in operation since 1898. It opens daily at 9 00am one of the two bars left in the Yukon that open at this time. This Tavern is decorated with original oil paintings and murals depicting local life both past and present in Dawson City. A hand-made birch bark canoe hangs over the bar. The building is original and the materials used in construction are of the gold rush era. Due to permafrost and shifting foundations the floor has a certain lean to it and you are never sure if it is the libation or the building that makes you stagger on the way out the door.
  The Snake Pit in the Westminster Hotel has been in operation since 1898. It opens daily at 9:00am, one of the two bars left in the Yukon that open at this time. This tavern is decorated with original oil paintings and murals depicting local life both past and present in Dawson City. A hand-made birch bark canoe hangs over the bar. The building is original and the materials used in construction are of the gold rush era. Due to permafrost and shifting foundations the floor has a certain lean to it and you are never sure if it is the libation or the building that makes you stagger on the way out the door.

This Blackjack Dealer looked straight out of the 1890 s.
  This blackjack dealer looked straight out of the 1890's.

The Snakepit in Dawson City. Described as the Dirtiest bar in Canada. Fits right in with us mountain bikers.
  The Snakepit in Dawson City. Described as the 'dirtiest bar in Canada.' Fits right in with us mountain bikers.

This dude was from Chicken Alaska. He came to Dawson to See the girls dance. Nough said.
  This dude was from Chicken, Alaska. He came to Dawson to ''see the girls dance.'' 'Nough said.

In Dawson City there is a gambling hall called Diamond Tooth Gertie s. It operates in a historic fashion as close to the style it did in the 1890 s as possible. Three times every night there is a full on show with dancing girls and everything. This chick was the main singer and leader of the show. She was electrically attracted to Kenny and you can see in her eyes she wanted to get on the Hane Train.
  In Dawson City there is a gambling hall called Diamond Tooth Gertie's. It operates in a historic fashion, as close to the style it did in the 1890's as possible. Three times every night there is a full on show with dancing girls and everything. This chick was the main singer and leader of the show. She was electrically attracted to Kenny and you can see in her eyes she wanted to get on the 'Hane Train.'

When we heard there was a full on Can Can show in Dawson City we had no idea it was going to be so well produced. These girls are all students of dance at Canada s National Ballet School and are doing this as a summer job. It wasn t what we expected and was an easy on the eyes surprise.
  When we heard there was a full on 'Can Can' show in Dawson City, we had no idea it was going to be so well produced. These girls are all students of dance at Canada's National Ballet School and are doing this as a summer job. It wasn't what we expected and was an easy on the eyes surprise.

Here is a paragraph I found extremely interesting and almost chilling by one of Canada s most famous journalists Pierre Berton Here is the most puzzling spectacle of the Klondike Stampede thousands of gold seekers milling about squatting on piles of fresh lumber shuffling up and down Dawson City s Front Street in an aimless parade. For nine months these men have been struggling against terrible odds to reach the goldfields but now thousands have not even bothered to look for gold. Why Is it because the early birds have staked the richest ground Or is it that their real goal was not the treasure beneath the Klondike valleys but the Klondike itself These are the survivors the men who have made it over the passes and down the lakes. For them it seems to have been enough.
  Here is a paragraph I found extremely interesting, and almost chilling, by one of Canada's most famous journalists, Pierre Berton: "Here is the most puzzling spectacle of the Klondike Stampede: thousands of gold seekers milling about, squatting on piles of fresh lumber, shuffling up and down Dawson City's Front Street in an aimless parade. For nine months these men have been struggling against terrible odds to reach the goldfields, but now thousands have not even bothered to look for gold. Why? Is it because the early birds have staked the richest ground? Or is it that their real goal was not the treasure beneath the Klondike valleys, but the Klondike itself? These are the survivors, the men who have made it over the passes and down the lakes. For them it seems to have been enough."

Dawson City on the Yukon River. This is the site of the fabled El Dorado the city that drew 30 000 thousand men and woman from all over North America into one of the most bizarre and brutal treks imaginable. They were told El Dorado had streets paved with gold and that you could fill a bag with gold chunks the size of your fists within a few minutes. Upon their arrival months later they found a much different reality......
  Dawson City, on the Yukon River. This is the site of the fabled 'El Dorado,' the city that drew 30,000 thousand men and woman from all over North America into one of the most bizarre and brutal treks imaginable. They were told 'El Dorado' had streets paved with gold and that you could fill a bag with gold chunks the size of your fists within a few minutes. Upon their arrival, months later, they found a much different reality.

Dawson with 1 800 people is the Yukon s second-largest community and sits at the juncture of the Klondike and Yukon rivers. In August 1896 Skookum Jim and some mining buddies found gold just outside Dawson at Bonanza Creek kicking off the Klondike Stampede. Dawson shot up quick as lightning adding boardwalks bar-rooms bordellos and boarding houses almost overnight.
  Dawson, with 1,800 people, is the Yukon's second-largest community and sits at the juncture of the Klondike and Yukon rivers. In August 1896, Skookum Jim and some mining buddies found gold just outside Dawson at Bonanza Creek, kicking off the Klondike Stampede. Dawson shot up quick as lightning, adding boardwalks, bar-rooms, bordellos, and boarding houses almost overnight.

This is English singer-songwriter Julian Dawson. He is a direct descendant of the man who Dawson City was named after way back in 1897 George Mercer Dawson. It was Julian s first time to the Yukon and he and his wife did a rafting trip along the Yukon River to retrace some of his great-great-great Uncle s footsteps. It was cool to look into Julian s eyes and imagine seeing a glimmer of his ancestor George Mercer Dawson a famous Canadian scientist and surveyor.
  This is English singer-songwriter Julian Dawson. He is a direct descendant of the man who Dawson City was named after way back in 1897, George Mercer Dawson. It was Julian's first time to the Yukon and he and his wife did a rafting trip along the Yukon River to retrace some of his great-great-great Uncle's footsteps. It was cool to look into Julian's eyes and imagine seeing a glimmer of his ancestor, George Mercer Dawson, a famous Canadian scientist and surveyor.

This fella was looking pretty glum. He was sitting on his quad on the main street obviously waiting for something or someone. His 4Wheeler was totally outfitted for mining with lots of gear storage panning equipment and signs of a lot of rough use.
  This fella was looking pretty glum. He was sitting on his quad on the main street, obviously waiting for something or someone. His 4Wheeler was totally outfitted for mining, with lots of gear storage, panning equipment, and signs of a lot of rough use.

James made sure to take the male role for this photo. Kenny didn t seem to concerned. We d just finished riding the trails up above Dawson City off the Dome. Dawson City is very lucky to have a semi retired National Parks Trail Manager living there Alex Brook. He manages the Heritage Sites Program which involves hiring summer students to help maintain the various sites and build new stuff like trails. He s been in the trails business for over 30 years mainly with Parks Canada in Yoho Kootenay and Banff Parks and he also managed the West Coast Trail for 10 years. Since coming to the Yukon he has helped start a local trails club. For the Dive the Dome first authorized MTB trail he has helped secure funding and resources and provided overall management although he says for the most part he has left the design and actual building up to the youth.
  James made sure to take the male role for this photo. Kenny didn't seem too concerned. We'd just finished riding the trails up above Dawson City, off the Dome. Dawson City is very lucky to have a semi retired National Parks Trail Manager living there: Alex Brook. He manages the Heritage Sites Program, which involves hiring summer students to help maintain the various sites and build new stuff, like trails. He's been in the trails business for over 30 years, mainly with Parks Canada in Yoho, Kootenay, and Banff Parks, and he also managed the West Coast Trail for 10 years. Since coming to the Yukon he has helped start a local trails club. For ''Dive the Dome'' (the first authorized MTB trail) he has helped secure funding and resources and provided overall management, although he says for the most part he has left the design and actual building up to the youth.

Klondike Kates. This is where we stayed. The food here was honestly the best food I ve ever had anywhere. Our last morning was when we got taken to ride the new trail up on the Dome with Marshall Trae Charles and the rest of the local boys. It was inspiring to see their excitement but also an insanely unique experience to ride fresh singletrack on new age fancy bikes but then roll directly into this back to the past Klondike gold rush town. It reminded me of Bralorne in the Chilcoltins or Sandon in the Slocan Valley......except not even close to a ghost town Truly a memorable experience. And the best part is that the Yukon Government has a couple of programs set up to help communities like Dawson fund these sorts of trail building projects. As many of the local MTB youth are Tr ond k Hw ch in Citizens they are also getting tremendous support for the First Nations government to keep the program going. The Dawson City region has endless possibilities and Alex Brook and the gang hope by Autumn of next year to have three main trails from summit to town with lots of short connector trail in between. They hope to incorporate existing trails and tote roads into the trail system. Once they have enough of the trail network in place and all are adequately signed they plan to join forces with Whitehorse and Carcross to promote the entire Yukon as a destination for MTB. There are also some amazing trails and tote roads that lead from Dawson via the Second Dome up into the Tombstones that will surely make for some great long distance rides with lots of relics from the Gold Rush along the way.
  Klondike Kate's. This is where we stayed. The food here was honestly the best food I've ever had, anywhere. Our last morning was when we got taken to ride the new trail up on the Dome with Marshall, Trae, Charles, and the rest of the local boys. It was inspiring to see their excitement but also an insanely unique experience to ride fresh singletrack on new age fancy bikes but then roll directly back into a Klondike gold rush town. It reminded me of Bralorne in the Chilcotins, or Sandon in the Slocan Valley, except not even close to a ghost town! Truly a memorable experience. And the best part is that the Yukon Government has a couple of programs set up to help communities like Dawson fund these sorts of trail building projects. As many of the local MTB youth are Tr'ondek Hwech'in citizens they are also getting tremendous support for the First Nations government to keep the program going. The Dawson City region has endless possibilities and Alex Brook and the gang hope by Autumn of next year to have three main trails from summit to town, with lots of short connector trail in between. They hope to incorporate existing trails and tote roads into the trail system. Once they have enough of the trail network in place, and all are adequately signed, they plan to join forces with Whitehorse and Carcross to promote the entire Yukon as a destination for MTB. There are also some amazing trails and tote roads that lead from Dawson, via the Second Dome, up into the Tombstones that will surely make for some great long distance rides, with lots of relics from the Gold Rush along the way.

This is the top of the Midnight Dome directly above Dawson City. There have been informal bike trails on the Midnight Dome for years. During the Klondike Gold Rush there were literally thousands of stampeders living in tents and shanties on the slopes above Dawson City so there were trails and tote roads all over the place which local bike enthusiasts have turned into bike trails. Over the past ten years groups of youth have built some crude ramps and jumps but most have fallen into disrepair. This year s approved trail building project was the first formal attempt to establish a network of bike trails on the Dome. Most of the youth in Dawson City picked up mountain biking on their own and have been doing it for at least 5 years on average. Up until a couple years ago there was an amazing bike shop in town and the owner Tim Gunter inspired a couple of generations of youth to get into MTB. Quite a few of them have ridden the trails in Whitehorse and Carcross Montana Mountain and of course watched a lot of YouTube videos on biking. This spring the Tr ond k Hw ch in TH Government s Community Services Department canvassed the local youth with the primary focus on youth who might be considered at risk to see what new activities or services they felt might enhance quality of life and well-being for themselves and others in the community. Most of them being avid bike enthusiasts felt that the development of high quality bike trails on the Midnight Dome would provide a positive benefit to the community particularly the youth. Following these initial discussions the TH Community Counselor could see this was something the youth were passionate about so she challenged the youth to take the initiative and make the project a reality. In early April the youth enlisted the support of the Tr ond k Hw ch in FN TH Yukon Government and the local trail building club Klondike Active Transport and Trails Society KATTS to help them with their endeavors. The youth were aware of the tremendous success the Tagish Carcross FN s TCFN had with their Single Track to Success project on Montana Mountain so they travelled to Whitehorse to meet with representatives from the TCFN and the Whitehorse biking community to learn from their experiences. During this visit they were fortunate to meet with some of the Carcross First Nations youth who had worked on the Montana Mountain trails in Carcross so they were able to hear firsthand what a positive experience it had been for them and their community.
  This is the top of the 'Midnight Dome' directly above Dawson City. There have been ''informal'' bike trails on the Midnight Dome for years. During the Klondike Gold Rush there were literally thousands of stampeders living in tents and shanties on the slopes above Dawson City, so there were trails and tote roads all over the place, which local bike enthusiasts have turned into bike trails. Over the past ten years groups of youth have built some crude ramps and jumps, but most have fallen into disrepair. This year's approved trail building project was the first formal attempt to establish a network of bike trails on the Dome. Most of the youth in Dawson City picked up mountain biking on their own and have been doing it for at least five years on average. Up until a couple years ago there was an amazing bike shop in town and the owner Tim Gunter inspired a couple of generations of youth to get into MTB. Quite a few of them have ridden the trails in Whitehorse and Carcross/Montana Mountain, and of course watched a lot of YouTube videos on biking. This spring the Tr'ondek Hwech'in (TH) Government's Community Services Department canvassed the local youth, with the primary focus on youth who might be considered at risk, to see what new activities or services they felt might enhance quality of life and well-being for themselves and others in the community. Most of them, being avid bike enthusiasts felt that the development of high quality bike trails on the Midnight Dome would provide a positive benefit to the community, particularly the youth. Following these initial discussions the TH Community Counsellor could see this was something the youth were passionate about, so she challenged the youth to take the initiative and make the project a reality. In early April the youth enlisted the support of the Tr'ondek Hwech'in FN (TH), Yukon Government, and the local trail building club, Klondike Active Transport and Trails Society (KATTS), to help them with their endeavours. The youth were aware of the tremendous success the Tagish/Carcross FN's (TCFN) had with their 'Single Track to Success' project on Montana Mountain, so they travelled to Whitehorse to meet with representatives from the TCFN and the Whitehorse biking community to learn from their experiences. During this visit they were fortunate to meet with some of the Carcross First Nations youth who had worked on the Montana Mountain trails in Carcross, so they were able to hear firsthand what a positive experience it had been for them and their community.

What is it about being in the mountains and having a sip of Fireball
  What is it about being in the mountains and having a sip of Fireball?

It was a super cool experience to ride with the Dawson City boys. They showed us their first true purpose built mountain bike trail. It is their pride and joy and has been in construction all summer. Kenny dubbed it his favorite run of the trip the trail was super fresh fast and most importantly fun. Thanks Marshall Jonas Trae Taylor Charles Dickson-Blanchard and Francis Bouffard for showing us the goods. Can t wait to come back and ride your hard work again
  It was a super cool experience to ride with the Dawson City boys. They showed us their first true purpose built mountain bike trail. It is their pride and joy and has been in construction all summer. Kenny dubbed it his 'favorite run of the trip,' the trail was super fresh, fast, and most importantly, fun. Thanks Marshall Jonas, Trae Taylor, Charles Dickson-Blanchard, and Francis Bouffard for showing us the goods. Can't wait to come back and ride your hard work again!

In Whitehorse we rode with a real beauty Joe Degraff. Joe is a young guy and the leader of the Whitehorse trail crew. He was in one of the first classes of the Mountain Bike Operations program at Capilano College on the Sunshine Coast. He regaled us with tales of Moose hunting trips with his family of rafting rivers subzero temperatures and the life and death tradition of putting meat on the table in the Canadian North.
  In Whitehorse we rode with a real beauty, Joe Degraff. Joe is a young guy and the leader of the Whitehorse trail crew. He was in one of the first classes of the Mountain Bike Operations program at Capilano College on the Sunshine Coast. He regaled us with tales of moose hunting trips with his family, of rafting rivers, subzero temperatures, and the life and death tradition of putting meat on the table in the Canadian North.

We picked the perfect time to be up in the Yukon. Fall colors were kicking in and the sky always seemed so crystal clear. Sunset colors rivaled even the mighty West Coast of Vancouver Island.
  We picked the perfect time to be up in the Yukon. Fall colors were kicking in and the sky always seemed so crystal clear. Sunset colors rivaled even the mighty West Coast of Vancouver Island.

Tombstone Mountains Yukon. 12 kilometers from Dawson City you can take a Larry onto the Dempster Highway which travels some 700 odd kilometers to Inuvik. Big remote place. Truly feels like a completely different country. However when you remember that you are still in Canada you feel damn proud to be a citizen.
  Tombstone Mountains, Yukon. 12 kilometers from Dawson City you can take a Larry onto the Dempster Highway, which travels some 700 odd kilometers to Inuvik. Big, remote place. Truly feels like a completely different country. However, when you remember that you are still in Canada, you feel damn proud to be a citizen.

3 30pm September 2nd 2013. Kilometer 71.5 Dempster Highway.
  3:30pm, September 2nd, 2013. Kilometer 71.5, Dempster Highway.

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''The road is long, with many a winding turn'' - The Hollies

Riley climbing. The heavy pack made for some unusual angulations and leans resulting in way more getting off the bike and walking than normal. Oh well the price of adventure.
  Riley climbing. The heavy pack made for some unusual angulations and leans, resulting in way more getting off the bike and walking than normal. Oh well, the price of adventure.

Uuggahhh. Get me back to the truck.
  Uuggahhh. Get me back to the truck.

We found this zone off the highway and hit it up for a short time. James tried to ride a top to bottom but had to ditch mid way down because the soil went from soft to hard. If we had got video of his ditch it probably would be up there with the craziest mountain bike crashes ever caught on film. But we didn t even get a photo. His bike tomahawked over his head and kept going at one point easily 20 feet in the air. James was running down a 40 degree slope like the roadrunner then sliding down on his ass at high speed on razor sharp limestone scree. I have no idea how he was ok just one small cut on his hand. We were sure that his Knolly was going to be sheared in half but James pulled it out of it s final resting place 2 feet under water in a creek and dusted her off and rode it the rest of the trip. Wow Knolly keep up the good bike building. Geeezzz............
  We found this zone off the highway and hit it up for a short time. James tried to ride a top to bottom but had to ditch mid way down because the soil went from soft to hard. If we had got video of his ditch it probably would be up there with the craziest mountain bike crashes ever caught on film. But we didn't even get a photo. His bike tomahawked over his head and kept going, at one point easily 20 feet in the air. James was running down a 40 degree slope like the roadrunner, then sliding down on his ass at high speed on razor sharp limestone scree. I have no idea how he was ok, just one small cut on his hand. We were sure that his Knolly was going to be sheared in half, but James pulled it out of it's final resting place, two feet under water in a creek, and dusted her off and rode it the rest of the trip. Wow Knolly, keep up the good bike building. Geeezzz.

Kenny Smith getting a little Rampage training in. This chute is way scarier than it looks in this photo.
  Kenny Smith getting a little Rampage training in. This chute is way scarier than it looks in this photo.

Kenny going really fast the Dempster Highway more than 2 000 vertical feet below. Sections of the Dempster are sometimes called the Joe Henry Highway. Joe and Annie Henry knew this land intimately. In 1898 Joe was born near the Hart and Wind Rivers while Annie was born in Black City in 1904. After marrying in 1921 they hunted and trapped together on the Blackstone Uplands. Joe and Annie had 13 children one of whom died in infancy. Their children attended school in Moosehide and Dawson but the family still spent time on this land right below where Kenny is riding in this shot. Their oldest son Percy became a chief of the Tr ond k Hw ch in and a deacon in the Anglican Church. Joe Henry guided the cat trains that built winter roads to the Peel plateau in the 1950s and many years later the surveyors who marked the route of the year-round road. Annie never stopped working and even in her later years she was still beading moccasins. They continued to use their trapline cabin at Wolf Creek until their deaths. Joe and Annie left an invaluable legacy through their work recordings stories of the land and their travels traditional knowledge and H n language.
  Kenny going really fast, the Dempster Highway more than 2,000 vertical feet below. Sections of the Dempster are sometimes called the 'Joe Henry Highway.' Joe and Annie Henry knew this land intimately. In 1898, Joe was born near the Hart and Wind Rivers while Annie was born in Black City in 1904. After marrying in 1921, they hunted and trapped together on the Blackstone Uplands. Joe and Annie had 13 children, one of whom died in infancy. Their children attended school in Moosehide and Dawson but the family still spent time on this land, right below where Kenny is riding in this shot. Their oldest son Percy became a chief of the Tr'ondek Hwech'in and a deacon in the Anglican Church. Joe Henry guided the cat trains that built winter roads to the Peel plateau in the 1950's and, many years later, the surveyors who marked the route of the year-round road. Annie never stopped working and even in her later years, she was still beading moccasins. They continued to use their trapline cabin at Wolf Creek until their deaths. Joe and Annie left an invaluable legacy through their work recordings stories of the land and their travels, traditional knowledge and Han language.

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At the bottom of our horseshoe ridge ride. We were all extremely excited that the descent had been 100 ride-able because we had no idea if it would be looking up at it from the bottom.
  At the bottom of our Horseshoe Ridge ride. We were all extremely excited that the descent had been 100% ride-able, because we had no idea if it would be looking up at it from the bottom.

Simply put we drove north until we found a spot that Chose Us. Not to sound all hippy dippy but we just headed towards the Arctic Circle checking out the sites and looking off either side of the highway for crazy ridgelines to ride. Suddenly the one appeared a huge horseshoe shaped crescent of radness. A tight little lane hooked left off the highway we drove up it and found ourselves in a clearing with a tinkling little creek meandering by. Time to set up camp then go for our evening ride.
  Simply put, we drove north until we found a spot that 'Chose Us.' Not to sound all hippy dippy, but we just headed towards the Arctic Circle, checking out the sites, and looking off either side of the highway for crazy ridgelines to ride. Suddenly, the one appeared, a huge horseshoe shaped crescent of radness. A tight little lane hooked left off the highway, we drove up it and found ourselves in a clearing with a tinkling little creek meandering by. Time to set up camp, then go for our evening ride.

We had a bit of a death march to get from our campsite back to the truck. We had a very rainy and blustery night. At this point James and Kenny had pretty much left us behind and bolted for the truck they were very cold and wet. Margus and I were slightly better dressed so took the time to grab a couple photos but for the most part we were trying to keep the cold at bay by keeping moving. This section of trail was super fun regardless of the frozen fingers just look at that ridge-line going and going and going............
  We had a bit of a death march to get from our campsite back to the truck. We had a very rainy and blustery night. At this point James and Kenny had pretty much left us behind and bolted for the truck, they were very cold and wet. Margus and I were slightly better dressed so took the time to grab a couple photos, but for the most part we were trying to keep the cold at bay by keeping moving. This section of trail was super fun regardless of the frozen fingers, just look at that ridge-line, going and going and going.

Riley. Wet cold and still at least 8km from the truck.
  Riley. Wet, cold, and still at least 8km from the truck.

Riley hammering down the last bit of the descent down to the creek the campsite just out of the photo. The entire ridge was totally good to go and with a bit of experience could be ridden really fast.
  Riley hammering down the last bit of the descent down to the creek, the campsite just out of the photo. The entire ridge was totally good to go, and with a bit of experience could be ridden really fast.

Riding singletrack amidst the most incredible fog shrouded spires..........we kept saying look where the f k we are It was a great feeling to be on bikes in such a remote place.
  Riding singletrack amidst the most incredible fog shrouded spires... we kept saying, 'look where the f#$k we are?!?' It was a great feeling to be on bikes in such a remote place.

Up in the Ogilvies the weather was much more ominous than what we were used to. It was still summer for God s Sake But up here wayyyyyyy North temperatures were below zero at night.
  Up in the Ogilvies the weather was much more ominous than what we were used to. It was still summer for God's Sake! But up here, wayyyyyyy North, temperatures were below zero at night.

3 35 pm Sept 3rd 2013. Fall colors in full affect. Reds yellows strange lichens and mosses we d never seen before.
  3:35 pm, Sept 3rd, 2013. Fall colors in full effect. Reds, yellows, strange lichens and mosses we'd never seen before.

Riding here was just a new experience. That s the best way to put it. Sure the 4 of us have all ridden in some pretty remote places James in the Gobi Desert Riley in Chile Kenny in Utah and Australia and Margus God knows where that guy is gnarly. But the Yukon was new and otherworldly.
  Riding here was just a new experience. That's the best way to put it. Sure, the four of us have all ridden in some pretty remote places, James in the Gobi Desert, Riley in Chile, Kenny in Utah and Australia, and Margus God knows where, that guy is gnarly. But the Yukon was new, and otherworldly.

James and Kenny on one of the many exposed talus slopes we crossed. The clouds were moving so fast that visibility was often almost nil but seconds later they d split up and you would catch a view to the valley below. When that happened we d be back to yelling Look where the f k we are
  James and Kenny on one of the many exposed talus slopes we crossed. The clouds were moving so fast that visibility was often almost nil, but seconds later they'd split up and you would catch a view to the valley below. When that happened we'd be back to yelling, 'Look where the f#$k we are!!'

Before we headed out on our little adventure north of Dawson City we learned more about the Gold Rush and just how tough and gnarly the Stampeders were. Those guys were eating their horses walking for days in frozen clothes you name it. Those were hard men. We fancied ourselves medium hard but the reality was just us riding bikes for fun in a bit of bad weather........nothing that gnarly really when compared to the Gold Rush.
  Before we headed out on our little adventure north of Dawson City, we learned more about the Gold Rush and just how tough and gnarly the Stampeders were. Those guys were eating their horses, walking for days in frozen clothes, you name it. Those were hard men. We fancied ourselves 'medium hard,' but the reality was just us riding bikes for fun in a bit of bad weather... nothing that gnarly really, when compared to the Gold Rush.

Finally our destination becomes visible 5 hours later.
  Finally our destination becomes visible, five hours later.

Setting up camp at 9pm. Tired beat wet and cold............but blown away by the location. Mighty spires dominate the view. They stand above like guardians. The lake has got to be the cleanest water on earth. The Picas little rodents that live in the scree let each other know we have arrived with resounding Eeeek eeeeeks that echo back and forth between the peaks.
  Setting up camp, at 9pm. Tired, beat, wet, and cold... but blown away by the location. Mighty spires dominate the view. They stand above like guardians. The lake has got to be the cleanest water on earth. The picas (little rodents that live in the scree) let each other know we have arrived with resounding 'Eeeek, eeeeeks' that echo back and forth between the peaks.

The rain and cloud stayed with us the entire ride to camp. But in the Convenient way things often happen when you put the work in the clouds abated right before dark and we were rewarded with a view of some crazy ass mountains.
  The rain and cloud stayed with us the entire ride to camp. But, in the convenient way things often happen when you put the work in, the clouds abated right before dark, and we were rewarded with a view of some crazy ass mountains.

None of us brought tents but James and Kenny pulled off an awesome tarp shelter by flipping their bikes upside down and stringing the tarp up between them. Very nice boys very nice.
  None of us brought tents but James and Kenny pulled off an awesome shelter by flipping their bikes upside down and stringing the tarp up between them. Very nice boys, very nice

The boys take a look at their evening objective the peak on the left. The hike began at about 5pm.
  The boys take a look at their evening objective, the peak on the left. The hike began at about 5pm.

An hour into the climb. The peak in the distance to the left side of the photo.
  An hour into the climb. The peak in the distance, to the left side of the photo.

Summiteers We made it. Only 2 hours to the top not really that bad considering how incredibly far away the peak looked from our campsite.
  Summiteers! We made it. Only two hours to the top, not really that bad considering how incredibly far away the peak looked from our campsite.

To be honest I have always been a little intimidated by Kenny Smith. He has such a rep for being a badass and is very involved in the scene of Whistler which is something I ve never felt to comfortable to be around. However it was awesome to hang out with him and discover that he is one of the funniest dudes out there. A truly nice guy and holy crap he had me laughing. If you ever see him make sure to say hi he will probably say something funny within a few seconds.
  To be honest I have always been a little intimidated by Kenny Smith. He has such a rep for being a badass and is very involved in the 'scene' of Whistler which is something I've never felt too comfortable to be around. However, it was awesome to hang out with him and discover that he is one of the funniest dudes out there. A truly nice guy and holy crap he had me laughing. If you ever see him make sure to say hi, he will probably say something funny within a few seconds.

Kenny Smith playing adventure biker man. We had a pretty sweet running commentary about creating an Adventure Bike that would have a knife fastened to the seat tube a folding saw that you can pull out of the seat post a flint and sparker built onto the frame butane for your camp stove contained inside your handlebar Spokes that detach and become game snares etc etc etc. Perhaps somewhere as remote as the Yukon there could be a market for a bike like that.
  Kenny Smith, playing adventure biker man. We had a pretty sweet running commentary about creating an 'Adventure Bike' that would have a knife fastened to the seat tube, a folding saw that you can pull out of the seat post, a flint and sparker built onto the frame, butane for your camp stove contained inside your handlebar, Spokes that detach and become game snares, etc, etc, etc. Perhaps somewhere as remote as the Yukon there could be a market for a bike like that.

It was a beautiful evening to be in the complete middle of nowhere two thousand feet up some random mountain exploring on our bikes.
  It was a beautiful evening to be in the complete middle of nowhere, two thousand feet up some random mountain, exploring on our bikes.

It seemed like the entire ridge system was comprised of reef-like limestone. Very sharp stuff that you would NOT want to crash on. I haven t done my research but I have a theory this material used to be on the bottom of the ocean............
  It seemed like the entire ridge system was comprised of reef-like limestone. Very sharp stuff that you would NOT want to crash on. I haven't done my research but I have a theory this material used to be on the bottom of the ocean.

You know how in the mountain bike world people say stuff like Oh that shot is so Sterling Lorence or Ya you could get all artsy with that like Jordon Manley Well I sometimes do that too even though it s a bit of a generalization and not super fair because most photographers do it all. However I would say that Margus Riga s photos certainly have their own flavor to them and I would say that this shot is an example of Oh that shot is soooooo Margus Riga.
  You know how in the mountain bike world people say stuff like, 'Oh that shot is so Sterling Lorence,' or 'Ya you could get all artsy with that like Jordon Manley?' Well, I sometimes do that too, even though it's a bit of a generalization and not super fair because most photographers do it all. However, I would say that Margus Riga's photos certainly have their own flavor to them, and I would say that this shot is an example of 'Oh that shot is soooooo Margus Riga.'

Kenny and James helping Margus set up his point of view camera angle which involved a bicycle tube and James torquing the crap out of Margus s torso to make it tight enough to work out.
  Kenny and James helping Margus set up his point of view camera angle, which involved a bicycle tube and James torquing the crap out of Margus's torso to make it tight enough to work out.

I think this may be my favorite shot from the entire trip. I love point of view it just makes me feel like I am there. Oh right I was there. Lucky me. But just look at that ridge we rode going and going............so much fun.
  I think this may be my favorite shot from the entire trip. I love point of view, it just makes me feel like I am there. Oh right, I was there. Lucky me. But just look at that ridge we rode, going and going - so much fun.

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  Good friends, good trails, and good times

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  The Yukon is good, people.

The Dempster Highway just goes and goes. I want to go back and soon.
  The Dempster Highway just goes and goes. I want to go back, and soon.

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Photos: Margus Riga
Captions: Riley McIntosh



Characters #1 - Thomas Schoen
Characters #2 - Bill McLane
Characters #3 - Tig Cross and Sasha LeBaron
Characters #4 - Mark Holt
Characters #5 - Kevin Eskelin




89 Comments

  • + 60
 Always a fan of your style of photography Margus.. Stunning images man.
  • + 17
 So many amazing photos. One of the coolest albums I have had the privilege of viewing on pinkbike! Its like POD after POD
  • - 41
 so fake.... they are xc riders and didnt appear to crash :p trololololol
  • + 5
 margus is not just a photographer, he's an artist!
  • + 2
 i completely agree. I love these photo epics and Margus blew this one out of the water. Just added probably 20 favorites
  • + 2
 Absolutely stumnig shots. Lots of new favs on my list.
  • - 2
 makes me want to go to Alaska!
  • + 2
 Spent 6 weeks in Whitehorse last summer. Rode just about everything with the help of some friends, had a sour toe cocktail, caught artic greylings on a fly rod, was absolutely amazing. Could barely drive cause I couldn't take my eyes of the mountains as I drove down the road. Late in the summer, the trees all change color and it becomes what heaven aspires to be:-) Would do again.
  • + 1
 Wow, it took me so long to get the comment section.
  • + 2
 RIP users who planned on getting a POD this year.
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  • + 20
 These guys are awesome! Nice work fella's.
  • + 1
 These are some great riders riding in the best riding possibly on the planet. ... and how many photos are in this article?!!?! Ridiculous! Amazing Margus!
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  • + 11
 Of course stunning pictures by Margus but also well-researched background by Riley. A nice high standard for other Pinkbike front page articles to put in some substance with the eye-candy
  • + 3
 Totally agree. Sets the bar pretty high.
  • - 3
 I agree: amazing work on both counts. However, I would prefer it if the story wasn't told entirely in image captions; particularly where the paragraph isn't relevant to that particular photo, and just paired up because of where it fits in to the page. Captions where they are about the actual photo are great and should compliment a body of text, however I feel the meat of that story should have been told in regular text and not all bold image captions with no paragraph breaks which got a little irksome to read after a while.
  • + 2
 That was a very well written piece, with great photography. Well done. I would love to see more articles of this caliber.
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  • + 5
 i spent 3 weeks in whitehorse this summer and it changed my whole outlook on riding, the scene there is amazing, everyone is so friendly and up for riding, and the trails are incredible. cant wait to go back for longer next summer. also, i only spent a daytrip with boreale, but what a great set of guys, was a pleasure to meet them, also the guys at cadence cycles.
  • + 5
 Haha thanks for credit, Hope to see you back. and to see everyone make a voyage this way one day
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  • + 3
 Wow…. What an amazing article. Seeing the images and reading the words from this epic story have never made me more proud to be a born and raised Yukoner. The Yukon is a magical place and the people immersed in the riding scene and community have made the Yukon a must do for any mountain biker regardless of what discipline they love. Huge props to people like Sylvain, Marsha, Jane, Big Tony, Justin, Jonas, Sam, Joe, Rory, etc….. The list goes on. I can’t possibly mention everyone that is up there or has come for a short time but made an impact. You all know who you are.
I loved seeing guys like James and Kenny shredding the Yukon and seemingly being completely stoked on what is up there. It fills me with pride that these guys loved the Yukon when they get to ride some of the best trails the world has to offer.
I have lived in Calgary for the past three years now but I miss the Yukon every day. The scene and community back home is one that welcomes everyone on two wheels and for that I will always be, till the day I die, a YUKONER.
Ride or die,
Matt Ireland
  • + 1
 MATT! Respect, brother. Hope you are doing well. Come back and ride soon! One of the coolest things about this media trip was hearing those guys, who have ridden all over the world, say that it was some of the best riding they had EVER done.. Proud to be a YUKONNER!!! - Sam R.
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  • + 4
 That's one of the best trips I've seen so far! Awesomly awesome shots!

I'm happy I read it in the morning. It'll make my day. Thanks tup
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  • + 2
 Never thought I'd ever see a Supercycle in a Pinkbike photo journal lol No more trips to Europe during the summer holidays for me. Nothing against Europe, I love Europe but its time for me to start exploring my own country. Far too many hidden treasures to be discovered and the Yukon seems to be loaded with treasure.
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  • + 2
 What a great photo essay. Holy shit. You guys are outdoing yourselves.
I was lucky enough to paddle a canoe from Whitehorse to Dawson city a few years ago, and the landscape had the same effect on me. But that f*cking sour toe cocktail did not sit well with me, and they had about a dozen different human toes to choose from for my whiskey. Other than that, the territory is immaculate.

Did you guys have any issues with wildlife while on your bikes? I stopped counting bears after the third day on the river.

Again, great photos and writing. Well done.
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  • + 2
 This is absolutely 100% awesome. Thanks for taking the time to share the history and capturing the entire voyage. "Medium hard" doesn't give you guys enough credit. So cool seeing the economic & societal benefits of mountain biking helping grow the region. It has definitely been added to my short list.
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  • + 1
 Great trip to an incredible place. And yes, everyone should put this on their bucket list. For people flying it, it takes just as long to get a connecting flight to whitehorse and be taken care of by Boreal, as it does to get to Whistler. This trip is EASILY tacked on to a trip to Whistler or other BC riding areas.
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  • + 3
 Did the trip with boreal this June, cannot go on enough about how great it was, worth every dollar! Highly recommended. Take the trip, you will not be disapointed.
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  • + 2
 Hey this is Riley McIntosh, just wanted to say thanks for all the super positive comments, it has been a ton of fun doing the Characters Series this year and all these comments really inspire me to try and do more!
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  • + 1
 A bit of an old topic by now, but I just have to return to seeing it every now and then 'cause it just looks amazing. Wish I'd make it there sometime in this life...
But mainly wanted to comment on Jane's name: Poepke in Dutch means hiney. In a good, sexy kind of way ;-)
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  • + 1
 this posts are awesome! gotta tip my hat to all of u guys but most specially to Marcus "King of POD" Riga,your shots are all incredible!! you're pics are probably my fave and one of the reasons im on pinkbike.if ever you gonna start your school of photography,count me in as a student(online).hahaha.againad props to everyone and of course to Pinkbike for sharing adventures.
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  • + 4
 Easily the best article I've ever seen on PinkBike. Seriously, this belongs in a magazine.
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  • + 1
 Margus,

I always enjoy your captures. My question.... what do you shoot with and what lenses do you normally take? I am an avid shooter but have not dared yet to take my DSLR and lenses on rides. Mainly because I'm finishing my first year riding but really because I know I like to charge the lines and may/do sometimes ride outside my level. How do you deal with protecting your gear? I've been quite interested in finding a good (enough) backpack that would protect if I were to fall. I don't know if anything would. anythoughts?
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  • + 1
 Could have been way better if they would have got video clips of the riders when they did Rampage like stuff. On terrain like that! That's what all the freeride filming crews are striving for. But thank you for sharing that "epic", the stills were nice.
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  • + 1
 Wow Margus you never cease to blow my mind! You are such an inspiration and I love your use of all natural light. This is definitely my favorite photo epic I have seen on Pinkbike so far. Really really amazing work, thank you!!!
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  • + 1
 I WILL make it there one day, hopefully soon. This definetly brought back memories of riding of into the woods after for hours and thinking I was in the middle of nowhere. Someday I will be able to do that again. Perfect article gentlemen.
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  • + 1
 Superb! Love the mountains you can ride all over - down here, our mountains are rocky beyond belief and covered in thouands of plant species so the notion of hiking up a smoothish peak and riding down is a foreign concept, certainly in the Western Cape...
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  • + 3
 seriously pinkbike?am sitting in the office doing my f*cking job right now while you made me watch this?isn't a little bit cruel?
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  • + 3
 What a magical place... been there 20yrs ago and it still looks the same. Makes me want to go back. Stunning photography and nice reading.
  • + 1
 Direct flights Air Condor Frankfurt to Whitehorse. Too bad Edelweiss didn't continue ZRH to whitehorse direct
  • + 0
 Why would the landscape change in only 20 years?? lol This landscape took millions of years to develop.
  • + 1
 I wasn't referring just to the landscape, probably more so to Dawson City, then again, I would assume 20yrs of a potential threat of oil drilling or mining could change a landscape rather drastically. Luckily, this isn't the case here, however, many other beautiful places around the world, incl. Canada for that matter, are potentially facing such drastic change in landscape. Nothing to LOL about in my opinion.
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  • + 3
 I took the Boreale experience this summer, it was first class all the way. I can't wait to go back.
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  • + 1
 Epic stuff, thanks for sharing. Looks like a great excuse to head north and explore. It would be nice to see a printed guide that would make it easy to retrace your adventure. Cheers
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  • + 1
 I love this article! I live in the Yukon and I grew up here! I've also ridden these amazing trails and ridden with many of these awesome dudes! Thanks for bringing the Yukon into the spotlight again!!
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  • + 1
 I think you guys really put this place on the map for a lot of readers. I think tourism will probably see quite a boost as a result of this amazing article. I know that I have the burning yurn to go, If only...
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  • + 1
 Wow...took me a week to get through this article (I've been busy). I love reading about epic adventures and the photography is top notch!! Need to see more articles like this!
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  • + 3
 Miss the Yukon! So glad people enjoy the trails and people as much as I do!
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  • + 3
 GREAT job. Now I want to up there, badly. You guys should win some sort of journalism award for that coverage. No joke.
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  • + 1
 The Yukon is heaven on earth!! Until you stay a few winters! lol. Fantastic work!! Fantastic place!! If you haven't been to the Yukon. You had better slide it up your bucket list!!
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  • + 1
 damn can i work for you pinkbike.. i will bought your photo gears or anythings, please.. just pay me with that kind of riding experience
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  • + 1
 I've always been drawn to the Yukon , such a magical place , reading this has made me realise I need to make it my life's mission to get there !
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  • + 2
 This is Living at it's core!! Wow, I would love to do something like this someday!! Thanks for sharing such beauty!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Wow! Amazing. Just another reason to get up to Canada. That whole area of the Yukon is nuts. Great pics and write up. Another must do.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Soooooooo many PODs... PODs for weeks... really nice job Margus, and huge props to Doerfling for always finding the fucking gnarliest lines ever.
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  • + 1
 "Simply put, we drove north until we found a spot that 'Chose Us." This is the spirit... ride your bike to be a part of nature...
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  • + 1
 wwwoooooowwwwwww... i live in the yukon and im into riding. looks like u guys had a lot of fun!!! i think i saw u guys at the gas station hha. im totally inspired!!!
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  • + 1
 Amazing.
Have to mention that the enduro ("best bike ever") is missing a good set of pedals.
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  • + 1
 Enjoyed a few beers while reading this. Great work! Putting this trip on the list.
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  • + 1
 Beautiful! The slabs remind me a lot of those on razors edge and doorjamb mtn here in AB
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  • + 1
 Totally cool you guys! Thanks for sharing all the knowledge and inspiring mountain bikers to head North!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 awesome write up on an epic adventure. amazing shots Margus!
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  • + 2
 -.-This is a long a** post... I like it Big Grin
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  • + 1
 This was the best destination review I have read at this site! Photographs and text were exceptional. Yukon here we come!
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  • + 1
 Speechless ... what a trip... Perfect pictures & writing, well done, made my day !
[Reply]
  • + 2
 This is the perfect send off for an epic weekend. What an awesome trip.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I need to get out of this town ... The wilderness is so beautiful , I need to be there
[Reply]
  • + 1
 There are some stunning shots! Not just of riding but the scenery and northern lights, that is some good photography!
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  • + 1
 self governance...nice. thnx for the good read, amazing pics! yukon just got added to my hit list!
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  • + 1
 I live and ride around Whitehorse and can vouch for the accuracy of this great article. Viva the Yukon!!
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  • + 1
 its always nice to have a lake named after you...... but seriously amazing photos boreale trips does a fantastic job
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  • + 1
 Nice work Riley and Margus - definitely gets me stoked for a trip north.
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  • + 2
 Epic! Just stunning!
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  • + 1
 Thx for sharing lads. Looks like an awesome trip !
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  • + 1
 Blue frame... is it Norco Truax?
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  • + 1
 Yep... That's what it's about alright.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Damn!! That's a mountain biking trip.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Amazing photography and a great story.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Just stunning pictures. Trip of a lifetime that!
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  • + 1
 Can you find yourself in that poem?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 thats the most epic photo epic I have ever seen on PB
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Very cool write-up/ photos
[Reply]
  • + 1
 breathtaking pictures!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 totally!! epic photos!
[Reply]

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