A few months back, March to be exact, I was talking with Brian Webb at Silver Star
about the upcoming season and what they had in the works. We got to talking about a trip and then the season came along and I just couldn’t find the time to get up there. All I was hearing and reading about the current park at Silver Star were rave reviews. How was I gonna make it happen? July rolled around and my weekends were all already planned for me and August looked the same. I contacted Heather in guest services to see if a mid week gorilla trip would work for them and the next thing I knew I was scrambling to get riders together for what would be my epic riding trip of the season. Many things made this trip a great one, and I’m never one not to tell the story, so here you go.Since this was to be a group trip, I needed to find a group of riders that had a flexible work schedule to accommodate the Wednesday to Friday trip we were going on. First thing I did was go to Jesse Roberts of Bicycle Rockers Apparel
and Haruki Noguchi (Harookz
) to see if they were interested in doing a trip up and also to recruit riders. Once we had our rider numbers set up, Adrian Witt and Steve Mundell went to work on an itinerary for us. Since our rider list kept changing day to day, we just decided that who ever made it to the van at 6 am was gonna be in. I hit the road Tuesday night to get a start on the drive and to hopefully not be all groggy when riding time would start.
The road up to Silver Star from Vernon is a nice 22 km jaunt that has a few kick ass hair pin corners in it, so take it easy when it tells you too. My ol’ 4 Runner was getting its body roll on in a few corners-not much unlike its owner. I arrived my typical hour late with the van still somewhere out on the highway behind me. At least my hosts, Adrian and Steve, were cool as hell about being off the itinerary already. These guys had all the ducks in a row for us and now we just needed the van full of riders to arrive to get this show started. Just before noon the van rolled up and out popped Jesse Roberts (Bicycle Rockers Apparel
), Ryder Kasprick (SRAM
), Ross Measures (Specialized
), Jordan Carson (Team Factory JC #6
of 30 Something), Tyson McCrea (Iron Horse Bikes
) and Harookz (Harookz
Steve and Adrian took us straight to the Vance Creek Saloon patio where the first question was “is anyone a vegetarian?” “Nope” and “Jesse just eats like a bird” were the answers. So burgers were served up to the whole crew, as you can’t possibly ride on an empty stomach. Here we met up with Cam, one of the main trail builders for the resort, as he would be our guide for the day and man with all the answers to our questions. After lunch was devoured, we were escorted up to our Chalet and home for the next few days.
Can you say DAMN!! This chalet kicks ass! We were supposed to meet Cam in 30mins, which quickly turned into an hour as we battled for the rooms and checked the house out. There were 4 bedrooms, 3 of which were big with their own double beds and the fourth room had 2 bunk beds and an Xbox in the closet.
(This would be where we could find JC, Ryder and Jesse when we weren’t riding) I had to convince Ross it was a good idea to let me have the room with its own bathroom and he graciously gave it up. Thanks man!
Silver Star has a law that you need to have a certain amount of colors in your exterior paint scheme of your home. Here's our neighbour's house and another one from down the street with a killer view of the hill.
Now we had to get our bikes in running order and hit the trails. Well somehow I managed to loose a front brake pad on the drive up with the fork hanging out my rear window-oops. At least the folks at Olympia Cycle in the village had new sets. (The ones I lost were new too, but thems the brakes right) Cam was patiently waiting to hit the trails with us and we seemed to be ready to rip-let’s do this! You used to take the Summit Double Chair from the village to the peak, but with all the expansion going on, the folks at Silver Star knew that the old double chair just wasn’t going to cut it any more. Riders want runs and lots of them, so what better way then to have their 6 person Comet 6-Pack Express chair outfitted with the same kick ass bike loading system as Whistler and Sun Peaks were using. One difference though, you can put all 4 bikes side by side on the 6 Pack, so there’s no need for hanging or laying bikes down on chairs.
Silver Star is a mid mountain village, meaning you have to ride DOWN to the chair. Ah Shucks. What ever! The first trail Cam took us to on the way to the chair was called Blast Off. You know what they say about first impressions-well I was 100% sold as I popped out of the trees after hitting the best set up berms I’d ever put my tires too. These berms were like dropping into a skate park bowl and just letting it rail. I just had to hold on tight and pulled first with my head, then arms and even stomach muscles to rip these corners at speed, it was sick. Harookz’s laughter could be heard all the way down this first little sampling of what lay ahead. Pin it to the chair and let’s see what the mountain had to offer.
On the chair Cam gave me a run down on what he and the trail crew had been up too so far in the past few months. Trails like Rock Star, Super Star, Blast Off and Lower World Cup were all new to the hill and had been dug up using a mini hoe. Rob Lowe of Lowe’s Hoes was the man with the mad hoe skills (12 years to be exact) and the fact he is a rider too more then helped in the building process. The crew would all get together, flag and clear a trail, and then it would get all roughed in with the hoe and then came time to create those calluses with a shovel and rake. Well it was one thing to tell us about what they had done; now Cam had the joy of showing us what they’d been up to. We all trained in on Super Star for what would become the tip of the iceberg. Super Star is a great run (and the longest too) that has a lot of intermediate features for those of us that are a little tame or simply not into the bigger goods. If this is what we were to expect for the rest of the day, things were going to be great. Right around mid mountain Tyson got a flat, so he headed to the village for a fix. The rest of us had already got into the whole winter resort mentality of “there are no friends on a pow day” and this was our equivalent, but with bikes. So needless to say he went on alone.
While Tyson was in the village, we started pegging off runs one at a time. The World Cup Course has under gone a lot of changes since I was last here in 1999. Yeah that’s been the general consensus with all of us that hadn’t been here since nationals in ’99 or 2000. Ryder and Harookz were reliving old XC race days, while Jesse reminisced about the old DH race days and the really old Dual Slalom course that used to be somewhere under the new hotel. The WC course now features two huge kick ass wall rides, the first being more of a carnival ride at 75 feet long and painted in yellow and red stripes. The guys were so stoked on this feature and Harookz said it was a must for tomorrow’s picture day. Harookz also wanted to find wild flowers and open meadows, so Cam instructed us on where to look on upper Whiskey Jack.
As soon as we were a whole group again, JC broke the hanger on his Cove and had no spare. Well he needed to go see if there was by chance one in the village or call around Vernon for one. At this point, the crew decided that they should take a break and book their plane tickets for Colorado for Tuesday. So this is what the life of future stars is like? Seems ok to me. Ryder, Jesse, Harookz and Ross all headed to the village with JC to get things dealt with. This left Tyson, Cam and I to keep pillaging the trails. At the top of the 6 Pack we ran into friends of mine from Golden B.C. (Terry Gill and his son Garret) who were there on holidays and loving it. I asked how their trip was so far and they said it was great and that they’d be back by summer's end for a few more laps even. Since they had a good feel for the mountain and we were down to 3, I asked them to join us for a few rips. Off to Rock Star we headed, whoa, I was over my head with my lack of jumping skills. Terry and I stayed at the back while his son Garret ripped it with Cam and Tyson. Rock Star has a lot of big built up table jumps all the way down the mountain, with those nice berms tucked in between. This run would become the group’s favorite along with the World Cup for its wall rides, berms and good sized hits. We then regrouped with all the rock stars of tomorrow (JC couldn’t find a hanger, so he went chainless for the rest of the day) and hit Double Dog-with it’s built up stunts in the trees and great tech single track, and over to Stubby for the last run of Day #1. As we neared the trail head to Stubby, Harookz started to get excited and talking about how we needed to be up here at like 8 pm for an evening shoot. We funneled down this trail that was started close to 7 years prior when it was just a pirate trail the locals were using to “get rad” on. Looking at it, I was pretty amazed at the level of difficulty one was looking for in a trail 7 years ago. Good work to the builder-you know who you are.
We were now dirty and tired from the day’s riding and in need of showers and food. Off to the chalet for a quick clean up and then we were expect for dinner at the Silver Lode
at 7pm. The whole part where we just followed an itinerary made our lives so easy; it just makes you feel really special. Isadore from the Silver Lode had an Authentic Swiss Dinner all planned and ready to serve us upon our arrival.
Pic #1-Salad Pic#2-Dinner Pic#3-Dessert
The atmosphere in the Silver Lode is super relaxing with all its wood finishing and European/Swiss flairs. The presentation of all our food was a really nice touch as most of us are used to eating from Wendy’s foil wrappers and plastic cups. Steve, Cam and Cam’s wife all joined in on the kick ass dinner-thanks Cam for all your guiding and resort information through out the day.
Time to hit the chalet for a little hot tub and some relaxing. Some of the crew had to head back down to Vernon that night as all the stores had closed in the resort and we had no food to snack on-oh and we were really low on cold bevies. I stayed behind to get a turn in the hot tub and sit back and reflect on the day-WOW and we still have 1.5 days to go. The BR Apparel crew got back and immediately and headed to the hot tub to rest those aching muscles. We kept “it” to a minimum that night as we knew how good things were and we all wanted to rip and do the photo shoots right for Harookz the next day.