Steve Smith Memorial DH: The Chainsaw Lives On

Sep 21, 2018
by Danielle Baker  
Views: 16,048    Faves: 85    Comments: 1


After a couple of years away from the Dunbar Summer Series BC Cups, I had the opportunity to spend the weekend at the Steve Smith Memorial DH at Mt. Washington last weekend. I was standing in the rain at the finish line, wishing I had any number of warmer clothing items and any plan to keep my camera dry, when Brett Tippie asked me on the mic what it was about mountain biking that would bring me out in these conditions. I didn't even have to think about the answer - "community," I replied. And when it comes to this race, in particular, Rob Venables, owner of Dunbar Cycles and avid support of the local downhill race scene, hits the nail on the head when he says, "Steve [Smith] has provided a race environment for kids to grow up in that is amazing. He's built a community around the race scene and for a lot of these people, it's their second family. And that sense of belonging and sense of community has allowed them to flourish as athletes and people. He's done something bigger than I think he even set out to do. He's created a family for a lot of these guys which is the coolest thing."

bigquotesSteve brought so much enthusiasm and fun to his racing, inspiring an entire generation of Canadians to get between the tape. This event is an integral part of keeping not just his memory alive, but his infectious desire to race his bike on the best courses the Island has to offer. This race can be a rollercoaster of emotions from sadness, remembering we lost Steve so young, to belly-busting laughs hearing stories from racers, parents, or fans. The most important part to me is to create an event that pulls us together to share our tears, our laughter, and our stories of one of Canada's best pure downhill racers. Steve will never truly be gone as he will never be forgotten by those who got to meet him.Stephen Exley, Event Director


This isn't a race report. This is a celebration of Steve and all those who continue in his memory. #longlivechainsaw.

Video | Max Berkowitz
Photos and Words | Danielle Baker



bigquotesIt’s all about the kids and seeing Steve over and over again in their faces.Tianna Smith






bigquotesSteve proved that it was possible for Canadians to be at the top at the highest level. The dude that's riding the same trails that you are, that came up racing the same races, is winning World Cups and overalls, that was inspiring for me. It was cool. He also inspired me to carry myself around people the way he did, he was well loved by everyone. It just seemed like no matter what he was smiling, I never saw him in a bad mood, especially at these local races. He was a good role model and I looked up to that.Kirk McDowall



bigquotesSteve Smith inspires me because he's left this legacy that everybody has followed because he was such an amazing rider and person. Hearing those chainsaws on the course when you're riding gives you the extra bit of motivation to keep going. It's really amazing!Maddison Skrypnek



bigquotesSteve influenced my riding by being a reminder that whenever I'm having a hard time with something, to just throw a smile on my face. He was someone who always seemed to enjoy it all - even through the tough times.Ethan Shandro



bigquotesI remember meeting Steve for the first time when he was 15 and he had the fastest time ever at the Bear Mountain race in Mission. You could see it in his eyes, he had the drive. And seeing his drive and how he worked so hard to be the best in the world, it's influenced me, even though I'm 20 years older than him, it definitely gave me the drive to keep pushing harder to be better, faster, and stronger. I'm stoked to be here! Chad Hendren





bigquotesSteve has provided a race environment for kids to grow up in that is amazing. He's built a community around the race scene and for a lot of these people, it's their second family. And that sense of belonging and sense of community has allowed them to flourish as athletes and people. He's done something bigger than I think he even set out to do. He's created a family for a lot of these guys which is the coolest thing. Rob Venables




bigquotesIn my first real year of racing in 2013, I remember watching Steve at the World Cups and winning at Mont Sainte-Anne and Hafjell and winning the overall. I always thought that was really cool for a Canadian to take the overall and I always thought about that throughout my racing career and it made me want to strive for victory too.Jacob Stefiuk





bigquotesSteve's influence on my riding was huge. I started riding with him just after I started racing, so most of the things I know about racing came from him. He taught me a lot about just going for it, believing in yourself and it will all work out, and that you have to have fun with it. I was teammates with him for five years so I got to see how he did things and just follow him. Mark Wallace





bigquotesSteve, me being in racing and watching him come up from junior, just the way he rode and the attitude and smile - he was unique. And the way he attacked racing, it was cool, he was always having fun. And when he was having fun, he was winning. And even if it wasn't first place, he was winning. It made you want to ride your bike. It's hard to describe. I find it harder to watch downhill now because he's not there. I used to watch it just to watch Steve. But he influenced me to keep riding and riding for the right reasons. Cody Mcarthur



bigquotesAs a kid, he was the first downhill rider who I looked up to. He seemed really rad and as I watched him as I grew up, it was how I wanted to ride. It just seemed like he had fun doing it. Magnus Manson



bigquotesSteve proved that the Canadians can be at the top on the World Cup circuit, so it was a huge motivation for a lot of people - me included. I used to see him at all of the races and he would always talk to you and say hi. I remember when he won at Mont Sainte Anne, that was my first World Cup that I qualified for, so that was pretty cool to see him win, the crowd went crazy. I'll always remember that.Forrest Riesco




bigquotesAt Silver Star we sat on the chair with Steve about two weeks before we left for [Master's] Worlds at Hafjell, Norway and he gave me advice for what to do on that track. And it helped because I got sixth place!Colin Yarrow




bigquotesThe first time I saw Steve's segment in Seasons with Tianna - that's what made me want to race downhill. Lucas Cruz




bigquotesIt was a really fun experience to be able to shoot with Steve. It was really fun to ride with him and see how fast he was going. You'd see him at the World Cups on TV and on videos and it doesn't do his riding justice. He did a shot where it was just him and watching from the sidelines I thought 'man, I want to be able to ride like that.' He was super nice to me when we were filming and between shots, telling me jokes and having fun with me. He was a really nice guy. Jackson Goldstone



bigquotes[Steve inspired me to] just send it, especially when you ride Prevost. Know where you're looking, ride fast, and just send it. Lots of his knowledge has been passed down through Magnus [Manson]. Kendall Mclean





bigquotesSteve, coming from the island, it was really cool to see what an island guy could do on an international level. He was a really down to earth guy and he was always down to ride with the younger riders and anyone who was at Prevost. He was a good guy. Dean Tennant



bigquotesI remember some of the first BC Cups when I was just trying to learn how to ride a bike and Steve, just being a year older than me, was getting the fastest times of the day and setting course records. And he was always such a nice guy, you would see him at all the races and he would remember your name. It was so awesome to see him take off, he was everybody's idol, just such a great guy. I Miss him.Anthony Evans



bigquotesHis memory makes me want to send it extra hard - thinking about how well he did. Whenever I hear a chainsaw, it makes me think about him and I push extra hard. Bailey Goldstone



bigquotesI had the good fortune of filming with Steve back in Seasons for the Whistler segment. Steve was 18, I think, and he was just coming onto the World Cup circuit and making a name for himself. He was a character and you could see he had the fire in his belly to haul ass. He wanted to prove that he could be one of the best. His results have carried on the momentum to the next generation of kids. I think truly, that Finn [Iles], Mark [Wallace], Magnus [Manson] and some of the juniors - we have some talent that are starting to show what they have on a world level. I think that Steve, without a doubt, inspired these athletes to see what they could do.Andrew Shandro




bigquotesSteve Smith has influenced many downhill racers and especially Canadian downhill racers to really push themselves and take some risks, to really dig deep and love what you do. He taught us to chase our dreams because we're not going to get them unless we go for it. He would take those risks and lay it on the line to really go fast and have fun on his mountain bike. He inspired a whole world coming from a young kid in a small town and doing shuttles with his mom to being the overall World Cup champion in 2013 and winning numerous races and podiums. His being a nice guy all along the way has really made an impression on me and many others. I miss him. Long live Chainsaw.Brett Tippie



bigquotesI started riding because of my kids, but really got excited about it when I saw a video of Steve and Sam Hill at Psychosis. It was the first real mountain bike video that I had seen. It was the first time I got introduced to him and then of course when he won the overall title - I don't miss a race now. I was into it, but he when he won that it upped it to a whole new level.Tim Seaward



Donations to the Steve Smith Legacy Fund aimed at helping the next generation of young rippers reach the podium can be made here.


@stevesmom




68 Comments

  • + 192
 Observe, world, this is how you commemorate the loss of a wonderful person. Thoughts and sad posts are great but getting people out there having a good time, this is truly reveling in the memory of a legend
  • + 14
 100% awesomeness
#LLCS
  • + 6
 @Hyakian: 100% agree. Not many can get out people like this. Beautiful!!!
  • + 54
 Tianna you are a beautiful human. Such a booming scene!! #longlivechainsaw we miss you brother
  • + 9
 Attitudes and outlooks on life passing from parent to child, in action. Beautiful humans raising beautiful humans.
  • + 32
 LEGENDS NEVER DIE
  • + 5
 ^^^^
This

I miss him.
  • + 16
 Now *this* is how you build a legacy.

Not going to lie though, it still made my eyes wet to watch this the whole way through.
  • + 4
 Damn onions indeed
  • + 12
 Street cred to Magnus, Mark, and the other BC pros that came and gave back to the sport and honoured Stevie. You are appreciated and it does not go unnoticed! Those that weren't there...it was noticed.
  • + 2
 Those that weren't there...it was noticed.
  • + 4
 @sexley: you bet. Magnus put it well. Glad we have him in Canadian racing
  • + 21
 Shouts to the people there and putting on for Stevie, but come on man. absolutely ZERO shade towards athletes who couldn’t make it, there’s a lot of ways to represent Stevie’s legacy and this is just one of them. You’d be incredibly hard pressed to find a single rider who doesn’t show love to Stevie, and putting down those who had commitments for one specific weekend of the year is missing the point. Be proud that we have BC athletes at a global level paying their dues, and let sleeping dogs lie.
  • + 3
 @lightningskull: Couldn't agree more. As Magnus said, it all starts at the small races motivating the youth. Great to have the top guys come out!
  • + 8
 @MaxBerkowitz: Well put Max, people show respect and support in many ways.
Great video, not only is BC producing a some good young talent on the DH scene but the young video talent is pretty awesome too.
  • + 12
 Long live Chainsaw!
  • + 8
 Fought back tears for 4 minutes watching this amazing video. Thanks for putting on this amazing event Exley, amazing work Berkowitz, Respect. #Longlivechainsaw
  • + 4
 I'm a mountain biker. It's who I am. It's not just a hobby it's a passion that run deep in my soul.Events like this remind me of that. This community is more than that. You glorious, beautiful, dirtbags are my family weather I know you or not. I have nothing but love for ya all. Love for how we honor our fallen heroes by keeping their passion alive and passing it in to the next generations.
  • + 2
 bro
  • + 4
 We met him here in 2013 when he took his Canadian Championship sleeve all the way to overall World Cup title. I was truly touched by his generosity of spirit and other worldly skills on a DH bike. He elevated the way we viewed this sport and he inspired us to never stop improving. He was the embodiment of what we all feel it is to be Canadian. Long Live Chainsaw.
  • + 5
 Be cool, if PB Re-released some Chainsaw shirts again. Sons are old enough to wear some. Such a great cause, and way to honor his legacy.
  • + 3
 Yes I'd like this aswell. It would be awesome if someone made some replica jerseys too. I'd buy one for sure.
  • + 1
 i second that. same w the replica jersey
  • + 3
 I recently visited Vancouver island and rode mt prevost, Cumberland, and Nanaimo. Every single ride we were greeted by pleasant locals that ended up showing some trails to us. The community on Vancouver island seems very strong and I can only imagine a lot of it stems from Stevie.
  • + 1
 Stoked to hear you enjoyed your time on the island!
  • + 2
 This is what biking is all about, no strava, no stress, just get out and enjoy the woods with your friends and put the world behind you...that's seems to be how Stevie rode, never met/knew him but still felt like I had a connection to him with his attitude and love of biking
  • + 2
 Miss you Steve thanks for the tips Sprint sprint sprint
I whent from 34th at sea otter classic to 4th place with a fall
I trained with some buddy’s riding Xc and all mountain on the off seasons like he said and it payed off.
We miss you
Long Live ChainSaw!
  • + 2
 Reading through all the above from the people who benefited from contact with Stevie and the use of the word community which is exactly what being a mountain biker gives you makes me want to smile more laugh more be more forgiving more tolerant, helpful. If everyone in our community feels this way and lives this way then Steve will truly have influenced the world for good and made it a better place, that is the legacy of a true legend #longlivechainsaw
  • + 2
 I don’t think it’s ever going to be possible to read a piece about Stevie and not tear up. As a lot of people here would agree his segment to this day is the reason I will always own a mountain bike. Events like this make me miss racing to the core. The sense of family I go from the races in the northeast seem kindered with the bc racing scene. Miss you buddy ❤️
  • + 2
 I can honestly say that going to the Steve Smith Memorial race is amazing and if you have the chance you should come out to it. Both years the weather has rained but no one complains because everyone is so happy to just be riding a track that Steve rode. There is something in the air at that event without a doubt and I will defiantly be coming back. Thanks @sexley and @dunbarcucles for continually stoking the DH flame in BC!
  • + 1
 Thanks Mark! It was truly an honour to be trusted by Tianna to host a Steve Smith Memorial event at Mount Washington.
  • + 4
 I love this. I just moved to Vancouver from California. Super stoked on the open and happy community here. I love it.
  • + 5
 I’m not crying you are!!
  • + 2
 Damn onions..
  • + 1
 long live chainsaw! Great video and write up, Steves mom is an amzing person, Ive seen in a few occasions with really talented riders, that having parents who full on support what you do, will make a difference. She knew thats what he loved, and did anything to help make it happen, and is still in the scence to help out others, thats an awesome person right there.
  • + 1
 I was getting back into MTBing in 2015 after a long recovery from an injury and I was watching Stevie Smith rising to the top. I am still inspired by his ambition to win and still have fun ripping it up. I would like to say thank you to the Chainsaw and his mother for continuing his legacy...
  • + 3
 I'm riding my Devinci proudly with #longlivechainsaw sticker on it to always remember. I miss you on WC Steve. :-(
  • + 1
 Never met the Chainsaw personally. But anyone who gets so many compliments on being such a nice person, and who did so much for the younger generation, with so much stoke, well, Chainsaw, you were a true mensch.
  • + 1
 It still kills me everytime I see his picture. It's a reminder just how fragile life is and how short it is. I'm glad that Stevie let it rain on everyone. It looks like they had a blast.
  • + 2
 "It’s all about the kids and seeing Steve over and over again in their faces."

BRILLIANT!!! I wish this for you always, Tianna.
  • + 1
 I don't think SteveSmith's legend will fade. I think it will grow. Someday everybody will cancel their other commitments to make it to this event. That's how History rolls.
  • + 1
 I didn't care if it was 3am or 3pm. I always tuned into Steve's WC runs on live stream The way he attacked the course was unreal. Gwin is smooth. Steve was raw and fearless.
  • + 1
 So many people were and still are touched by Stevie, At a loss for words, seems like only yesterday.......Long live the Canadian Legend Stevie Smith.
#longlivechainsaw
  • + 2
 Friggin' awesome! Love seeing all this stuff to remind us of Stevie. Ride in peace. #longlivechainsaw
  • + 3
 Beautiful
  • + 1
 See you on the other side I pray you can help us all on the other side too
  • + 2
 I think I got some mud in my eyes from watching this.
  • + 1
 Great tribute and Yay, Kirk McDowall two time Canadian champ and only 1 and a half seconds back from Magnus!!
  • + 1
 one of the genuine guys in the game. such a lost. rest in power stevie
  • + 2
 All the above ..
#LLCS
  • + 1
 Respect. Long Live Stevie Smith
  • + 1
 Legend........enough said!
  • + 1
 Awesome memorial for a true legend #longlivechainsaw
  • + 1
 Such an inspiration, Well Made Max!!
  • + 1
 Amazing work Tianna! Thank you.
#longlivechainsaw
  • + 1
 Rip
  • + 1
 #longlivechainsaw
  • + 1
 massive respect.
  • + 1
 All the feels.
  • + 1
 great video max
  • + 1
 JUST AWESOME
  • + 1
 #longlivechainsaw#
  • + 1
 So many smiles! Amazing
  • + 1
 #longlivechainsaw
  • + 1
 LEGEND
  • + 1
 ALL. THE. FEELS.

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