Any day that includes a 7000ft. (straight)
descent on a mountain bike is going to be a good one. Throw in a rad group of guys and a helicopter ride to get you to the top and it’s going to be all-time.
Visible from pretty much anywhere in town, Mt. Cartier looms in the distance enticing adventurers to come explore, and since moving to Revelstoke last fall the mountain had been beckoning me. So, when Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing announced they would be offering guided heli tours to the Cartier trail starting this summer, I knew I needed to be on the first flight and I knew who I needed to invite. Lachlan Sillitoe is an Australian living in Kamloops, he loves riding in Revelstoke and since he had never been in a helicopter before, I knew he’d be stoked.
The trail up Mt. Cartier was originally built around 1920 to access a forestry lookout at the top of the mountain. Since those days, Cartier has evolved into a trail that has attracted many hikers, and in recent years dedicated mountain bikers willing to spend eight hours pushing their bikes up the gruelling incline for the downhill reward. I would have eventually sucked it up and gone the hike-a-bike route, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was stoked when the heli-option presented itself…
The best way to start a day that will be dropping 7000 feet over an 18km trail is with a lot of bacon and lucky for us Revelstoke Mountain Resort's Revelation Lodge was happy to oblige. We joined the rest of our crew for a breakfast buffet and some great views to get us fuelled and amped for the day, before meeting our guides and pilot at the base of the gondola.
With all of our waivers signed, gear loaded and the safety briefing out of the way, we were ready to go.
No one in our crew had been on a heli mountain bike tour before and Lachlan was going up in a heli for the first time, so the collective stoke levels were high. Minds were unanimously blown as our heli took flight across the valley, before reaching our final landing point exposing the amazing views of the surrounding mountain ranges. With the clear view of what seemed like mountains all the way to the East and West borders of B.C. it was clear why this spot was chosen as a fire lookout.
Trying to stay on the trail is not easy, but that's just because you are constantly stopping to check out the ever changing view.
The single track was amazing! Considering the long life of this trail and the hiking history, I wasn't expecting a whole lot, but with over 100 hours of work on the trail to get it ready for tours before we dropped it's safe to say it was running awesome. You could really get your speed up and there were even a few good lips to launch yourself off of.
Photos: Ian HoughtonWords:
The singletrack never gave up and was uninterrupted the whole way down to our shuttle and I couldn't have been happier to get delivered right back to the Revelstoke Mountain Resort Village where a well-deserved Begbie pint was waiting!
** To join in the action and book your own flight and ride, visit www.revelstokemountainresort.com. This trail is black diamond rated and suitable for advanced riders only. All mountain or downhill bike required. Booking cut-off is 9am on the day of the trip.