The Pinkbike Crew Visits Retallack – Video & Photo Epic

Jan 31, 2018
by Sarah Moore  


THE PINKBIKE CREW VISITS RETALLACK
Featuring Bas Van Steenbergen, Casey Brown, Kenny Smith, Micaya Gatto, & Brett Tippie
Photos by Margus Riga // Video by Chris Ricci

bigquotesWhen your boss walks up to you on week three of your new job at Pinkbike and says, “What are you doing this weekend, do you want to come to Retallack?”… “Hmm, let me check my sched… hell YES!”Andrew Daly, Pinkbike

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
No fun was had at all.
Pinkbike Retallack Trip
The elusive Radek.

The full Retallack experience is pretty incredible, but to be able to share it with some of the raddest folks in the bike industry including Brett Tippie, Casey Brown, Bas van Steenbergen, Micayla Gatto, Kenny Smith, Retallack lodge manager Mike Kinrade, and the legendary Pinkbike staff, was next level.

Over the course of our two and a half day trip, we descended over 30,000 vertical feet, were served up incredible meals and consumed copious amounts of alcohol.

bigquotesThis was my first trip to Retallack. We arrived at the magnificent lodge nestled in the middle of a pristine forest and after unpacking the truck were greeted with an exceptional three course meal with Duck Confit for main. As I was sat eating dinner I thought to myself, 'If the trails are anything like the hospitality, the next few days are going to be a good time!'Adam Price, Pinkbike

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Welcome to Retallack.

Day 1:
We began with an early breakfast and clear skies. The guides loaded up the shuttle truck, Bas cranked some sweet tunes, and we went straight to the top. The trails at Retallack are incredible - a true labour of love for the trail crew. I’d never ridden trails with such flawless design.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Next level transportation to the trailhead.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Pinkbike's Andrew Daly and the rest of the crew shuttle up.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Ferda girls.


Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Pure stoke.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Flawless trail design...


Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Bas and Kenny pushing back up to get some more.

Day 2:
With a sprinkle of rain overnight, the trails were reset and tacky as all hell. I started to wonder if this was actually heaven on earth? We loaded up the heli for a quick burst up to Texas Peak. The views were spectacular, with mountain range upon mountain range as far as the eye could see. After spending an hour or so capturing some footage of the pros doing their thing, we descended 10,000 feet to the lodge on a mix of shale slope, alpine meadows, perfectly crafted jump trails and loamy single track. The variety was insane. Cold beers and a fire awaited us at the lodge, and the balance-board and Jenga shenanigans went late into the night...

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Pinkbike Retallack Trip
The stoke that comes with a heli drop.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Looks like a good spot for a drop.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Yes!

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Never gets old.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Big mountain crew.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Feels good to be at the top of the world.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Micayla and Casey jumping for joy.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Tippie tackling the rocky peak.


bigquotesRiding at Retallack is a total dream and like stepping into a postcard. The hand built and machine made trails above the lodge, the alpine heli drops, funky transports, cool professional guides, tasty cuisine, and evening activities are all first class, but it’s the friendly Kootenay vibe that permeates the whole Retallack experience that makes it the best place in the world I’ve ever ridden!!Brett Tippie

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Casey dropping into the steep chute off of Texas Peak.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Steep and rocky.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Kenny Smith.


Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Pinkbike's Adam Price.


Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Pinkbike's Alan Golds.


Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Vast and remote.


Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Lodge Manager Mike Kinrade dropping in.


Pinkbike Retallack Trip
The gang's all here after tackling Texas Peak for breakfast!

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Time for an alpine party train.


bigquotesRiding with Casey, Bas, Kenny, Kinrade, Tippie, and the rest of the Pinkbike/Retallack crew was the most fun I’ve had on a bike all year! We all have pretty different riding styles, and come from various riding backgrounds, so it kept things interesting depending who you were riding behind. It was a unique gang to spend three days with, and I can only hope we get the opportunity to do it again next year!Micayla Gatto

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
From shale slopes to alpine meadows.


Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Wheelie good photo op.


Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Singletrack at its best.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Its very, very best!

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Back to treeline.


Pinkbike Retallack Trip
The view from above.


Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Perfectly crafted jump trails to finish off day two.


Day 3:
We squeezed a couple of early shuttles in and then most people departed around lunchtime. Trevor (a.k.a Mr. Trailforks) and I stayed back a bit longer and were treated to a few private shuttles on the lower trails at the insistence of our guides. Yes, I’m still pinching myself several months later.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Kenny Smith making the most of his time at Retallack.

bigquotesRetallack has become like a second home to me. A home with some of the raddest trails on the planet, amazing meals, heli-rides, glow in the dark frisbee, best friends, and more. I’ve created some of my fondest memories here, and the Pinkbike trip was definitely one for the books.Micayla Gatto

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Meals at the lodge.

bigquotesI had always heard a lot of good things about Retallack, so finally being able to come and visit the place was quite exciting. I quickly realized what all the hype was about and couldn't get enough of the place, from the incredible trails to the amazing food back at the lodge. The thing that probably stood out most to me about the riding was that even the trails that come down from the alpine are well build and super entertaining the entire way down and it's much more than just a cool view. Cheers to everybody that made this trip happen, I'll definitely be back!Bas van Steenbergen

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Yep, we'll be back.

Shout out to all the Retallack staff for all their hard work, excellent service and friendly smiles. You really made the experience.

Pinkbike Retallack Trip
Until next time.

Looking for even more photos? See Margus Riga's full album here.


70 Comments

  • + 31
 Thanks for sharing ,nice place and nice choice of riders ! also I want boss like that >>>
  • + 17
 1:37 A can of Pilsner Urquell served? Czech beer in Canadian mountains? That place must be heaven!
  • + 7
 who could say no to a czech beer? Big Grin
  • + 4
 @MalleCommencal Who could say no to a czech beer? That pretentious hipster with his IPA from pseudo exclusive microbrewery brewing only one keg a month, using single origin non GMO organic hops?

I personally like it. If I walked into a bar in Canada and found Primator from the tap I'd call my wife and say we are moving in. BTW I heard that there are a few Czechs renting out lodges around BC. There's at least one around Green Lake near Whistler.
  • + 1
 @MalleCommencal: me, when having a choice between it and a good Polish beer! Unless the other option would be a bad Polish beer...

@WAKIdesigns Primator is so mstrm
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: yep they/we go everywhere Smile
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: That hipster IPA stuff just makes me just sad as a passionate drinker from the center of the beer-universe.
  • + 3
 @Chridel: I don't know how it is in Germany but sometimes I just want a swallowable mainstream beer and it gets hard to get one in pubs I have used to go to. Both in Poland and in Sweeden. If you want to drink Newcastle, Guiness, Primator, Budejovicky Budvar, Zywiec etc. you have to go to a place for meat heads shouting advices at 22 metrosexuals kicking a ball on TV hanging from the ceiling. It's like wanting to to a good restaurant and not being able to find anything but Marinated Goose in Sauce de la Rangoon or Oysters from Craq De la Mansion served on a 20cm plate for 100€. I don't care what people drink, it may be Hollysome Brewsters Oak cask aged Dark IPA, be my guest, but don't take away some of the stupid crap. We need stupid crap to not get locked inside our heads
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: But Bike Bar in B-B has mainstream Czech beer, so you should be happy.
  • + 1
 @Slabrung: Bike Bar in B-B is heaven on Earth. Love this place. Wish we had something like that here in Gothenburg
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I totally agree. Awesome place. IMHO Srebrna Góra is even better, and they have better beer! (they have mainstream beer too). More informal, great pizza, burgers, people, atmosphere and perfect trails. Only downside is less trails, but each is a masterpiece.
  • + 1
 Love me some Pilsner Urquell!
  • + 9
 Amazing. I've just looked the price up. Although not totally unreasonable given everything it includes, I'm going to have to start saving now. Hopefully I'll make it there by 2030.
  • + 12
 Never enough Casey Brown!
  • + 3
 This is seriously the best time on a bike you will ever have. I cant wait to go again this summer. It seriousy is like a personal bike park but better....... oh and not a brake bump to be seen. The lines all have so many sneaky alternatives. Every lap you find something new. The hardest part about this trip is coming back to the world when it is done! This is a must do if you own a bike.
  • + 1
 'The hardest part about this trip is coming back to the world when it is done!' - Couldn't have put it better myself.
  • + 6
 Micayla absolutely nailed the jumping ninja pose lol
  • + 5
 About to make our 6 year back to continue helping build a legacy of peak lines. Always the most exciting trip of the year.
  • + 1
 Can't wait!!! #dreamteam
  • + 5
 I seem to recall Radek riding a Bullit with a Monster T around COP back in 02/03 range?
  • + 1
 a big blue one, no? C-train platforms make good drops
  • + 5
 Mr tippie is possibly the most stoked guy in the world. A true legend
  • - 1
 And his teeth are in excellent shape.
  • + 2
 Wa there the week before this trip. One of the greatest experiences of my life. The staff, lodging and food are all first class. And yes the trails are that good. Will be returning for sure!
  • + 4
 this place is so good. every time an article pops up it makes me smile.
  • + 3
 Casey Brown seriously is one of the most stylish riders in the world. Period.
  • + 3
 Best place on earth. Can't wait to go back!
  • + 3
 Tippie and Gatto but no video?
  • + 1
 Awesome! The only bad thing is the lack of nailing knowledge of those guys. You start from the edge of the table, not right besides the nail.
  • + 1
 I had to do a double take to see if that shuttle vehicle formerly belonged to Interface Logistics/Adrenalin Descents in Golden. Doesn't look like it?
  • + 1
 That shuttle vehicle formerly belonged to the US army.
  • + 3
 The stuff dreams are made of.
  • + 1
 Does anyone know if the land at Retallack is on crown or private land. I would like to visit but not interested in spending the big $.
  • + 13
 The land is crown land. Retallack has exclusive commercial tenure over the area, which means they are the only company allowed to guide and charge $$ to customers. Since it is public land you are free to use it for personal use. That being said, the Retallack crew put lots of money into the trails so it would be frowned upon to use their trails. Personally, I would not go there. There is lots of awesome riding all over the Kootenays and you would not be stepping on anyone's toes. It would be nice if Retallack would allow people to use the trails for a fee or provide shuttle rides. I would be happy to pay but do not want to stay at the lodge or pay for food, and I don't like being "guided" etc. You should check out Sol Mountain, Rossland, Nelson for awesome free riding.
  • + 11
 @mountain-life: I understand your point, but public land is public land, if they frown upon people using the trails they should check themselves
  • + 3
 @JoseBravo: @mountain-life: Aw c'mon, poaching "public" trails is part of the game, we used to ski CMH heli lines in Revelstoke in the winter, we would tow up with snowmobiles and ski down their fresh powder. One of my roommates worked for CMH in the summers grooming trees from their runs so we knew all the cherry spots! There was even a pilot shaking his fist at some of the guys because now he had to fly to another spot!

Nothing they can do about using crown land for fun!
  • + 5
 heard a few people say Retallack does not play well with others, even though it is public land.
  • + 2
 @FarmeR57: My thought is if you can get way up there on your own, have at 'er dudes! Retallack would do well to have a build day for local riders. Provide lunch, get a day of building, and then have a free day of shuttles the next day. They would have many locals happy, telling others about the wonderfulness of the company, and get a bunch of free labour. I would be game for that kind of trade, like boot packing for your ski pass!
  • + 11
 I can only speak to the winter ops. Retallack prepares cat and access roads. Public generally stays off where Retallack clients ski in Retallacks' winter season and are free to use the cat roads (sled, touring etc) any time but public stays out where the paying guests go and uses that terrain before or after the season.

This is the way it is in the Kootenays and, for the most part, public respect it and the system works well. The system is built on courtesy. Not on rules, or lawyers, or guns or threats.

Now as for summer trails. Before Retallack built out all their new trails on lands on or adjacent to their tenure they would use trails around this part of the region and of course it was then fair game for all public to ride as and when they wanted. But, FOR ME, and without judging anyone who wants to do differently I wouldn't ride Retallacks trails while there were paying clients up there. In large part that's because there's so many other trails to ride in Nakusp, Kaslo, New Denver, Nelson, Castlegar (just examples to give you an idea) and because FOR ME, I just think it's courteous.

I know this is TL DR. I know its also old-fashioned but I just have this hangup about respecting other people's work and wishes.

Now of course if Retallack is all like -- go ahead and shred everyone. Then of course I would hike up and ride those fantastic trails
  • + 2
 @leelau: I agree, I would not poach the trails too much effort when there are so many great trails still to ride. I just get my hackles up at multi million dollar companies that over exert their legal claim to land.

I have no problem skiing wherever I like, plenty of powder to go around. If I want to ski a line that a company uses one day a week, no guilt there at all. If I found myself on a Retallack trail because I happened to be in their territory and it was the best way down, yes I would ride it the same way I ride every other trail, with the least amount of wear and tear possible, and great respect for the builders.

I do understand why they discourage riders with the disappointing recent trend of sliding down steeps, and roosting berms, that type of riding has nothing to do with skill and displays everything that make other users angry at bikers.
  • + 2
 @FarmeR57: not true. They are well aware of what tenure means. just remember they are in a massive vehicle and can't move/turn around like your pickup. these roads are old mining roads and there is little space. being courteous like you are anywhere goes a long way.
  • + 7
 @leelau: Okay, but do you pay money to all the people who built trails in Nakusp, Kaslo, New Denver, Nelson and Castlegar? Sorry, serious question. There are so many trails that are built and maintained by builders who do it for no other reason than to have people ride them. It's not easy to get to the Retallack trails and I'd speculate that the number of people who want to get there on their own is pretty small. Friends of mine hiked up and came across a building crew who was super stoked about it and gave them a bunch of beta on the trails. They rode there because they can. I'm guessing there's enough advertising and clientele to make up for adventurous local riders (not poachers in my view). It's not a bike park and I would ride there and it would take a lot of work and sweat to get myself to the top, just like all the other trails around here. I don't think riding those trails is a sign of disrespect. They have an influx of revenue to turn a profit and build and maintain the trail system unlike all the altruistic builders out there. If it was disrespectful, then we've been treating our local builders pretty poorly for decades. For the record I haven't ridden Retallack and I put a lot of my own time into our local trail system in Nelson. Clearing, digging and riding. my two bits
  • + 1
 thanks for the answers... good to know.
  • + 3
 @leelau: There are actually rules and laws. The model you lay out strongly favors the operator. We have a right to access crown land. The permitting that allows them to build trails and operate is based on the publics right to continued crown land access. ( there would be a section in their recreational land use permit, that describes how they manage encounters with the public)

If we keep letting operators get away with actively restricting public access now, what is it going to look like as the industry grows in 10, 20 years? With more recreational land use permits? ... granted retalak is pretty unique, comparative to other ops... but what would stop an op uesing a public trail, then in the future trying to restrict access ... and all this crosses over to the cat/heli industry.

The only way someone can effectively, and legally restrict access to crown land is if they own private land that surrounds the crown land, or of the only access point is through the private land... and I suspect that a tool they use to restrict access.
  • + 3
 @conv3rt: "Okay, but do you pay money to all the people who built trails in Nakusp, Kaslo, New Denver, Nelson and Castlegar? Sorry, serious question."

This is what I do. Again not calling anyone out here. If I ride a place and like it I try to find out who the trail associations are and donate to them. If like New Denver 6 years ago when there was no trail association I hunt down the local bike shop or local bike dude and give them cash + beer. I do a pile of trailwork so tend to empathize with the trailbuilders I guess.

Anyhow I haven't ridden the Retallack trails since the early days of RilorWilderness so am not aware of how the Retallack crew feel about public using their trails. Like many have said (with which I fundamentally agree); trail on public land can be ridden by public. But FOR ME, I like to try to make an effort to find out what the locals want. At least to the best of my ability. And I'm not suggesting everyone has to go this effort
  • + 2
 @cmcrawfo: "There are actually rules and laws."

Totally understood and agreed. And understood that I am probably overly deferential to the operator. But TO ME, it's so easy to move on to other stuff that doesn't bug the operator that I almost always just do that

"The model you lay out strongly favors the operator."

Agreed. And also agreed that its highly situational. When the operator is a local who's busting ass to make a go of it I tend to keep away during their high season. But I'd be lying if I said that I never rode someone's trail in their CRA or their tenure knowing that they can't really squawk about it
  • + 2
 @leelau: I appreciate your take on respecting other people's work. To me though, riding trails like that on Crown land isn't per se disrespectful and courtesy on public lands goes both ways. Generally, I wouldn't expect a private heli drop to avoid an area on Crown land that's free of a commercial tenure because members of the public are present and conversely entities with certain commercial tenures on Crown land probably wouldn't/shouldn't expect the public to avoid an area where they have a tenure because paying customers happen to be present.

From what I can tell, this also seems to be how it's done in the Kootenays. It's not an exclusive pay for access scheme where the public should avoid public land when paying guests are present. The folks at Retallack know this full well as you don't just go to the corner store and pick up an adventure tourism tenure.
  • + 2
 They actually have a locals weekend and give the experience to them for free. @Bomadics:
  • + 1
 trails are on the strava heat map!
  • + 3
 This last summer me and a buddy hike a biked texas peak on a quiet day when retallack wasn't guiding. My logic is that if you are willing to hump a dh sled 3:30 hours up a steep peak then you have earned your right of passage.Shuttling the lower trails is a different story but as much as retallack may not want you to ride their trails public land is public land.
  • + 3
 I want to go ride my bike! Great content!
  • + 2
 Now that is a TeamBuilding event!
  • + 2
 Is there any place in EU that offers similar riding experience?
  • + 2
 We at Ride Slovenia offer something similar. Some of our trails are pretty backcountry that we have developed ourselves and we are the only people that ride them. I see Retallacks biggest descent is 1800m, ours is 1600m. But we don't have a helicopter, just a gondola I'm afraid.
  • + 1
 Sorry I was signed in on somebody elses profile^. You can find us RideSlovenia.com
  • + 2
 There’s lots of other trails to ride in our area other than Retallack.
  • + 2
 This place seems like such a gem. One day, one day.........
  • + 2
 Looks to be an amazing place. Can I come next time??
  • + 1
 what bikes did you find were best for the terrain, DH or Enduro?
  • + 1
 You are always going to have fun on a DH bike with shuttle and helicopter accessible descents. Saying that, I have ridden here on a Remedy and a Slash and felt right at home. I would certainly recommend a full face.
  • + 1
 Anyone have any idea what this music is called?
  • + 2
 “no dice lil peanut”
  • + 2
 Raffle please?
  • + 1
 Where is this? Looks like fun - I wanna go there now! Smile
  • + 5
 Google is telling me its either a Resort and Spa in Cornwall, UK, or somewhere in British Columbia. TBH, both sound good, but I'd go with the latter.
  • + 4
 Between Kalso and New Denver in BC, north of Nelson, South of Revelstoke.
  • + 1
 SRAM money right there!
  • + 1
 Looks awesome!
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