Video: A Day In The Life Of A Trail Builder

Mar 24, 2021
by Pinkbike Originals  


Those trails don't make themselves! Christina Chappetta spent a day with SORCA's Dave Reid and Ben Haggar to get the lowdown on what a day in the life of a trail builder is like.

Special thanks to SORCA, Dave Reid & Ben Haggar for their time and dedication.








126 Comments

  • 172 23
 They left out the part where they smoke a bunch of pot.
  • 37 9
 Yea not really. These guys are high on life.
  • 19 15
 Pot smokers make great trails in their own heads.
  • 56 1
 I was gonna build some trail... but then I got high... Actually, in all honesty, I highly doubt either of these builders indulge hahah their lunch boxes were so healthy and thought out compared to my bag of chips and cookies.
  • 3 0
 Certainly more porridge than pancake these two blokes.
  • 16 2
 it is the most important tool for trail building
  • 16 2
 My top three favorite tools for building are the big ass rogue hoe, fiskars d-handle spade, and that sweet sweet sticky herb. Fackin go all day with some snacks and tunes.
  • 2 141
flag barbarosza (Mar 24, 2021 at 15:08) (Below Threshold)
 @christinachappetta: Fair enough I dont even know why would people wonder if they puff or not,but we did mention you gained some over the winter Christie !!! So more water less juice and cut the sweets n chips !
  • 49 0
 @barbarosza: what is wrong with you?
  • 1 1
 Yeah, well, the "old man" as Christina called him looks like one of my eldest sons. So he's gotta be minimal toker at the most !
  • 10 1
 @barbarosza: in the pinkbike academy, thought she looked fit as hell.
  • 18 0
 @barbarosza: dude. U r a f'ing loser.
  • 9 1
 @barbarosza: What in the actual fu$k are you on about?!
  • 14 0
 @barbarosza: make no mistake, guy.
; why do you think it's OK to say something so f*cking stupid? Christina is awesome and deserves respect accordingly. I guess that making a considered judgement about what you're typing would be advisable in future otherwise someone's going to punch you so hard in the stomach your pants will fall down.
  • 9 0
 @barbarosza know how i know you're a douchebag?
  • 1 18
flag barbarosza (Mar 25, 2021 at 13:24) (Below Threshold)
 @CRAFTY-P: Jesus f*cking Christ ...... savage...... christ its was maybe meant to be helpfulll ..... anyhow cant that be taken as a f*cking joke ? Christ I love all of her work it was just a comment ....... I dont see how thats THAT MEAN .... chill the f*ck down all of you
  • 6 0
 @barbarosza: C’mon mate, you openly suggested she’s put on weight, and said she should change her diet.

A: you don’t do that
B: you just don’t do that
C: it’s none of your business what she does
  • 54 0
 SORCA is awesome.

being a girlfriend to a very devoted trail builder.. i see the entire weekends, the after work nights, the money on nails, gas, chainsaws, (beer) that goes into all of it. makes you appreciate the entire sport even more, trail builders truly are the backbone of mountain biking
  • 23 1
 Please tell you girlfriend/boyfriend thanks for the devotion that we all get to benefit from. It is very much appreciated
  • 1 0
 doublepost
  • 33 3
 Last night, I was helping on some maintenance on a trail that some horse riders used when it was muddy (leaving a solid amount of trail damage in their wake).

We just got done fixing a muddy section that was still too damp to ride when MTBer comes through and leaves a nice mark right in front of us. Didn't say a word lol. Two more guys came up, saw us, walked around the mud, and said thank you for helping with trail work. That was the right approach haha.
  • 26 2
 Unfortunately such rapid growth in the sport comes with people who don't know / don't care about trail etiquette. Gotta educate people.
  • 11 2
 @Jvhowube: I didn't feel like getting into an argument with him at the time, but you are right, he did look new to the sport.

The equestrians should have known better though. I don't think they give a shit about how much damage they cause.
  • 5 3
 That's the way she goes! Can't knock other users/user groups on multi-use trails!

I ran a trail day for a high school mtb team where we did maintenance and it was wet so the kids walked out uphill. I had to walk downhill back to my tool stash. On my way down I encountered an equestrian on the way up the trail to our fresh work (and had never seen an equestrian on that trail ever). All I could do is smile and wave. If putting up a new trail I have tried to make entrances/exits un-attractive to other user groups (e.g. steep roll, big low branches, etc.)

It's nice when people respect fresh work, but not everyone knows/cares to...
  • 11 0
 @dglass: I wonder if the horse appreciated it. I hope so. It must have felt seriously nice on the old clip-clops right?
  • 1 3
 @dglass: I am saying a mountain biker passed us on the wet trail while we were maintaining it because of damage from equestrians.
  • 7 0
 @owenbfoster: Yeah horses love to shred fresh loamers. Feels nice and squishy on the clopper.
  • 3 0
 @dglass: Boise doesn't have loam. It has clay and hard dirt that leaves a mold of whatever steps on it while wet.
  • 4 0
 @HB208: Part of the problem is equestrians give way too much shit. They leave shit everywhere!
  • 8 1
 @HB208: the equestrians love wrecking trails and not helping with maintenance around here. The demographic has changed a lot with this group tho over the last 20 yrs, pretty much it's just a herd of Karen's anymore on horses
  • 9 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: That's what it is near me as well. They are honestly the most entitled users you will come by in the area. They have no issue trashing trails, never help with cleanup, are usually rude on the trail, etc.
  • 1 0
 @HB208: I remember when it seemed like horses boned boise trails the most in the winter. That has changed a bit the last few years.
  • 1 0
 @Doogster: Yeah, the people boning the trails this year were mostly new resident hikers that don't know better and/or people that needed stuff to do during COVID.
  • 9 0
 @HB208: No shit had someone scream their head off and threaten me when I waved my buddies following me to slow down. "if you spook this horse and bucks me, I am gonna whoop your ass!"

If your horse sucks that much keep it off busy multi use trails.
  • 7 0
 @Doogster: Yeah, WTF. The horse rule should be like the dog rule: If you can't keep your horse under control, don't bring your horse on busy trails. It always rubs me the wrong way when they go on busy trails in the Military Reserve and then scowl at everyone.
  • 3 0
 @HB208: The technical term for that kinda damage is "postholing ".
  • 4 0
 @dglass: Dude, this horse for sure does! m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbP-aOwdqvU
  • 2 0
 Shoot man, that's happened so many times. One time, I just had it and made an entire crew of riders go back to the top of the trail and fix everything they messed up! it was all fresh dirt in the middle of winter with big'ol redwood branches blocking all the features! I was PISSSSSED!
  • 4 2
 @artistformlyknowasdan: the worst ones are on eHorses. Super fat c*nts with too much money if you axe me.
  • 4 0
 @HB208: don’t forget that the shit spreads the seed of weeds and other plants that often shouldn’t be in the areas that they are riding - at least that’s the case in NSW, Australia
  • 31 3
 Wildly incorrect, trail building consists of building for 15 mins accidently getting too drunk off craft beers to continue building and then having a fire instead
  • 23 0
 hahah "where did that pile of cedar go?" woops, burned! These guys are paid professionals so they lollygag a lot less than my usual day of digging, which last exactly 2 hours or 2 beers, whichever comes first.
  • 5 0
 Same here but with 4locos....
  • 21 0
 Thanks to all involved (in the video, and builders in general). I would love to see more builder content on pinkbike to raise awareness of how much effort goes in to these trails, and explaining why things are built they way they are.
  • 3 0
 Yes. This. There are so many newcomers to my local trails. Most people assume the trails are built and maintained by the county park employees. When in fact it is our group of local riders who do all the work.
  • 17 0
 Trail work really is rewarding. Every time you ride a trail you made yourself, or just a section that you repaired/improved you get a sense of accomplishment. Plus swinging a mattock and smashing stuff is a great stress relief after long day in the office.
  • 17 0
 Well done guys. Can't thank Dave and Ben enough. Dave quit his comfortable 9-5 job and changed his career a few years back and Sorca is a much stronger organization because of it. There are too many countless people in the Squamish community that put so much love into the trails.
  • 10 0
 So very true! Love our communities and have countless builders to thank for their work and continued efforts. Dave has personally built over 13 trails! and maintains many many more. What a legend
  • 2 0
 Leaving a legacy behind, and for future generations to enjoy.
I wish we had a better form of trail association here; ours is split between too many groupings, usually between Parks staff and or individual cycling clubs, and as a result, there are too many legislative restraints put in place to protect government agencies from potential law suits. It's slowly changing, but in ten years, we still don't have drops bigger than 2ft.
  • 15 0
 Hey Pinkbike, will there be another Trailforks trail donation event again this year? That was a great idea to entice people with potentially winning prizes when donating to trail builders.
  • 6 0
 I think there is something in the works :-) That was a HUGE success. Surpassed everyone's expectations
  • 8 0
 @christinachappetta: It would be super cool if Pinkbike did a series on local trail building in different areas.
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta so many salt of the earth trail builders out there. Different regions, different styles of trails. Please, more trail videos!
  • 15 1
 I built that bridge (poorly) in 2006. Didn't know to strip the bark. Its seen some action, surprised it lasted this long.
  • 3 0
 Your work has lasted a long time
  • 1 0
 Your bridge has lasted longer than 90% of these guys on these comments relationships
  • 2 0
 Thanks bud!
  • 12 0
 More content like this! Teach us things! Trail etiquette, trail maintenance, bike tech. Like it or not you are the spiritual leaders of the MTB community.
  • 1 0
 Also, a rundown on "best tools" (photos only please) would be a great feature.
  • 7 0
 There’s much satisfaction to be gained from helping to build and maintain trails, especially as you get a great appreciation of what is involved. As someone who helps regularly as a volunteer with the DTV in the FOD, it’s something I’ve enjoyed very much.
The frustrating thing is finding that some riders blatantly ignore trail closures and ride the trails when they’re not finished or ready to be ridden, creating more work and delaying the opening. Even more frustrating when the riders responsible then stick a video on their YouTube channel boasting about their exploits.
  • 2 0
 inspired me to sign up to DTY - love FOD.
  • 9 1
 Hey California's! This is what it should really look like. P.S. Thank you to everyone who maintains our legal trail systems and fights for their access
  • 17 0
 You're preaching to the choir about our lack of legal trails bud. Don't forget to thank those who build and maintain our illegal trails.
  • 4 0
 Too easy to say...

From the guy who’s favorite trail is mailboxes SMH.
  • 3 0
 @leviatanouroboro: bahahaha top notch comment. But real-talk mailboxes is classic Santa Cruz riding. Just watch out for those beatles, lol
  • 2 1
 @leviatanouroboro: what can I say its a good trail. If there was more legal riding i wouldn't have to ride it. Whoever built it thanks to you!
  • 1 2
 @labrinsky: I wonder what projects the California Mountain Biking Association is working on.

And yes those who build illegal trails are making life more enjoyable ????
  • 13 4
 Helping pirate trail builders is more important than helping organizations build. Change my mind
  • 18 0
 I'd wager most pirates don't want help... the less eyeballs the better.
  • 7 0
 @Gmang: Agree to a point. Where I am damn near every single worth while trail is “illegal”
  • 10 0
 Guess it depends where you live. Up here, Worca, Sorca, and Porca (Whistler, Squamish, Pemby) do a great job maintaining our vast trail networks, have access to the most resources, and get local government support. Supporting these organizations makes the most sense where I live.
  • 9 0
 "Helping pirate trail builders is more important than helping organizations build. "

You can do both
  • 8 0
 Can anyone explain what he means at 3:28? "The trail builder put [the slat] down grain flat instead of grain up." I build trails and feel this is important information.
  • 6 0
 When it's split cedar has a grain to it. You can feel the grain if you run your hand lightly against it- sort of a light frictioned texture.

Put the split rung with the grain vertical or grain up when you nail it into a bridge or a stunt. As the (vertical) grain of the cedar wears it'll have that same vertical texture exposed which will have friction.
  • 2 0
 @leelau: Thanks so much for your reply. I get what you're saying now--bark-side down.
  • 1 0
 If you look at the end grain of a plank you also want to orient the piece with the growth rings or smile facing up... Then when the wood cups the plank won’t rock on the stringers and come loose! Also, when you drive in your nails angle them towards each other which helps lock the piece down.
  • 1 0
 @rosco1: Super helpful and precise advice! Thank you! Smiley face up! Smile I'm currently starting a bridge build with two corners (an S shape) and all these details help.
  • 8 0
 Great work Christina, I've never heard Dave so concise...unless there's still 40mins of footage on the cutting room floor?
  • 10 0
 hahaha the best part was he had NO intention of talking on the camera but we got him to open up :-)
  • 5 0
 @christinachappetta: Awesome that you even got him in front of a camera. "old man Dave!" has a wealth of knowledge behind him in many sports. Miss hanging with him...
  • 2 1
 @christinachappetta: Hey listen I absolutely adore all the content that you put so much effort in and by no means did I realize I was actually being a dick with my previous comment.I gave it a second thought and I realize it can be hurtful.This is an opened and truthfull apology and please dont ever get discouraged by any means comments or remarks sent it by frustrated keyboard warriors fat f*cks like myself.Please continue to believe in your work cause its amaizing where you are at !

Andrei.
  • 7 0
 More content like this! Teach us things! Trail etiquette, trail maintenance, bike tech. Like it or not you are the spiritual leaders of the MTB community.
  • 4 1
 @Christinachappetta : Hey listen I absolutely adore all the content that you put so much effort in and by no means did I realize I was actually being a dick with my previous comment.I gave it a second thought and I realize it can be hurtful.This is an opened and truthfull apology and please dont ever get discouraged by any means comments or remarks sent it by frustrated keyboard warriors fat f*cks like myself.Please continue to believe in your work cause its amaizing where you are at !

Andrei.
  • 2 0
 Never easy to apologize, requires a lot of humility !
  • 4 0
 We need a community beer donation Dropbox for the great work our trail builders do.
  • 1 0
 A yes the annual "Thank a Trailbuilder" flick by everyone thanking the builder in the comments then riding forever without ever putting in a single minute of trailwork through the year. (except that one fella offended by this post)
  • 3 0
 Excellent video! So important to remind folks of the hard work that goes into all the rad trails we get to enjoy. Thanks.
  • 3 0
 Great input and congrats to all the trail builders out there!
  • 2 0
 What's the going rate for a trail builder using a machine and without a machine these days?
  • 3 0
 Shovel and rakes into every new bike-box
  • 2 1
 Nice to see proper sawyer work versus the usual bubba-backyard-gonna-cut-a-leg-off-one-day stuff other folks do. Seems like a legit group!
  • 2 0
 Nothing more rewarding then riding something you built. Especially when it actually works and you don't have to rebuild it.
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta I'll have to challenge your opinion on rocks in Squamish, I'll show you where you get 10 buckets of rocks to find a bucket of dirt on an entire hill!
  • 2 0
 how they manage to stay so clean. I would be more dirty event walking from parking to wet woods. Big Grin
  • 3 0
 Yes, more trail build and maintain videos. So much untapped content.
  • 3 0
 i guess Griffen was in school so they got Dave instead
  • 2 0
 As a organic gardener/mtb'er who lives in utah, that BC 2tone soil is like dirt porn.
  • 4 1
 "rona" bucket - irony
  • 1 0
 "Old man Dave Reid"???????????? funny but true.
Dave rules! Squamish is a better place because of him and his family.
  • 1 0
 @Fullsend2-13: if ya pick up a shovel you could be thanking yourself too (;
  • 1 0
 Those aren't just trail builders, they're friggin' lumberjacks! Cutting their own boards by (mostly) hand! Impressive!!!
  • 1 0
 if i made that much noise building, i'd be in a california jail. oh canada.
  • 1 0
 Men stopped doing logs these days. They're making vlogs instead... Happily we have this guys
  • 2 0
 'Old Man' Dave Reid LOL
  • 1 0
 Nice slow mo fill of the Home Depot bucket *thumbs up*
  • 1 0
 come on Christina, i want to see someone riding that feature.
  • 1 0
 Been buildin trails professionally for 5 years, never looked back. Smile
  • 1 0
 But would you work for free again?
  • 1 0
 Dave Reid and Ben Haggar are dreamy
  • 1 0
 Cheers to SORCA and pb for putting this video together.
  • 1 1
 happy to come help if Trudeau lets me into the country Smile
  • 1 0
 Haha, nice thumbnail Smile
  • 2 5
 or don't donate to organizations that take over trails and widen the road.....let trails be trails for mt. bicyclists. Say "No" to trail orgrs

CM!
  • 1 0
 Widen the road? Are you saying trail orgs only make bike park wide trail? I guess you can always gatekeep but you better have some damn loyal friends.
  • 1 1
 @vindee: yes they typically widen trails. I don't make friends with mountain bicyclists typically

CM!
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