INTERVIEW: JAMES DOERFLING
James Doerfling is one of the current kings of big mountain riding, consistently laying down fast, burly lines that wouldn't be out of place in a ski or snowboard film. Much like a surfer, his season consists of a constant search to find the perfect line, one that will challenge him to push his skills to the limit. We spoke with James to find out about last season, as well as what he has planned for the future. Based on the number of videos you appeared in it looks like last season was a busy one. Is there any trip in particular that stands out?
Yeah, last season was fun for sure, with a ton of cool trips. I did a trip with Kenny Smith, Margus Riga and Riley McIntosh to the Yukon that was probably one of my favorites. Just seeing how much untouched terrain there is up there was insane. We did a couple sick days of riding in the city of Whitehorse with Boreale Biking and I was blown away by the trails there – it was all time. Photographer Margus Riga accompanied you on a number of those trips. Any good Margus stories you'd like to share?
There are way too many to choose from. I have been lucky enough to work with Margus a lot over the past few years and every trip is always a good adventure. You've been able to travel extensively over the last few seasons. What has been your favorite spot to ride so far?
I have to say that the Gobi Desert in China is at the top of my list. For big mountain riding it is by far the best place I have ever seen, it is truly endless there.
Photo sequence by John Wellburn What's going through your mind just before you roll into a drop as big as that monster in Williams Lake?
With that one the scariest thing was that it had a totally blind take off, like a diving board. Other than that I just try and be confident and know 100% that I can stick it. With moves like that if you're not confident that's when shit's going to go wrong. Red Bull Rampage didn't exactly go as planned for you this year – what happened?
Well on my first run I had a stupid mistake right at the beginning where my front wheel washed out... that really sucked. And my second run went well besides not getting to hit the Icon Sender, if I could have tied that in I think I would have scored really well, but I just didn't feel confident on the speed I was getting for it with my line into it. The tank top seems to have become your signature piece of apparel – do you own any shirts with sleeves?
People seem to dig it, so why stop now? How often do you get out on the dirt bike? Is your skill level similar to what you do on a mountain bike - are you throwing Indian airs and riding rowdy big mountain lines?
Nah, I'm not tricking on my moto... yet. I got into xc, trail riding on my moto last fall a lot and find it really fun and awesome cross-training for mountain biking. You're one of the few riders who has been able to build their careers more on filming and less on competition results. If there was a multi-stop big mountain / freeride competition would you be interested?
I would be in for sure! With how big Rampage is I don't see why it hasn't been done already. It would be huge for our sport and would change things up a bit rather then just slopestyle and dirt jump events all season long. Where do you see big mountain riding going? In the ski and snowboard world we've seen more technical tricks being thrown on backcountry lines – is that the future for mountain biking as well?
That's what I am trying to do, the whole pursuit and exploration of trying to find these big lines is what I love most about it. It might take me a whole season to find that perfect chute line to trick into and ride, I think that's the next level for sure and where I'm trying to bring our sport. If you could only ride one bike for the entire season, which one would it be?
My trusty steed the Knolly Podium. What do you do to occupy your time when you're not crushing berms and blasting off massive jumps?
You'll usually find me rippin' my moto/quad or out fishing or hunting, anything outside or wrenching on my truck.. It's a never ending battle. The music in your edits tends to be on the heavier side, a good fit for the lines you're riding. What bands / songs would we find on your ideal playlist?
I actually listen to mostly country, but I like all types of music, rock is better suited for a mountain biking edit in my opinion. What would you be doing if you weren't a professional mountain biker?
If I wasn't riding bikes I would probably be up north on the oil fields; I already was for a while. What projects and trips do you have planned for the 2014 season?
A big chunk of the season I will be focusing filming a segment for a new feature film that's yet to be named, and other than that a lot of web edit stuff and then headed back to the Yukon as well. Are there any sponsors you'd like to thank?
Big shout outs to Knolly Bikes, SR Suntour Suspension, Onza Tires, Joystick Components, Lizard Skins, Novatec Wheels, HT Pedals, Giro Helmets, 100% Eyewear, E-Thirteen, Hope Brakes, MyPakage UnderWear, Cane Creek, Red Shreds Bike & Board Shed, Caribou Mountain Bike Consortium, Mom. Thanks for the support!Photos: Margus Riga