A behind-the-scenes look at Sid Slotegraaf’s unfinished business above the town of Squamish BC, and the film that it inspired.
This film has a unique set of circumstances surrounding the timeline, Sid and his wife Roxy were moving back east to Ontario. They were leaving our mountain bike wonderland of Squamish to return to what Sid called “Real Life”. “Squamish isn’t real Life” he’d say. We had a month…
The plan looked easy on paper; build a brand new trail full of stunts (stunts that work) and film a pure riding segment on it. Simple, right?
Adamant to build a new unique trail to shoot, our team was tired of either making or watching edits shot on the same old Squamish trails. Even with Sid’s less than traditional approach to these trails, like airing huge into Dave Reid’s 'In and Out Burger’ trail or making the Hoods in the Woods drop even gnarlier by hipping it from the rock, we knew we needed to build something fresh.
Time flew by and we were having trouble finding good spots, and we considered returning to our day jobs. Rob Dunnet brought the morale back on track; he had scouted a piece of terrain a few years ago that he figured would work for this. After one walk through of the terrain we were fired up!
Down to three weeks to build, ride, and shoot the film. Sid started the build solo. Leading again to frustrations, there was too much trail to cut, too many trannies to be filled and stunts to be built. Another fork in the road, do we pull the pin and shoot something on someone else’s trail? This project was a well-needed reminder that trail building by hand is a decent amount of work, and cannot be rushed.
Thankfully, a solid crew of friends and absolute pinners on bikes were keen to build, namely Stefan Shier, Ryan Standerwick, Chris Letourneau, Tim Crosby, Joel Ducrot, Alex Currie and Indy the dog. The bucket brigade attacked, perfecting the ‘farmer’s walk’ from our gold mines to the big transitions.
Building through coastal rainstorms and their antithesis coastal heat waves, we nailed our timing and managed to build all of the clear-cut features in the blistering sun. Our crew, equally as blistering as the sun, was closing in on completing the trail, though our timeline to shoot the film had now dwindled down to five days. Easy, that’s two whole days more than we need…
He was on a tear, putting his move east together and literally, tearing some of the muscles in his AC joint in a big crash while wrapping up another film project. After some emergency physio from the magicians at Reach Physio Therapy we were back on track. Pushing their departure date by two days, we had three days to shoot. Cue Scott Secco, upon Scott’s arrival we got down to business.
Not wanting to blow his shoulder on the first shot, our strategy was to film the lower risk moves and features first, leaving the high-risk features for the end. Due to some unfortunate scheduling, (Scott Secco is a busy man, perhaps the hardest working filmmaker in action sports) our timeline was even slimmer, now down to two days.
3:00pm on the last day: Sid has removed the ladder extension to the big drop, confidently dropping in only to come up three inches short, exploding his wheel in the process. Amazingly unscathed, we tweak the entrance to provide slightly more speed. Racing the light, we are back at Sid’s place, truing an old wheel, looking for spacers and mounting the tire. Arriving back at the trail, just in time for the sun to set. Sid scrambles to the top, helmet on ready to send it…
Even with the ISO cranked on Scott’s Red camera, we can’t see much through the screen—it's too dark and not worth the risk, we call it.
Sid Slotegraaf has some unfinished business…
Our trail ‘Havatter’ isn’t on Trailforks or your local trail map, but if you want to hit some jumps, grab your bike, you’re welcome to have at er!
Thanks, in no particular order:
Stefan Shier, Ryan Standerwick, Rob Dunnet, Roxy Slotegraaf, Scott Secco, Mark Mackay, Joel Ducrot, Kevin, Kyle and Lars, Sam Richards, Alex Currie
Special Thanks to Steven Park and Jack Pittens – @ninepointeight-9point8
Video: Scott Secco – @scottsecco
Photography: Mark McKay – @Magz
Article: Kevin Landry – @KLandry