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Posts tagged ‘freeride’

Stevens Pass Bike Park gets final approval

Stoked Stevens crew (in Wy.), though I’m sure that feeling translates to efforts at home. Nabbed from Steven’s FB page.

Announcement: Stevens Pass Bike Park has won final approval from the Forest Service. Concerns of all appealing parties have been addressed. Finances are in place and if La Nina doesn’t overstay her welcome next summer, construction on Phase One trails will begin.

That’s all according to an interview that KOHO 101.1 FM did with Joel Martinez, director of operations, and Chris Rudolph, director of marketing, for Stevens Pass last week.

For the past five years, planning, environmental reviews and federal permitting have been churning through their respectable redtape processes. And now the Forest Service has finally approved the bike park’s construction after reviewing appellants’ concerns about wolverines and local tribes. All concerns have been wholly addressed and shovels can break soil.

Obviously though, winter will be here before you can “deeiiiialed.” So you’ll have to stick to your usual shredding haunts for now; construction won’t start until 2011. Martinez told KOHO: “We’re just now starting to see the colors turn up here and with the La Nina forecast on the horizon, it’s time to batten down the hatches and get ready for an epic snow season.”

Fine by me. As I see it, it’ll be an amazing winter, deep pow, we’ll get our fix. You know—face shots, all the goods we’re still hunkering for after last “season.” And then, we get to witness the beginnings of our own backyard lift-accessed bike park. Who… wants cake??

Still, the crew is hedging, just in case: “We’re going to take the winter as it comes and if La Nina does what it does, it’ll give us quite a bit of snow, and we’ll get started next summer depending on how much snow is on the ground,” Martinez said.

Whenever the ribbon is finally cut, expect to see five trails initially. Phase One will consist of three machine-excavated jump lines (a green circle, blue square and black diamond), as well as two hand-cut singletracks, according to Martinez. Bike rentals will be available and food operations, open.

Duthie marked a huge success for the local riding community; it’s something you can mention when you’re away from home. Now, a lift-accessed bike park will only bolster Washington’s reputation as serious riding region. Plus, it’ll provide a certain homebase for the locals. A beacon in the drizzle, if you will. As Rudolph says: “It’s really going to make Stevens Pass a year-round anchor for our community.”

Here’s to the mountains. Here’s to five years of hard work, and a dedicated crew.

Stay tuned.


Gear Review: Dakine Women’s 2010 Cross X mtb gloves

When I think of Dakine, I think (beyond packs) gloves. The company’s got a well-deserved hold of the winter market.

I recently got a hold of their Women’s Cross X mountain bike gloves.

And I put them to the ultimate test immediately, at Whistler Mountain Bike Park—for two days of wickedly intense riding in a women’s downhill and freeride mountain bike camp.

I’ve been riding in them many times since.

Check out how they stack up:

Aesthetically, they’re badass. They’ve got a moto feel going on with thick padding across the knuckles and the back of the hand. Graphically, it’s carved up by stitching, giving the gloves a robo look.

That padding is the reason they’ve become my downhill gloves. I take them out when we’re going to go fast and down scary ‘ish. The extra protection is going to save the hand against trees or rocks, or if you roll the disastrous OTB.

Turn the gloves over and an extra-thick chunk of padding is located at the base of the palm. This sensitive area of the hand rubs constantly against the grips. Adding that comfy cushion makes these gloves ideal for long rides, saving the hand from fatigue or soreness.

The wrists on are covered with Neoprene, which protects against sudden impacts, but remains soft and comfy on the skin.

These gloves are for intense all-mountain, freeride and xc riding, so Dakine’s used synthetic suede material for the palms, adding a double layer at the base of the fingers where your hand creates the greatest friction with the grips. It’s a comfort- and durability-thing.

Laced on to the two cockpit fingertips are silicone strips for grippier control on the brake levers.

Both of the thumbs are covered with soft terry cloth for snotty noses or wiping away sweat. It’s those little luxuries that are appreciated far out on the trail.

These gloves are a bit on the warmer/heavier side due to all the protection they’re packin’. They do have a nylon-mesh back, but the holes don’t fully punctuate the glove. They’re less likely to rip on a fall, but you compromise breathability.

As performance-driven as they are, the Cross Xs are pretty comfy; though you’re definitely aware that you’ve got them on. They’re not as low-profile as all-mountain gloves that incorporate “next-to-skin” elasticity. But when you’re about to graze a tree or wreck, you’re not too worried about low-profile or ultimate comfort.

The one caveat to these gloves is that the lining between the fingers and stretching over the fingertips, is really thin—probably to keep the gloves as comfy, cool and low-profile as possible. But it also results in less durability. After three months, I’m starting to see wear in the fingertips.

Overall, the Cross Xs have great protection and comfort elements for super gnarly and long rides. They are a bit on the warmer side. And depending on how gnarly you are, these gloves may, or may not, make it through your entire season. But at less than $30 a pair, your hands will be stoked (and badass) for that season.

Me, being very un-badass; except for my hands. Well…my matching outfit is pretty badass, isn’t it?


Gloves provided by Dakine.

Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park Grand Opening

Never mind Whistler Mountain Bike Park’s opening day, the local mountain bike community had something more personal to rejoice over this past weekend—the grand opening of the Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park. And a celebration it was. After more than 6,000 volunteer hours put into creating the ultimate local freeride and cross-country playground, it was time for a beer, a rally and some riding. Vendor tents punctuated with vibrancy the wooded ambiance in this secluded and quiet neck of forest in the 120-acre Duthie Hill park on the Issaquah Plateau. Reps worked the day dialing in demo bikes. Komo 4 News was on hand to get the scoop. And by way of a hearty raffle, some lucky folks went home stoked with some new gear. I think everyone was a little surprised by the massive turnout of friends and family. This day has definitely been anticipated; Duthie hasn’t been a secret. But it’s been steady work over the past year (planning started six years ago) and I think everyone was ready to high-five to a project well done.

Morning showers greeted early birds and turned the entire day into a greasy, mud-splattered festival. Nothing could have been more a celebration of dirt. The clearing served as home-base and from all directions riders entered upon the scene from the network of trails laced around the park. Every level of rider is catered to here, from groms trying to get their first feet of air off the little jumps and drops, to the elite huckers schralping down the DWB and Dirt Corps, Big Tree and High Life slopestyle lines. Duthie’s also got skinnies, bermy xc singletrack and elaborate woodwork. And this is just Phase 1.

It’s teetering on cliché to note that many of these craftsmen builders were once constructing illegal trails and stunts in the surrounding mountains, but that’s the truth of the heart of Duthie. The consensus is that everyone’s stoked to finally have a their own sanctioned piece of the earth to sculpt—stuff that won’t get torn down and trails that aren’t steaming with horse poop.

So keep your pedals on the pulse and look forward to Phase 2. We’re hearing something about more freeride, more xc, dirt jumps, maybe?

Diamondback demo bikes ready for unharnessing

Sea Otter, Interbike, Crankworx….DUTHIE HILL

Evil bikes showed up; Billy Lewis says, what’s up

Mike Brown Brand manager for Diamondback gives the world the inside story

Diamondback and Gravity rider Billy Lewis and Diamondback marketing man Jon Kennedy came out to play

Local filmer/photographer Walter Yi was in attendance


Two new kiosks make things legit

Woodwork, goodwork


Yours truly

Diamondback and Duthie Hill Park

Two things. First, I’ve been alluding to Billy’s new sponsor for a while but haven’t yet said who it is: Diamondback. DB is building up a new mountain bike team after being without one for years and brought Billy on board to rep their bikes hard. So he said adios to Tonic Fabrication, whose hardtails he’d been shredding on, and hello to the fleet of steeds Diamondback is putting under him. That begins with the hardtail Assault, a beautiful 26 inch jump bike; and the Scapegoat, a burly full-suspension freeride bike–both with Fox forks. Billy’s super stoked to say the least. Diamondback’s pumped, and you can keep up with the news on their blog and see a quick Q&A Billy did for it here.

Second, finally made it out to Duthie! Tis the rainy season now and Billy and I got caught in it on both of our visits to the region’s newest mountain bike playground, but as Washington never fails to surprise, we got these shots of Billy on his new DB Scapegoat during a short sun break.

Duthie is located on the Issaquah Plateau and is fully funded by King County grant money and community donations. It’s a testament to the hard work of the local mtb crews who have spent many volunteer hours digging and building some decently big stuff for the sake of their own desires and those of the larger mountain bike community. As of now, there are a couple of pretty big flowy technical jump lines, some super fun bermy runs and a beginners’ section with little tabletops and jumps. For xc riders there’s a handful of trails that are all supposed to connect to one another in a clover desgin.

For now Duthie is on the small side as far as offerings, but the park is still being built. Plus, it’s a in beautiful section of the woods and though my pictures don’t do justice to the scenery, trust me, that swath of forest is designed for shooting and filming in.

The boy and his bike: