A Quick Aside for a Mountain Bike Oasis
July 06, 2011
On the drive back from Alberta following the 2011 Ride To Conquer Cancer in Calgary we took the long way back through a small town called Hinton. Nestled onto the Eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains Hinton is a town of less than 10,000 people. There is something special about Hinton though that makes it unique and a cut above many other towns of its size.
Over the course of the last three years, Norco Factory Team rider Jay Hoots has poured his heart and soul into this little mountain town in the dream of creating an oasis of mountain biking. This dream is a reality as after three years work, Jay has made one of the most progressive trail systems in North America.
Given a plot of land and buy-in from the city, Jay has developed a skills park and network of trails resembling the iconic trail styles that are seen and copied around North America. From North-Shore style bridgework to gravity defying slopestyle and even pump track-esque descents there is something of every flavour for nearly every rider.
The trail system that Jay has put together consists of 14 trails that play a game of snakes and ladders up and around the gentle sloping terrain. Winding up through the mix of trails the grade is gentle and short. While the elevation gain is substantial, it is seemingly effortless at the same time. The groomed nature of the trails along with the grin from ear to ear distracts from the climb.
Once up to the top there are a number of different trails that offer a top to bottom run completing the loop. The first and most recently completed trail was Flow Master. This trail is a series of tables, rollers, burms and other stoke-inducing features winding the whole way down. Resembling iconic trails such as Half-Nelson out of Squamish or Crank It Upin Whistler. This is a mini-edition that is easy enough for a novice yet offers small nuances that can challenge even the seasoned veteran.
After carving around from the bottom of Flow Master, the next trail we hit was Slope Wars. This trail is a Slopestyle trail featuring a ton of woodwork. Getting some air is as easy as it gets on this trail. Best of all though, the whole thing can be rolled if you are feeling a little on the cautious side. Between the step-ups, step downs, ladders and this perfectly sculpted wall ride one run is not enough, you will head up for lap after lap on this trail. Jay had help from The Coastal Crew in the design and building of this trail. The best of the best working to make this the best riding possible.
The Third trail on the tour was called Fo' Shore. This trail was built to resemble the iconic North Shore of Vancouver BC. With ladder bridge galore, skinnies, steeps, and even a bit of airtime this trail is reminiscent of home. The North Shore feel shines through with a touch of Alberta flavour. An awesome trail with some challenging bits, flow and again a huge smile from ear to ear.
If you are looking for somewhere to ride world class trails, Hinton is at the top of the list. With a backing from the city and the work of Jay Hoots, this is a sustainable trail system that offers the community recreation, tourism and a whole lot of fun. If you would like to learn more about mountain biking in Hinton, check out bikehinton.com