Words by Bill
A small but growing event took place in the shadow of Mt St Helens last weekend; SHIFT 2015. If you haven’t heard of it, SHIFT stands for St Helen’s International Festival of Trails. Paul and Melanie Norris, friends of ours from Kalama Washington, organize the event each year with the help of many friends, trail building groups and financial sponsors.
As a shop, our interests are shifting us ever more towards community-based adventure events. I love the idea of pulling people together for the sake of riding, sharing food, drink and more in-depth adventurous fun. SHIFT embodied all of this and that’s why we decided to be the title sponsor. If you aren’t familiar with SHIFT it’s two days of riding, one day of trail building and two nights of camping under the stars.
The fun started on Friday with a trail ride day. While many people arrived later in the day, those of us who could arrive early got a blue bird day of riding. There were four or five trail options that day with ride leaders/guides who knew the vast array of trails in the area and were ready to share this knowledge in an un-intimidating format.
The first day’s trail ride options were Ape Canyon, Blue Lake, June Lake as well as a few others. Ride starts were staggered from about 10am til about 3pm. As we finished our rides, others started showing up and we all got our areas at Marble Mountain Snow Park setup for two nights of camping.
Friday night we setup ‘Cyclepath City’ which included three of our event tents, our Sprinter van, a dozen Pivot demo bikes, a repair station and a few stands for parking some eye candy for all to ogle (Pivot, Niner and Yeti carbon frames).
Saturday morning we woke to smoke and ash falling on us from the Mt Adams fire. It may have cut the amazing views of Mount St. Helens short, but it didn’t interrupt our trail building. We sent out several groups of people to handle widening overgrowth on several trails, to reroute a dangerous eroding section of Ape Canyon and others to scout potential links with several trails so they could all be eventually routed to Marble Mountain Snow Park for a one stop destination location. We even had a group of 6-8 kids who went off into the forest around the snow park to work on a small local trail section.
Saturday night featured a hog roast, an awards ceremony for the trail builders including a raffle with cool swag, tons of free beer courtesy of Fort George Brewery, karaoke, a laser light show and a mountain bike video showing on the side of the NWTA trailer. Charlie Biggs was responsible for doing an amazing job cooking all of the food.
By Sunday morning the winds had shifted and the smoke was cleared out. I was excited to ride Ape Canyon/Plains of Abraham for the first time and be able to see the views everyone has always gushed about. Much like Friday, Sunday offered several trail options for those that didn’t have to leave right away. I would love to tell you that Ape Canyon sucked and that the climbing wasn’t worth the views and the long descent back, but I’d be lying.
I knew this event was going to be great, but it still exceeded my expectations. We will surely support this event again next year. I hope to see more of our community of customers and friends at the next one – there is definitely plenty of room at the snow park as well as shovels and trails. We will do a better job of advertising it ahead of time so you will be aware of it and plan accordingly, so stay tuned.
You may ask what does this sorta thing costs? How about a big whoppin’ goose egg. Yeah, it’s free. Just a little trail building help is all anyone is asking.
Hope to see even more folks out there next year!
Bill Larson – Owner, Cyclepath