Trail Building in Northwestern Ontario - Aaron Casella
Northwestern Ontario is a rough and dense area to build and ride. The combination of the Canadian Shield and Boreal Forest has created a slice of beautiful land that is unique to anywhere I have traveled. The Canadian Shield makes the foundation but it is the thick undergrowth which gives it its character and its challenges. To build here in NWO it takes time; time to look, time to clear and time to build. The season is short but for four months there is good weather and numerous new trails that are calling out to be found.
I can’t really explain the urge I have for trail building. Quite often I will find myself alone hauling planks up a hill, or scouring the side of the mountain looking for buckets of dirt. Most people, including some other riders cannot understand the time spent building. For me the feeling of hitting a stunt that is new, challenging, and part of a larger picture is enough of a goal. My trail now consists of numerous stunts including jumps, drops, bridges and wallrides, all which are part of a downhill trail. By riding my trail and features I hope that other riders and onlookers can feel my passion, dedication and appreciation for the land.
One of the driving forces to build is the feeling of hitting new stunts for the first time on a top to bottom run. My trail is a steep 20 minute hike up and a 3 minute decent. Most days my legs are giving me three to four full runs. With a trail that is so much work to climb up it is essential that it is fun on the way down. My Zealot has been a great bike for this type of riding. It is light to push up and quick and nimble on the way down, handling the drops and jumps along the way. I am eagerly looking forward to another building and riding season this spring. I am soon to find myself alone on the hill hauling wood thinking “why am I doing this again?” and I can’t wait.
North Western Ontario Trail Builder / Teacher / Rider