In Nova Scotia the ski season is sometimes short and usually unpredictable. We’ve got a few beautiful spots for people to ski but we’ve also got these amazing properties across the province where there is the potential for something truly amazing if only someone would do something with these spaces.
Well, here we are.
A bike park can absolutely reanimate a hill that’s either left dormant for the majority of the year or an old site that just isn’t used a ski destination anymore. We want to get people outside, regardless of the season and these shortening snow seasons and we love taking what Mother Nature has given us and turning it into something even more.
That’s what have been working on in our partnership with Positive Action for Keppoch. We took a retired ski hill, saw what it had to offer and started carving it out. Keppoch had no electricity, no running water, and no (easy) way to get up the hill. We didn’t see what was there, we saw what COULD be there.
East Coast Mountain Bike was born of a need to bring these incredible people, scattered across the region, together into one community. The passion was there. The skills were there. But where was “there”?
As part of the volunteer base that was working on getting ECMTB growing, we knew that when you bring people together, that’s when great things happen. So we thought, “what would happen if we started running the kind of events that people would want to go to in our own backyard”? We held bike movie nights, poker runs, winter fourcross, and then we decided let’s do this. We co-hosted a Canada Cup Festival Weekend at Ski Martock.
Canada Cup events are not something that you do on a whim. We were a little tiny organization, self-funded and eager to do something incredible. We knew from our website traffic that people were interested in what we were doing. But the internet is one thing and getting people out is another. I was lucky enough to get to be around and work with absolutely incredible people during this time. People like Andrew MacLean and Joey O’Brien made these things PHYSICALLY possible and without them and a host of other amazing people, none of this would have ever been possible.
A year before the actual Canada Cup, we co-hosted a pilot event. It was the first first freeride demo park we’d built and was loaded with features that we had only ever seen in movies. And we did it right in front of the lodge in the Ski Martock Parking lot. We knew that if we built something truly special, people would come. And they did not disappoint. Nor were they disappointed. And so we teamed up for the Canada Cup.
We knew that this festival had to top the previous one. We moved the freeride into the woods and built just about every feature you could imagine from the ground up, right there in the trees of Windsor. The weekend featured downhill, dual slalom and cross country racing, as well as dirt jump demos and a slightly truncated version of the freeride demonstrations we had dreamed of; shortened due to injury, a story we will save for another time. We had cider vendors, hot tubs, and stands and likely the most people that Ski Martock had ever seen without snow.
We built something then, and we were addicted. We were early adopters in a field that has done nothing but grow since. We were hooked.
Dirtworks grew from an understanding of where we started and where we knew we could go. Since those early events, we’ve built and maintained incredible rides all across the province and have helped bring spaces back to life. What we’ve done at Keppoch has been such a rewarding experience. We’ve brought people a space where they can do incredible things that they didn’t were possible on this side of the country.
Imagine what we could do in your community. Are you thinking about it? Good. Let’s talk