Statement from our Executive Director

Spring is a time of renewal. This statement is as true this year, as it was in the last. It’s been said more times than we can count now, these are unprecedented times. We, who are part of a network of organizations, that are pushing the development and access to adaptive mountain biking, are finding ourselves having to adapt rapidly to this season of change. We find ourselves on fortunate ground here at Kootenay Adaptive. Both our Program and Infrastructure projects are still moving ahead with funding. This means that we are in a fortunate space where we can continue to employ 17 individuals through this crisis. While our infrastructure project remains on target, we find programming is taking a lot more creativity to get us through the worst part of the pandemic.

While we have yet to formally cancel any events, we will be postponing our spring line up, until fall. We continue to follow the Directive of the Provincial Health Authority and advice from a network of experts in the Spinal Cord Injury Community. We urge everyone who is interested to keep up to date via social media channels and our website. As news and updates become available, we will share how we will move forward with future events.

Your support during this time is greatly appreciated. The messages and emails we have received from you, have helped us push forward in our mandate for “barrier free adventure”. The parallels between social distancing and physical barriers to the outdoors are too strong to ignore. Provincial Parks and Trails are closing and the general public, without knowing it, is starting to feel how devastating it can be to lose nature. This is not lost on us, moving forward, we will continue to advocate for inclusion in the outdoors and push people to reflect on a new shared empathy.

During this time, we want to hear from you. What are your priorities towards outdoor inclusion? How can we help? How can you help us? Where are we getting it right and even more important, where are we getting it wrong? During this time, we hope you can find togetherness in virtual and phone connections. Find comfort at home and with your family. Most of all, remember that you are not alone, we urge you to pick up the phone and give us a call, chat adaptive mountain biking or just take us to task. Do you have a suggestion or programming idea you would like to share? Now is a great time to be a part of a developing sport.

I would like to thank all of our sponsors, past and present for being with us over the years, we deeply appreciate your support and are wishing you and your employees all the best in these difficult times. To our participants, we truly miss you and we cannot wait to be back riding the trails together.

Be kind to one another, it’s important to remember that we are all going a little crazy right now. Extend grace to yourself and others.

Mike Riediger

Kootenay Adaptive | Response to COVID-19

Bikes sit empty, the world holds its breath.

This is not the space we, at Kootenay Adaptive, imagined ourselves being in when our 2020 project started in January. Staff, in Programming and Infrastructure, have been working very hard to roll our 2020 projects ahead of the global pandemic. We now find ourselves in a season of re-evaluation and planning. We are formally postponing all events up to and including April 10.2020. All rentals in this period are effectively cancelled until we can re-evaluate the current situation.

Rolling with the punches is never easy, but when it comes to staff and participant safety, we take this current crisis very seriously. We work with populations who are more vulnerable than most to the novel coronavirus. We have not cancelled any of our 2020 events series, but rather postponed to different dates in the summer and fall. The preparation and excitement that has gone into these events is still within us and we look forward to bringing them to you, just at another time.

Stay with us for further updates, engage with us on social media and write a review! While staff are putting some events on pause, we are still busy pushing this sport forward in every single way and engaging with our amazing partners.

Thank you for your continued support, we can’t wait to serve you in our rental programs and event series this year. Once preventative measures have passed, we will be back in action.

Kootenay Adaptive Sport Association | Sr. Management

Mike Riediger | Janis Neufeld

The Road to Collaboration | Part 1

As the biking season edges ever closer to its end, we were lucky enough to take a quick trip to Calgary to meet with Christian Bagg at Bowhead Corp and see first hand the production of these game changing accessibility machines. On the return trip we spent the night at Nipika Resort, just outside the boundary of Kootenay National Park. I have known Nipika as a destination for winter recreation for years, what I knew less about were its mountain biking trails and this Spring we were introduced to Lyle Wilson and his vision of having the largest network of adaptive mountain biking trails in the county. Our trip included a stay in Nipika’s accessible cabin, as well as a tour of the initial work in the resorts adaptive network. Our commitment to Nipika’s network includes making sure that these trails meet the standards that allow for a trail to allow for hand cycles. I was blown away by their thoughtfulness of trail design, which probably speaks to the breadth of their experience with single track and their attention to rider experience. We were shown future staging areas, communal halls, trails and some of the most stunning viewpoints one could imagine. We at KASA look forward to a continued partnership with Nipika into the future, but for now we were able to pose a few questions to Lyle which will help you understand their vision and legacy they wish to leave.

KASA: Nipika of 2019 is an impressive achievement by any standard. Where did the idea of Nipika begin for you? 

Lyle: In the late 1970s I ran an outdoor leadership training centre for the government of Alberta called the Blue Lake Centre north of Hinton, Ab.  I loved the work and the setting, but the civil service was just too stifling for my creative, off the wall, mind, so I started searching for a location for a private centre dedicated to all the natural outdoor activities.  In March of 1979 I was looking at a property for sale up the St Mary’s River In Kimberley and on the way back to Hinton, I stopped for a coffee in Radium Hot Springs.  A conversation with a couple of loggers in the Husky Coffee shop led me up Settlers Rd. to look at this old homestead that was for sale.  I fell totally in love with it at first sight! I owned it two weeks later.

Cross River Falls, BC Rockies

KASA: Sustainability is a big topic these days. When you look at the over all brand and direction of Nipika, what does sustainability look like for you?

Lyle: Sustainability is the soul of Nipika!  We are out to prove that non-consumptive Recreation can be exciting, fun, affordable, family oriented, and that experiences are more important than “stuff”.  We build everything we can by salvaging waste wood from the forest around us. All the cabins and most of the furniture is built in our shop utilizing materials that grew up on the site.  We generate our electricity with solar panels, burn wood ( a renewable resource) for most of our heat, and we focus completely on self propelled, non-motorized activities. We are a non-shooting area, no firearms can be discharged on the entire Cross River Canyon Recreation Site.  The most important aspect that helps us with sustainability is that because Nipika is a pedestrian site, we get people out of their vehicles for their entire visit.  Wildlife conservation is a central theme at Nipika.  We try to retain a simple and natural setting, respecting the wildlife whose space we have invaded. We are a working woodlot and through our forest stewardship initiatives we maintain a healthy forest surrounding the resort for our guests to enjoy for generations to come.
Sustainability is about doing what you do with a minimal environmental footprint. We take that into consideration with every decision we make.  

KASA: Sustainable harvest of beetle kill timber on your property not only keeps the health of the surrounding ecosystem in check, it also supports building projects and trail creation. How do you balance wood lot harvest quotas with the environment and trail development?

As a woodlot we have an annual harvest quota to maintain. From the beginning we set that AAC ( allowable annual cut) at a Level well below the annual growth rate of the forest.  That simply means trees are growing at a greater rate than we are cutting them down.  Everything we do in our forest management plan has to meet two other criteria, improving the recreational values of the landscape, and improving ungulate habitat.  We harvest primarily for forest health, focusing on mountain pine bottle eradication and recently the fir bark beatle infestation.  All our logging is done selectively, no clear cuts at Nipika.  We utilize dead wood for heating and construction of our facilities and furniture.

KASA: Nipika has a storied history, of which we were thrilled to hear about. When it comes to the future, what would you hope people remember about this era of Nipika?

If people remember nothing else about their Nipika experiences, my hope is that they develop a great love for nature, improve their health and fitness through self propelled outdoor activities, and have a better appreciation for family and friends by sharing life altering adventures!

KASA: Inclusion in outdoor spaces is a relatively new conversation and Nipikas commitment to adaptive mountain bike trails is something we hope to celebrate along side the resort. How do you see inclusivity, through the lens of outdoor sport, helping the Resort?

I believe that one in thirteen Canadians has some form of disability. Why on earth should they not be allowed to share the values and joys that we promote to the able bodied population.  I don’t really know that inclusiveness will directly benefit Nipika, but it will benefit the Wilson family and all our staff simply in the knowledge that we are attempting something good for EVERYBODY!

KASA: Looking towards the future, what can we look forward to in Nipika Resorts continued evolution?

Our focus for the future is not to continue to grow the size of the resort as much as it is to continue to enhance the qualities of the experiences we provide for our guests. This looks like, more and better programs, improving our trails and surroundings, continued training for our staff, and broadening the range of abilities we can cater to with our services and amenities.  The future is only limited by our energy and imagination!

Galena Trail Update

Weather, the story of any mountain project. This Fall has been a nerve wracking experience for the crew and management of the Galena Trail Project. Falling Temperatures and Concrete do not mix and thanks to our hard working staff and a crew of volunteers, the footings were ready to go just in time. A huge thank you goes out to KASA staff and our 5 amazing volunteers who put in a lot of hard work to get this done before the frost set in.

Local photographer Jesse Schpakowski joined the crew for our second help day, as High Terrain Helicopters expertly placed steel I-Beams for the bridge structure. Due to the location of this project, Helier drops have been key to the success of this project, eliminating a strenuous amount of labour and making the move to the site safer for our staff.

Having extra seats in the helicopter has been a great way for Kootenay Adaptive to say thank you to our supporters and outstanding community members and on Heli Day 2, we were joined by Kimberly Joines. Kim is a 2 time IPC Sit Skiing Champion, 22 time IPC World Cup winner and 2 time Paralympic Bronze Medalist. A West Kootenay local, spending time between Rossland and Rosebery, she can be found on one of the best Adaptive Mountain Bike trails around, the Spine Trail in Rosebery.

With Winter quickly approaching and the weather dependant milestones in the ground, the crew is on track for completion this December. Check back for updates on the trail and official wrap up dates. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more.

Galena Trail Project

The Galena trail is a historical trail which follows the path of the old CPR Nakusp to Sandon railway line, a remnant of the mining industry that prospered in this area in the late 1800’s and early 1900s. A major silver find on Payne Mountain, near the city of Sandon (now a ghost town) immediately grew the city, resulting in the CPR connecting this region with their mainline.

The railway received its charter from the provincial government in 1892 and was immediately leased by the CPR. By October 1894, the railway was completed from Nakusp, along Slocan Lake and up the valley to Three Forks. Decreasing traffic, high maintenance costs and railway deregulation saw services cut back and eventually abandoned during the latter part of the 20th century. The line between New Denver and Three Forks was severed in the 1950s due
to mudslides and rails were removed. The last rail car ferry on Slocan Lake was closed in 1988.

Historic Sandon BC

The trail was developed into a non-motorized recreation area in the 1990’s. It was at this time that the original boardwalk, located approximately 2km from the New Denver trailhead, was constructed using the old train trestles as its foundation. In April 2019, the Regional District of Central Kootenay, who manages the trail through a License of Occupation, closed the trail due to structural concerns. The old train trestles were badly rotten and no longer provided stability tothe boardwalk structure.

When funding through the federal ‘Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’ applied for by the RDCK and Galena Trail and Rosebery Wetlands Commission was postponed, members of the North Slocan Trail Society and the Village of New Denver Council approached KASA for alternative funding opportunities. KASA was successful in obtaining funds through a WorkBC Job Creation Partnership funded through the Government of Canada and the Province of
British Columbia, with additional funding provided by the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Columbia Basin Trust.

Galena Trail Boardwalk replacement Rendering

The Galena trail and boardwalk are already used for KASA/Kootenay Sufferfest‘s popular annual race the Idaho Peak Ultra and 10k Trail Run. In addition, the trail is an ideal opportunity for creating an inclusive outdoor space and trail for all non motorized recreational users, including those on adaptive mountain bikes (aMTB) or 3-4 wheel bikes. This fits long term vision for the Galena trail to be inclusive from Three Forks to Rosebery (and beyond), thus the Boardwalk is being built to standards which will not present barriers to users. The construction of the new 120’ Boardwalk will take place August – December 2019. The engineered design includes galvanized steel beams, concrete footings, and Douglas fir decking and cedar railings. It will resemble the historic old train trestle in aesthetics and will last for 50+ years with little maintenance.

KASA is proud to be a part of this legacy project on one of the most iconic trails of the Kootenays. The partnership is through a contract with the Regional District of Central Kootenay with KASA as the Project Holder with the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. KASA has created 7 local jobs for this project, providing valuable on the job training and skill development for under or un-employed individuals and youth in the region.

The Galena Trail is popular with young and old, slow and fast, hikers and bikers and is the ending for numerous other trails coming down Idaho Peak including the Alamo Trail. There is a cable car crossing that is a notable experience by many visitors that use the trail. More information is available about the trail from the New Denver Visitors Center.

Adaptive Trek || “What IF?”

On July 2nd Executive Director Mike Riediger, along with Tanelle Bolt of Rad Society and Ethan Krueger embarked on a journey that took them from Revelstoke, BC to Nelson, BC, by way of Crank and Paddle. This adventure is part of a documentary short which will explore the idea of “What If”. This theme was chosen not only to help the broader public see past their initial stigma of persons with disabilities, but also offer inspiration to those dreaming of connecting or reconnecting with the outdoors.

When it comes to the outdoors, or life in general, it is hard to take into account how lucky the majority of us are to have access to the world around us. For many of the people we work with at KASA on a day-to-day basis, they too may have had the same thoughts of access as most, but sometimes life has other outcomes in mind. Injured in the pursuit of outdoor adventure, Ethan Krueger and Tanelle Bolt were joined by Mike Riediger, telling a story of pushing past ones perceived limitations and adapting to a new reality of Outdoor Adventure; its difficulties and the work being done to overcome.

Days 1-2 Were spent on Arrow Lake, paddling from Revelstoke, BC to Nakusp, BC. Joined by Adam Balls of Nakusp, the group had a great start to the trip as the skies cleared when they neared Revelstoke. The group first rode Miller Time, Revelstoke’s first adaptive mountain bike trail and were then treated to a great breakfast at La Baguette before entering the cold waters of Arrow Lake. Day one on the water started out smooth with a great tail wind and sunshine. As the day progressed cloud and a heavy headwind stymied the group as they neared Blanket Creek. Day two, the group departed Shelter Bay en route to Nakusp. Sunshine and sunburns were in order and this beautiful 10 hour paddle ended on the shores of Mt Abriel, just North of Nakusp. Mt Abriel is home to the Canada’s largest concentration of adaptive mountain bike trails.

Dawn broke on Day three with dark skies and rain. The cooler weather was a welcome break from the heat, especially with a long day on bikes from Nakusp to New Denver via the pass at Summit Lake. Joined for the rest of the journey by KASA President Janis Neufeld, the group showed their grit and determination by completing the 11 hour leg of the trip in sometimes torrential rain.

The halfway point of the Trek involved the hosting of Kootenay Adaptive’s 2nd annual Camp, this year being held in New Denver. This year mountain biking was top of mind for all who came, people were really here to get some miles on their tires. Full days at Mt. Abriel and the Spine trail in Rosebery had the group taking in the turns and views before heading back to the water for Day four of the Trek.

Day 4 began at the group campsite in New Denver, with participants on hand to wish the group well as they departed. After the previous lake day, 10 hours on Arrow Lake, the Crew was in for a fantastic day on the water and a relatively quick crossing of Slocan Lake. Calm winds and sunshine guided the group along the last leg to Slocan City.

Day 5 began early as the group made their way to the start of the Slocan Rail Trail. Spirits were high after a successful day on Slocan Lake and with 76 kms of pedal and crank ahead of them, they departed Slocan City en route to Nelson. Cool rainy weather was the mainstay of the first 40 kms along the Slocan River, as the group neared the end of the rail trail the clouds began to part and the sun was back to stay. Upon leaving the trail, the crew took the back roads over the mountains to avoid completing the journey on the highway. A particularly brutal climb was rewarded by a long descent into Nelson. When the group arrived at the Best Western Baker St Inn, the staff had prepared a welcome for Ethan and Tanelle, congratulating them on their successful Trek. With the Trek complete and no big days ahead, the crew celebrated into the night, thanks to Backroads Brewing and departed the next day back to Nakusp.

We would like to thank all of our Sponsors and supporters, listed and unlisted. Your generous support helped make this possible and we cannot wait to share the completed documentary with you!

For more stories, videos and images follow along with their journey on Facebook and Instagram.

If you would like to donate to the Trek, Documentary or to help with programming of adaptive outdoor sport in BC, please contact Tax receipts are available.

2019 Event Updates

It’s a new year, a “new” society and a renewed vision of what is to come. After the successes of 2018, we aim to build upon those and push even further into new territory when it comes to Adaptive Mountain Biking(aMTB). Not only are we focused solely on aMTB, but also adaptive Watersport and one of the major draws to the West Kootenays, our abundant Hot Springs.

Stay tuned for more updates as our team continues to plan this years camp and other events in the region.

Tentative Dates for 2019

June 2 – Try it Day Castelgar. Come try Adaptive Bikes with the Crew from KASA. 

June 9 – Try it Day in Nakusp. Come try Adaptive Bikes with the Crew from KASA. Brought to you by Destination Castlegar, the West Koot Route and See Revelstoke

July 5-9 – Tentative KASA Retreat Days. Join KASA for a weekend of aMTB, Paddle Boarding, Yoga and Hot Springs, all in the spectacular West Kootenays

September 7 – aMTB Enduro at Mt Abriel. A first ever in Canada, KASA hosts the Mt. Abriel Adaptive Enduro. Registration coming soon.

September 8 – Nakusp Cyclocross and Adaptive Cyclocross. The second annual Adaptive Portion of the Nakusp Cyclocross is back and better for 2019. Registration open Spring 2019.

September 15 – Try it Day Revelstoke. Come try Adaptive Bikes with the Crew from KASA. 

2018 Camp

August of 2018 saw the regions First Adaptive Sport Camp. Attendees came from across the province to join us and other support organizations to develop camp programs, test newly built trails and have a great time together. Our time together saw us conquer logistics problems on the aMTB trail epic, “Spine Trail”, spend a day at the brand new aMTB trails at Mt Abriel, Paddle the Arrow Lakes with friends and finish off with a dinner together at Arrow Lakes Lodge.

Day one brought us to Rosebery to conquer the one of a kind aMTB Spine Trail. Opened in 2018, the North Slocan Trail Society has opened up some amazing terrain for people with diverse abilities to gain access to some of the most spectacular views in the West Kootenays.

Day two saw us at Mt Abriel in Nakusp. With brand new, purpose built adaptive trails fresh and ready for our participants to try out. Bikes with E-Assist easily cruised the entire lower portion of Mt Abriel, while with easy access to shuttling, non E-assist bikes had a great time enjoying the newly built trails as well.

The afternoon of day two had us enjoying the waters of the Arrow Lakes. Access Revolution joined us for an afternoon of water sport fun with adaptive Paddle Boarding.

Tanelle Bolt of Rad Society was able to join us for the whole weekend, bringing her expertise of adaptive sport and accessibility to Nakusp. Interviewed here by Issac Carter of I Candy Films, we were able to have a few unique perspectives of adaptive sport in our film short.

As 2019 dates are being prepared and adaptive sport in the Kootenays is making giant leaps forward, we look back at the 2018 camp, the friendships formed and our vision of the future from this event.

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining us!

Welcome to a new year and a giant leap forward for Kootenay Adaptive Sport Society.

In December 2018, Kootenay Sufferfest Society (KSS) began its transition into Kootenay Adaptive Sport Society. After a very successful year in Adaptive sport in 2018, KSS has been leading the way forward in Adaptive Mountain Biking; from the regions First Adaptive Sport Camp, to leading adaptive sport speaking engagements, consulting and more.

2019 leads us into an exciting time as board development continues and staffing moves forward this month. 

Join us in this journey and become involved with KASA as we move forward into another big year!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Forrest on the Spine Trail, Rosebery BC