Last Friday, I collected my friend Justin from his home in Framingham, and with our bikes secured, we set our sights on Vermont. Our main destination was Burlington, where the Green Mountain Showdown, a Mountain Bike Film Festival by MTBVT, awaited us. Although a crash on I89 caused some delays (people, slow down!), we took a detour to Richmond. There, we joined my good friend Joe for a ride on the newly established Driving Range trail network.
It was great to get out on the trails, having not ridden a ton in October. I definitely felt it on the climbs, however it was totally worth it on the down!
After a few runs and a minor crash that left my wrist feeling like I had “skier’s thumb,” we made our way to the base. We spotted an excavator shaping a new section of the trails. Being relatively new to mountain biking, I was intrigued to see firsthand how trails are crafted, a la “how the sausage is made.” The operator, a friendly individual, showcased the trail features he was working on, including a massive gap-to-hip that for sure look like it has some consequences if you didn’t commit. I later learned that the trail builder was Phil Kmetz. A former professional downhill mountain biker, Phil has transitioned into a trail-building expert and is widely recognized for his YouTube channel, “Skill with Phill.” For the past few months, he’s been diligently constructing a trail for the Richmond Mountain Trails network, with much of his work featured on his secondary channel, “Phil’s World.“
You can catch a glimpse of the start of the process below — which is equal parts trail building tutorial and machinery ASMR.
Once we wrapped up in Richmond, we headed to Burlington. A quick stop over at a friend’s house complete with shower, and we headed downtown. I was eager to finally visit the Ski the East + JSkis shop, a place I’d been curious about since its inception. The shop did not disappoint. The combined vision of the Ski the East team and Jason Levinthal has resulted in a distinctive space that’s a must-visit for any winter sports enthusiast in town. It was a bonus to see some of my photos on display too!
Hula, the venue for the evening’s festivities, was just a short distance away. Once inside, attendees were welcomed into the vast interior of the coworking space, now transformed into a mountain bike event space, complete with vendors, beverages, and merchandise on display. Everyone who gathered was treated to a series of short films showcasing mountain biking in Vermont and beyond. While I usually prefer to remain behind the camera, I played a small role in the festival. Justin had compiled an extended short film and slideshow, highlighting our photo shoot from the previous fall. The other films shown were inspiring, I certainly can’t wait to rewatch them!
When the proverbial curtain closed on the evening, I definitely found myself itching to get back out on the trail as soon as possible.