The first time I met Ross Roseingrave was across a table at a Fernie Trails Alliance board meeting. Full of great ideas and passion for the trails, I was super curious as to how someone from Ireland got into mountain biking…particularly downhill, and also how ended up in Fernie.
Growing up in Ireland, Ross rode his bike a lot. “My dad was always into motorbikes, and I always liked bikes. We lived next to a ‘mountain’ which was more like a hill, but it just made sense to ride my bike up there,” Ross says. “We built trails there too, which still exist today.”
Ross noticed thatmost bike movies were filmed in BC. “Everything was pointing here, the movies were all shot between California, Oregon and BC. Some friends suggested Whistler,” he recalls, so he made the move to Vancouver. He rode all over BC during his time there, “everywhere within a 500km radius” and met his partner Michelle on a bike trip in Kamloops.
Ross and Michelle were intrigued with living in the mountains. “In Vancouver, you’re close but we wanted to be immersed,” he recalls. “We just didn’t know if we could stay off the bike for a full winter.” But they made the move in 2012 to Fernie and haven’t looked back. As a Geotechnical Engineer, Ross worked as a contractor at first but soon took a position with Fording where he continues to work today. He immediately became involved in the downhill scene in town, building a trail with Michelle in Ridgemont called Face Shots and working on the Morrissey trails whenever he has the chance.
“The downhill scene has always been out on its own. Conrad (Spring) was the first guy to bring the downhill side to the FTA. When he had to step back, one of us needed to represent so I stepped up,” Ross tells me.“I’ve been on the FTA for three years, and a flow trail was always on the back of his mind but had too much going on. Mike Kelly brought it up in a trail committee meeting, and it was really well received. The two of us alongside Danny McCormack took the bull by the horns.”
Ross had been scouting an area with the perfect grade and south facing, but didn’t have a project. When the flow trail became a possibility, they all sat down with Pat Gilmar and the contour map and narrowed it down to two, but of the two the area Ross had suggested off the Rifle Range Road worked best. From there, they pitched it to theTrails and Maintenance Committee to get them on board. “The support was insane,” Ross says. Theythen recommended the project to the FTA, who have a priority list at the start of each. The Epic Trail and the Flow Trail were both coming up, but the Flow Trail (named Stove Pipe) was ready to go and thus was selected for this year.
“It’s really expensive to build, and really easy to mess up,” Ross says.“We hand picked our crew, supporting local work and people with the same vision of a really nice, aesthetically finished product.”This June, the group consisting of Rich from Nelson, BC (who built Turnstyles), Henry Barrett of Backcountry Trail Experts, and Matt Dennis (Aussie) who is dedicated to the dirt jump park, began preparation.
“Weather is a big deal, we need to rough it in and get most of it done before it gets too dry and come back in the fall to get it finished,” Ross says, adding that at the beginning of next season they’ll have it riding prime. Because they want Stove Pipe to “flow” for the beginner and also the best rider in the world, it’s a complicated process but with this group of people comes a lot of expertise and we’re guessing Stove Pipe will quickly become one of Fernie’s ‘must rides.’
While many might shy away from the adrenaline rush of a serious “downhill” trail I’m sure we’ll all be thanking Ross and the rest of his “DH” crew for exposing us to trails like Stove Pipe.
A big thanks to Ross, Danny and Mike for getting this project off the ground, and to the many organizations for helping raise and donate funds, including the Columbia Basin Trust, RCR, MEC, RMI Funding, FTA, FBC, the Northern, Nevados, Ski Base, Geotech Services, Enviro Services and of course Jemi Fibre for use of the land.
1. When did you first arrive in Fernie and what brought you here? September 2012, I wanted to come into the mountains and try it out. Biking and snowboarding.
2. Where did you first live in town? Well, stayed with Conrad for a couple of months, and then bought a place at Fourth Ave and Fourth.
3. What was your first impression? Loved it, was a cool vibe. Everyone is pretty laid back and you can’t beat the proximity to rad shit.
4. What keeps you in Fernie? It’s a good mix of work and play. Good thriving economy and at five o’clock after you finish work it’s a playground.
5. Do you have a favourite Fernie memory? I think probably Dirt Diggler sessions with friends is definitely up there. Dropping in, everyone having a time, and beers at the end.
6. What is your favourite time of the year in Fernie and why? All the time. Spring stoke is amazing, fall is amazing.
7. Where do you see Fernie in 5 to 10 years? I think still progressing as an outdoors mecca. And I’d like to see all user groups come to the table to be represented. The FTA does a great job of working with land owners, it would be great if others did the same to develop their areas of interest. I think this would reduce a lot of conflicts between groups.
8. How do you start your day or what is one of your daily rituals? Unfortunately I get up super early, get ready for work and get a coffee. On the weekends, go for a bike ride.
9. Tell us something people might be surprised to learn about you. I’m a pretty loud mouthed person, I don’t think I’m slow to give my opinion.
10. Quote to live by: Life’s too short not to shred.