Long Live Digger, Long Live the Shore

The North Shore is the motherland of modern mountain biking. We went back to our roots this autumn to meet legendary trailbuilder Todd “Digger” Fiander.

02 November 2022

The saturated, mercurial landscape of British Columbia’s North Shore has been cemented in many riders’ minds as the birthplace of modern mountain biking. The fern-lined and root-entangled trails of this region were captured and circulated in the glossy pages of print magazines and influential VHS tapes, including the North Shore Extreme series that revealed trails unlike anything we’d ever seen before. Grainy, handheld video depicted skillful bike handling on originative features, all built by hand on steep and deep terrain.

Todd “Digger” Fiander, whose name is synonymous with the massively influential North Shore style of trailbuilding, was the mastermind behind many of these trails. He continues to sculpt singletrack from the rich soil of Mount Fromme to this day.

Autumn’s arrival inspired us to travel to Digger’s backyard to sample some of the North Shore’s greatest hits, including the iconic Ladies Only trail. Our group of riders brought new-school skills to this old-school trail and learned a thing or two about hand-building features from the legend himself. Digger proudly shared his techniques for crafting ladders, rollercoasters, and teeter-totters from rough-hewn cedar, reading the woodgrain to optimize traction and longevity. Ladies Only celebrates thirty years of existence this year, but it still feels fresh. Below an immense evergreen canopy that blots out the sky and evokes a moody ambiance in the shade, we found new thrills on a trail that brought mountain biking into its modern era. Long live Digger, and long live the Shore.

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