Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is in our culture. Our backyard is a spiderweb of epic cross-country tracks, freeride and downhill descents. We wake up each day to spectacular alpine views of the Selkirk Mountains. Our days are spent dropping into trails that flow more sweetly than warm honey.

With Retallack’s professionally guided backcountry mountain packages, you will be able to access winding single-track descents of up to 5,000 vertical feet via a combination of off-road vehicles and helicopters.

Our network of trails is located in the Selkirk Mountains of the West Kootenays and are are dispersed over an approximate area of 5,900 square kilometres (1,458,000 acres). We therefore have lots of options to choose from!

Luxury food and accommodation is provided at Retallack’s 11,000 sq ft lodge – located in the heart of the Selkirk Mountains, and is accessible by car approximately one hour north of Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.

All you need is your bike and riding gear; we do the rest. Join us in backcountry mountain biking paradise.

Our Terrain and Trails

Our stomping grounds allow you to explore trails that meld both past and present. In the 1890′s, during the mining boom of the ‘Silvery Slocan,’ thousands of miners armed with pickaxes and shovels toiled to build pack trails from the lakes up to their mineshafts. More than a century later, riding these same trails on our bikes, we can’t help but feel the presence of these long lost trail builders. They mined silver, we mine trails.

Our trails consist of long, winding single-track descents from mountaintops to lakeshores. We have rekindled long-lost routes into smooth, bermed downhill trails; where riding through Old Growth forests and feeling the touch of the past is an everyday occurrence. The views are always awe-inspiring – more mountains, more trees, and more scenic beauty. Our trails will lead you ever onwards to the perfect corner or your favourite new section. 

At Retallack, riding and trail building is what we do. With a backyard like ours, it’s hard not to keep adding to our quiver of trails. Every time we finish a new ride we are plotting where the next big descent will be. With thousands of acres of perfect terrain at our fingertips, we just want to keep riding and exploring.

Energy-Packed Meals by Day…Fine Dining by Night

Imagine enjoying a delicious three-course dinner with your choice of wine, right in the middle of one of the world’s most beautiful and unspoiled alpine wildernesses! Here at Retallack, we’re proud to offer our guests mouth-watering cuisine and a thoughtfully-assembled wine selection, all in the cosy surroundings of our backcountry timber-frame lodge. However, we understand that you want more than gourmet food and wine during your mountain biking holiday – you’ll also need high-energy meals and snacks throughout the day if you’re going to tear it up on the trails. 

Like all passionate riders, we know how important it is to stoke your engine at breakfast, refuel at lunch, and top up those energy levels après riding. That’s why Retallack’s culinary philosophy is, “energy-packed meals by day…fine dining by night.” It’s all part of the ultimate backcountry mountain biking experience!

Our Lodge

Retallack Lodge is located approximately an hour’s drive north of the artsy, bohemian, laid-back town of Nelson, British Columbia. We’re accessible by car on a well-maintained highway. That means you don’t have to worry about baggage limits on helicopter flights, long trips to your accommodation in other vehicles, or leaving your car behind in an unattended parking lot. After all, why waste valuable riding time spending hours getting to and from your accommodation?

The heart of Retallack Lodge is our spacious living room with its comfortable leather sofas and impressive two-story granite fireplace. We also offer a pleasant 42-person dining room, cosy bar, games room, entertainment room, sauna, outdoor hot tub and wireless Internet access. Other amenities include an equipment room for tuning and repairing your bike, and a changing room where you can leave your gear and outerwear overnight. You can also let our massage therapists get your body back into top form so you can get the most out of your time on the mountain.

Our accommodation sleeps up to 24 guests in 11 warm, comfortable guest suites. Bedrooms are furnished with single or double beds bedecked with goose down duvets, bedside tables with reading lamps, and a hanging space for clothing. Each suite includes a private bathroom with a shower.

Our People – Professional Guides and Lodge Staff

Great trails and amazing scenery is one thing, but sharing it with unique and memorable people is another. Our staff is made up of a blend of ‘Kootenay Folk’ who live the mountain lifestyle to the fullest. We ski deep, dry snow in the winters; and roam these same areas by bike in the summer.

The rugged landscape is in our blood – alpine peaks, valleys, forests, hot springs, glaciers, raging rivers, lakes, and an endless trove of secret treasures just waiting to be discovered. The Kootenays breed the type of people who define a culture that is both mellow and driven. Driven for adventure, but always taking in each moment.

Our professional guides and lodge staff will welcome you with smiles, stories, and best of all – the experience required to share our riding with you in the best way possible. 

At Retallack, safety is always our Number 1 priority. All of our experienced mountain biking guides are trained in client care , advanced first aid, mountain rescue, the safe operation of helicopters and off-road vehicles, wildlife encounter procedures, and wilderness survival. All of our guides and vehicles are equipped with the latest medical and rescue gear, and are in constant contact with our communication centre via VHF radios, satellite tracking / two-way messenging devices, and back-up satellite phones.

Under the guidance of our Medical Director and physicians we also have the capabilities and equipment to provide both basic and advanced life support. It is recommended that you purchase our optional External Travel, Medical and Helicopter Evacuation Insurance when you book your trip. At a cost of only approximately 5% of the total cost of your trip, it is a bargain for your added peace of mind.

Guest Training & Preparation

The safety briefings and training you receive upon arrival will explain the risks of backcountry mountain biking as well as safety in and around our off-road vehicle(s) and helicopter(s). These briefings are designed to enable you to understand our safety protocols and allow you to participate with us in managing them to the fullest extent possible.

At Retallack we take the safety of our guests and staff very seriously and we continuously strive to minimize the risks inherent to the backcountry. However, there are many risks that we cannot eliminate. Prior to your trip you will be asked to accept these risks in writing by signing the Release of Liability Waiver and Assumption of Risk Agreement. A properly and fully completed waiver is required from each guest prior to your trip. Each guest must be at least 19 years or older.

It is imperative that you give full attention to your guide’s instructions at all times. You and your guide are in a position of mutual trust. Your guide trusts you to follow their instructions, and to stay within the parametres they set. Following instructions and riding with caution and within your abilities are the best ways to prevent injury or an incident.

Travel Interruption/Cancellation, Medical, and Helicopter Evacuation Insurance

We strongly recommend trip cancellation, trip interruption and / or emergency evacuation insurance. We also encourage you to purchase travel or accident insurance. Your insurance broker can advise you about other types of insurance you may require, such as disability and life insurance.

Retallack is pleased to recommend a trip interruption, cancellation, and rescue insurance. Please note that insurance must be purchased when you make the deposit payment for your trip. You can access the online application here.

Please note that no insurance provider currently provides an insurance policy that covers inclement weather during your backcountry mountain biking trip. Retallack reserves the right to cancel at any time without notice. Under no circumstances is Retallack responsible for the guest’s inconvenience or travel expenses in this situation.

Clothing, Gear, and Mountain Bikes

We strongly recommend that you bring all-weather riding clothing. We like to anticipate sunny weather, but things can change quickly in the mountains. We ask guests to bring a daypack each day. You can use this to bring along water, some tools, snacks, etc. Most days we leave our lunch in the vehicles and eat on the way up the mountain or at the end of a trail on a lake. However, it is good idea to have a pack for longer rides. A helmet (e.g. full-face), knee/shin/elbow guards, and gloves are highly recommended. You are welcome to wear a half-shell cross-country helmet but we do recommend the extra protection of a full-face helmet. Apart from good riding shoes and clothes for chilling in the Lodge, don’t forget your bathing suit for the lake!

We have a limited number of mountain bikes for rent. These must be requested at the time of your initial booking. Riders are encouraged to bring their own personal bikes and gear which they are familiar with providing they meet the following criteria: 1) full suspension bike with at least 6″ of travel (both front and rear shocks) AND 2) recently serviced and well-maintained bike and equipment. Riders are also asked to bring a spare set of brake pads. It is highly recommended that your bike is equipped with dual ply (pinch resistance) downhill tires (e.g. Maxxis Minion). For additional questions or information feel free to contact us.

Ability and Fitness

You don’t need to be an expert rider, however, our terrain and trails are not for the meek and inexperienced. You should consider yourself an intermediate mountain biker and be proficient with tight corners and steep hills. If you ride on trails more than two times per week and have previously ridden a lift-accessed bike park or trail marked as intermediate to advanced you will be fine. Our guides take it upon themselves to inform you of what to expect on each upcoming section of trail and will offer you coaching and instruction on the best way to negotiate challenging sections. Some sections may be more difficult, but your guide will warn you beforehand. We will not be asking you to point yourself down super steep, rugged, loose and plunging trails, but some of our trails vary towards the advanced. However, all our trails are well designed, and don’t feature any mandatory drops or bridges. The trails we ride are very diverse, but we try to offer our guests as consistent trail quality and difficulty as possible. We find that riding less difficult trails is actually more fun!

Weather Conditions

The West Kootenays is a very mountainous region. In the summer months we experience very warm weather (it’s nice to be right on the lake!) but low-pressure systems can come in at any time. We welcome this because it keeps the trails from becoming dry and dusty. On your trip with us you will be riding at elevations between 2,000-8,000 feet. Even in mid-summer it can be quite chilly at higher elevations so we encourage you to bring along a light sweater in your pack.

Additional Information

We look forward to sharing our backcountry mountain biking paradise with you!

Check out our availability calendar or for additional information and reservations please contact us or feel free to download our Mountain Biking and Women’s Retreat brochures.