Sterling Lorence // North Vancouver, BC

Mt. Fromme's trails aren't the highest-speed around, but they are certainly in the running for most technical--a heavy claim on the North Shore. That doesn't mean you can't send on Fromm, as four-time Canadian National Champion Andrew Shandro Proves.
CANON, 1/640 sec, f/1.8, IS0 3200

Sterling Lorence // North Vancouver, BC Living Legends on Vancouver's North Shore

If you are in the city of Vancouver and look north across the Burrard Inlet, you are staring at the three mountains of the North Shore: Cypress to the west, Fromme in the middle and Seymour to the east. Over the past 35 years, the trio has become one of mountain biking’s most significant cultural hubs.

I spent my childhood in these steep coastal mountains and their towering, fog-shrouded trees, first playing and then riding bikes. Mountain biking here in the 1980s meant climbing up some gravel access road, finding a random hiking trail or skidder path, and then trying to bomb straight down. As bike technology bloomed in the 1990s, so did the way trails were built and ridden. Hiking paths were replaced by steep, technical lines, and there couldn’t be enough cliff drops, rock rolls, log rides and skinnies. Many refer to this as the beginning of “freeriding.” Locals at the time just called it “riding.” Builders like “Dangerous” Dan Cowan and “the Digger” Todd Fiander were evolving their trails almost as fast as riders like Wade Simmons and Andrew Shandro were redefining what was possible on a mountain bike.

When you have a large metropolis butted directly against an outdoor hotspot like the Shore, roots grow fast and deep. Over the past 15 years, there have been no less than 12-15 bike stores on the Shore alone, and a thriving network of trails has evolved on each of the three mountains. And they cover everything, from root-infested rock fests, to hand-sculpted flow lines, to fern-saturated singletrack, to the iconic ladder bridges and skinnies. The North Shore Mountain Bike Association, which formed early in the area’s evolution, has spent the past decade and a half working with the local governments to keep these trails legal, mapped, marked, maintained and sometimes even funded.

The best way to showcase such hallowed ground is to bring in some of the legends it created. Andrew Shandro, Thomas Vanderham and Geoff Gulevich are Shore locals, and each has his own zones of choice. It's hard to say that one of the three mountains is “easier” to ride than others, but when it comes to a more traditional XC ride, Seymour does have some mellower slopes, meaning easier gradients and longer routes. Vanderham has lived most of his life at the mountain’s base, and knows how to link the hill’s variety of trails into epic loops—while less steep, Seymour has also benefitted most from the work of the NSMBA, and so has plenty of options for anyone. 

Unlike Seymour and Fromme, Cypress’ trails are mostly on private property and so don’t see as much official trail maintenance. This, combined with steep, raw terrain and general ease of shuttling, has made Cypress a favorite training ground for many local downhill racers. Gulevich is a regular on Cypress’ rowdy lines, and he took us on a run designed around a full DH bike, making the most of our vertical and accessing trails that favor longer-travel rigs—or that require a little more focus for people on shorter-travel ones.

If Cypress is a place to lose elevation, then thanks to a new climbing trail, Fromme is the place to earn it back. Shandro lives near Fromme, and we followed him up the amazing new route to the top of the trail network. Fromme is also the favorite of another Shore icon of Shandro’s era: Fiander, who works as a full-time trailbuilder for NSMBA, and has built many of the trails that have been benchmarks on the Shore for 15 years.

Fiander’s work is proof that, when built properly and maintained correctly, even the most popular trails can handle thousands of rides over decades of use—and that, after 35 years, one of mountain biking’s most hallowed places still lives up to the legends.

Ladies Only Loop



The formidable winter weather of the Northwest has led to lots of rockwork on the North Shore. With no puddles and lots of grip, Andrew Shandro takes the outside line.
CANON, 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600
Just because it’s all up on the way to 7th Secret and Ladies Only doesn’t mean it’s all down for the descent. When it comes to the best trails, sometimes you have to earn it.
CANON, 1/320 sec, f/1.8, ISO 640

5th Horseman Shuttle



Geoff “Gully” Gulevich, your favorite mountain biker’s favorite mountain biker. His skill and style are obvious, as demonstrated here on 5th Horseman, and if you spend five minutes with the guy, you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
CANON, 1/800 sec, f/2.0 ISO 1600
If trees could talk, the cedars on the North Shore would have some all-time stories. From the logging boom to the huck-to-flat boom, Gully proves things are still rocking on the Shore.
CANON, 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500
Looking down on any familiar trail gives a completely different perspective. It’s amazing how a single ribbon of dirt and rock can provide generations’ worth of good times.
DJI DRONE, 1/240 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400
Through the halls of giants. Gully threads the needle through some of the Shore’s impressive second-growth, enjoying some loamy, rooty goodness on Cypress Mountain.
CANON, 1/800 sec, f/1.8, ISO 1250

Boogieman Loop


From Red Bull Rampage to Crankworx to the World Cup, Thomas Vanderham has competed in some of the biggest events in the world. But whenever he’s back home, he’s just another kid from the Shore.
CANON, 1/800 sec, f/3.5, ISO 1600
Not all North Shore trails are of the super-tech, super-skinny variety, although there are definitely reasons for that stereotype. Seymour has some serious flow, which for a rider like Thomas Vanderham translates into some seriously high speeds.
CANON, 1/40 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400
On the North Shore, there are features everywhere. Rocks, roots and downed trees become bonks, scrubs and launchers, ingraining a unique style into those who ride them every day.
CANON, 1/1000 sec, f/2.2, ISO 1600
Boogie Nights is a recent addition to the end of Boogieman and complements the classic tech with high-speed doubles and flowy corners. Thomas Vanderham is no stranger to a little air time, bringing some timeless flair to a new-school trail.
CANON, 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2000

The Sterling Lorence Gallery as originally published in The Sea to Sky Photo Book - Freehub Magazine Issue 7.3