“Digger—aka Todd Fiander—is one of the original trail builders that gave Vancouver’s North Shore its legendary status in the mountain biking world” (Diggerknowfear.com n.d.). For my eminent person this year I’ve decided to research Todd Fiander. He is an iconic mountain bike trail builder and filmmaker in North Vancouver who is one of the few people to be inducted into the mountain biking hall of fame. One of the reasons that I chose Todd as my eminent person was because I ride the trails that he built twenty-five years ago, and I watch the movies that he made. He’s also a prominent figure in mountain biking which is what I spend most of my free time doing. We both share a love for mountain biking, trail building, and filmmaking. Some of our common strengths include determination, perseverance, and patience, and both of us learn best hands-on. In TALONS my goal is to try my hardest in classes and to make new friends, when Todd is making a new trail or movie, he will put a ton of time into it to make it the best it can be, and he’s done lots of collaborations with other people like Dan Cowan. I can’t see any barriers that I would have connecting with Todd.
Fiander lived in North Vancouver and picked up the new sport of mountain biking in 1990 and was one of the first people to be doing it. In 1995 he got tired of riding on hiking trails and running into hikers, so he made the first bike-specific trail on the North Shore. The first trail that he built was on Mount Fromme and because of how wet the area is he used wooden bridges to get over swamps and creeks which hadn’t been seen anywhere else at the time. During his first build, he discovered his love for trail building which inspired him to keep making trails. Fiander has now hand-built over 35 trails and almost 60km of trail which is why he is nicknamed “Digger”. After he built a few trails, Dan Cowan came along and decided that his trails weren’t crazy enough, so he made his own trails with huge jumps and stunts. Eventually, the two builders started collaborating and became the iconic duo of Digger and Dangerous Dan. Because of the trails that these two built the North Shore was gaining popularity and more people were picking up the sport.
In late 1997 Fiander came out with his first film “North Shore Extreme” which was the first of ten that would come later. His film featured anyone in the area who was willing to ride the trails that he and Dan had built for the movie. The film helped the riders like Kim Steed and Wade Simmons to gain popularity and Kim Steed even used it to promote his bike shop which is a huge success now. Not only did it gain popularity for the riders but also for the trails in Vancouver. Mountain bike enthusiasts all over the world saw the film and saw the style of riding here, other places started to adopt a similar style which is now known as “freeride”. The film also attracted mountain bike enthusiasts all over the world to come to Vancouver and many of whom stayed to develop the trail system, even more, to make it one of the most popular places for mountain biking in the world.
Also in late 1997, Fiander helped to create the North Shore Mountain Bike Association (NSMBA). The NSMBA was created to essentially stand up for trail builders and the trails. One of the trails on Fromme was destroyed by a hiker and Grouse Mountain Resort was planning on taking over Fromme, Seymour trails were threatened by housing development and so were the Cypress trails and the NSMBA was going to fight to keep the trails. Currently, the NSMBA has over 2,500 members that help support the maintenance for trails on the North Shore with millions of people that come to ride the trails every year, and it’s one of the biggest, most well-known mountain biking associations in the world.
In summary, Todd Fiander is one of the most prominent figures in the mountain bike world who is one of only a few people to be inducted into the Marin Mountain Biking Hall of Fame for his extensive trail work and films as well as his creation of the NSMBA.
- Todd Fiander’s website. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://diggerknowfear.com/
- Vendetti, M. (2017, October 05). Home. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://mmbhof.org/
- NSMBA History. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://nsmba.ca/history/
- Digger: North shore history X – part II. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://nsmb.com/articles/4928-digger-north-shore-history-x-part-ii/
- Bears Eat Beets. (n.d.). Retrieved October 2o, 2021, from http://www.blog44.ca/owenc/2020/11/17/todd-fiander-the-greatest-canadian/
- Berard, M. (2016, January 05). His first name is “dangerous” – the dan cowan interview. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.pinkbike.com/news/dangerous-dan-cowan-interview-2016.html