Touring the West Kootenay has always been popular with motorcyclists. And who can blame them for riding along the blue waters of Kootenay Lake enveloped by the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains. These winding route ways are about to get some more limelight thanks to Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism (NKLT) executive director Dianna Ducs and Robby Kerr, owner of Kootenay Motorcycle Rentals, who helped make a video of motorcycling in the area last month. The section of highway from Nelson to Kaslo is part The West Koot Route, which is part of the larger Selkirk Loop that dips in the U.S. NKLT hired Kootenay Valley Helicopters, videographer Jason Mannings and still photographer Kari Medig to follow a group of 16 riders from Nelson to Kaslo in June.
Ducs explained the West Koot Route has two different gateways, either from Nelson or Revelstoke and then around Kokanee Glacier. The route around the glacier is 220 kms.
The Selkirk Loop is a 450 km byway winding through the Selkirk Mountains through Idaho, Washington and BC.
To get video footage Kerr organized 15 friends who rode all day departing Nelson at 7:30 a.m.
“I’m a motorcycle fanatic,” said Kerr. “It was fun to get followed by a helicopter riding up the lake.”
“We could feel the wind off the (helicopter) rotor and the camera crew was hanging out the side. They got some amazing shots, not just aerials.”
Kerr has been building bikes with his Kootenay Motorcycle Art since 2007 but he said because it is a small community and it’s a seasonal business he decided to expand into rentals for touring; KMR opened in June.
“We’re surrounded by the best motorcycling roads; the terrain, and the twisty yet smooth roads are quiet (less traffic) and the scenery.” He explained a lot of tourists fly in or come in campers so renting a motorcycle is a way for them to explore once they arrive.
Reaching Kaslo by breakfast the group hit the road for a detour north to Meadow Creek. They backtracked to Kaslo and continued west to New Denver before returning to Nelson.
NKLT will be using some of the footage for their video promoting festivals and events coming out next spring. “It takes a year to shoot the video as we’re getting footage at each event, “ said Ducs.
Ducs said the NKLT is promoting the Selkirk motorcycle touring to the U.S. international market as it’s a good market. “It’s very lucrative (for businesses) as motorcyclists are not carrying as much so they need accommodation and food.”
The granddaddy circle tour of them all, the International Selkirk Loop. Named as one of the top 10 scenic drives in the Northern Rockies, the International Selkirk Loop is well worth the drive.
“KVH was awesome to work with and they were generous with their time,” said Ducs. “All the riders donated their entire day to help promote riding in the region. Kudos to them all. NKLT is honoured to have them support tourism.”
The motorcycle touring coverage was spurred by a conversation Ducs had last winter when a journalist from The Globe and Mail was at Whitewater. He asked what was popular in the summer so they decided to come back for the motorcycle touring along with an offer to edit the video which comes out on Thursday, July 10.
This article will appear in a coming issue of the West Kootenay Advertiser.