Locals Only: A Phonics Lesson

by Colin Field
It’s kind of a beginner trail. I mean it’s a blue square. One of the trails that if you have any expertise at all, you rarely ride. The guys I usually ride with don’t take me there. I’m a relative newbie to downhilling, so I just follow their lead. They know the other trails way too well; the gondola conversation sometimes consists of exchanges like this:

“Remember there was that section on R-Shore, you know, just past the third tree after the seventh left?”
And the guy he’s talking to goes, “yeah.”
“Well, then you go over the four rocks and there’s the root?”
“Yeah, I hate that root!”
Consequently, they lose me pretty quickly both in conversation and on the trail.
So when an old friend wanted to go downhilling for the second time in his life, I suppose I was guiding him. But not really. Because he went left where I usually go straight. And that’s where we found the trail both of us were looking for. Berms, bumps, wallrides and jumps all spaced perfectly making one of the most exciting, flowing downhill trails, I’ll argue, in Ontario. It was the only trail we rode for the rest of the day.
No one knows how to say the name of the trail. Even the lifties and patrollers don’t say it correctly. People call it things like Hey Ole, or A Hole, but rarely does someone get it right. It’s actually pronounced How Lee, though it’s spelled Haole. The only reason I know this is because I wore out my VHS version of 1987’s cheesy surf flick, North Shore, years ago. The characters say the word Haole over and over again. I’m sure surfers detest the movie, but back in the day I couldn’t get enough of it.

According to the Urban Dictionary, “when used on the Hawaiian islands, haole is generally accepted to mean foreigner or outsider.”
In essence, any non-local. I don’t know why the trail builders called it this. But it took a non-local to show it to me. And he found it by accident.
As my wheels touched the ground off the wallride, I whooped and laughed instinctively, surprised at just how fun this trail is, even after riding it five times in a row. Haole is by no means a secret trail. There’s no initiation needed to find it, no band of brothers keeping it under wraps, it’s simply another outdoor gem the region offers. We get asked all the time to stop sharing these local spots. When “secret spots” end up overcrowded, we’re the ones that get blamed. And I used to sympathize with the locals. That is, until a haole showed me Haole.
We write stories about places to celebrate them. And if a non-local can introduce me to my new favourite trail then there are no secret spots, only places waiting to be discovered. And there’s no better time to explore than summer. See you on the trail.

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