Carson Storch versus the ‘Electric Beaver.’ So many questions. Luckily, Storch has the answers.
What is an “Electric Beaver”? For one thing, it’s a beast. For another, it’s a brainchild.
And in still other ways, the line — which freeride MTB pro Carson Storch and friends named “Electric Beaver” — is a tenuous balance, a sought-after objective, a dream, a combative adversary, and the subject of a love story.
But don’t take it from me, because you don’t need to. Instead, let Storch take you through his whole odyssey with the dirt monster that arrested his attention and, ultimately, captured his heart.
Q&A With Carson Storch
Editor’s note: This interview was furnished by representatives of the film Electric Beaver.
Electric Beaver opens with you jumping out of a helicopter. What’s the story behind the chopper scene?
Carson Storch: I had this idea to do a caveman out of a helicopter onto one of the landings in my line. My good friend Chris Jordan works as a heli operator for Fly Bend, a company out of my hometown [Bend, Ore.], and he agreed to take me up. As you see in the film, it didn’t go as planned — I got caught by rotor wash and ended up with a broken collarbone!
Committing to the drop while standing on the skid of the heli was one of the scariest experiences of my life! That was a one-and-done for me. Big thanks to Chris and Fly Bend for allowing me the opportunity, though!
The setting for the film looks like every MTB kid’s dream. What’s its story?
The line is part of a network of private trails and jump lines on the Northern Oregon Coast. I have spent a ton of time riding, filming, and moving dirt over there for the past 5 to 6 years, and it’s become a second home to me. Basically, a small group of us have access to a large chunk of private timber land, and over the years it’s been built out for various projects.
All those projects led to the idea to build a long and ridiculously fun line, which we named “Electric Beaver” (probably after one too many Pub Beers). The beaver is Oregon’s state animal.
What goes into building a line like this? Talk us through the process.
This build initially took me about 2 weeks, working with a couple other builders including Josh Venti, who is the man. After breaking myself off attempting the heli caveman in 2021, we decided to postpone the project until after Rampage that year, and then I rebroke my collarbone during practice (it was a rough year, to say the least). So, what started as a weeklong shoot for a passion project turned into a multiyear ordeal.
When we first started filming, the line ended shortly after the flat drop, but in spring 2022, Josh convinced me to extend the line to a natural land bridge he found, essentially doubling the length of the line. So, I rented another big excavator, brought my mini excavator back over, and we proceeded to move more dirt!
Dreaming up lines in this terrain is a really enjoyable experience; the topography lends itself well to creatively moving dirt. The whole line was a dream build! So many people to thank for helping bring it to life.
What’s it like having an MTB amusement park in your backyard?
I feel very privileged to have access to this chunk of land, as does everyone who rides it. So many good memories have been made there! Although it’s a private zone, it is leading toward the overall goal of developing a public trail network on the Northern Oregon Coast, near Pacific City. That’s been in the works for years now — you can follow TORTA MTB for more info.
Any pros ever join you out there?
There’s been an influx of riders from all over the world that have enjoyed riding this zone, whether filming projects or just riding for fun. It’s definitely blown up as a hotspot in our industry.
What’s the most standout session you’ve ever had there?
My favorite memory of riding this area was Black Sage 2019, which is a Fest Series event that Kyle Jameson and I put on. We invited 15 to 20 of the best freeriders on the planet to come ride the zone for a day. Best of times!
You also rip a Can-Am side-by-side in the film. Aside from your bike, is that your preferred mode of transportation?
I have a big passion for off-road and I ride for Can-Am, which I will forever be grateful for — having their support is a dream come true. SXS plus MTB just makes sense — the ability while building to get into tight zones, bring tools, roll pack big jumps, etc. — it all goes hand-in-hand.
I would love to get into racing SXS. It’s something I’ve slowly been working toward doing for fun on the side. I just enjoy ripping them so much!
Electric Beaver is a full-on cinematic experience. Tell us about the filming process.
The idea for the film was dreamt up in collaboration with my friend Christian Rigal, who’s also a talented rider and filmer. Working with a good homie who’s as good behind a lens as he is on a bike made it really fun. He has his own cinematic style and killed it with this project, as with everything he does behind the camera.
The filming process wasn’t easy though, thanks to injuries and things like major challenges with weather and conditions. For a while, I referred to this as the project from hell, but in hindsight, it was a great experience.
The main segment of [the line] “Electric Beaver” opens with a couple of hard wipeouts. How do you shake those off?
Injuries are inevitable in this sport. Without them, it wouldn’t be as special. I had a great 6-year run of being injury-free before attempting the heli caveman. Getting back on top after an injury is always a challenge, and that one was a big hurdle to jump. Then when we resumed filming in 2022, I overshot/over-rotated the 360 drop, smoked my head, and separated my shoulder.
In the end, it felt good to finally wrap this thing up. I wasn’t trying to change the world with this project, I just wanted to have fun and make people want to ride. Hopefully, people get out and shred after watching!
What setup are you riding?
I am riding a Propain Spindrift, Michelin DH22 (Front) DH34 (Rear), SR Suntour Rux fork/VORO Rear Shock, Shimano drivetrain, Title cockpit/seat/post, Sensus grips and pedals, and DT Swiss Wheels.
What’s your go-to bevy after a day on the course?
My favorite post-shred beer has to be 10 Barrel [Brewing Co.] Pilsner!
What’s the plan for 2023? Any big news coming up?
I am heading to Mexico for Freeride Fiesta this weekend and have quite a few film projects coming up. Keep your eyes peeled for a potential event involving “Electric Beaver,” among other lines within this zone!