A desire to get into outdoor recreation landed Megan Chutskoff a job at Red Shreds Bike and Board Shop 17 years ago.
Born and raised in Williams Lake, she attended Chilcotin Road Elementary School, Williams Lake Secondary and when School District 27 switched having two secondary schools she chose Columneetza, graduating from there in 2002.
She remembers quite vividly how she ended up working there. She had been working at Panago Pizza the year after graduation and went to the gym to work out regularly.
“I was walking on the stair master or treadmill and looking outside and it was this gorgeous day and I thought ‘what am I doing in here? There has to be a better way to exercise.’”
After brainstorming her options, she decided the best way to get involved with outdoor activity would be to get a job at a local outdoor store.
Red Shreds was hiring someone part-time and then it turned into full-time shortly after that and she’s been part of the team ever since.
“It has changed my perspective on life 100 per cent,” she added.
In 2003 her mom, Marlene Lamash, bought Chutskoff her first mountain bike a few months into the job.
Thinking back it was the personal development and confidence mountain biking gave her that made her keep going and made her realize it was ‘so much more than just riding a bike.’
“It kind of just shapes the rest of your life. It shows you what you are capable of and then the people that you get to meet from all walks of life. You are going for rides with doctors, kids with moms, everything in between, and from all over the world.”
Normally she bikes a few times a week and has favourite trails all over the local network in every zone.
Her most notorious crash was when she was stabbed by her brake lever into her inner thigh.
“It took a few stitches and some friends to help me out of that one. But beyond that, I’ve had some minor scrapes and bruises.”
For anyone considering mountain biking as a new sport, she said there are so many different levels.
“You can ease yourself into it so gently. Some people like to take a big huge leap and go all in, but someone like me is really conservative.”
She loves hanging out with her dogs. Her Blue Heeler Sage is 13 and her rescue Red Heeler cross Django is three.
Sage spent her first two years of her life at work, and then decided she’d rather stay home.
When she’s not working she is out mountain biking, paddle boarding, canoeing, hiking, rock climbing occasionally, x-country skiing and snowboarding.
Aside from work she has a huge garden at the duplex she and her mom bought six years ago.
Chutskoff also has a few irons in different pots.
A few years ago she started a cleaning business, which the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered for a bit, and she now has someone running for her.
She said the pandemic has pushed her to value relationships more, especially ones that matter.
“It is kind of interesting to be living through these times and try not to be stressed out about it, but take the information, learn the lessons and be grateful for our experiences as people here.”