Behind the 9: How’d Kirt Voreis become part of the Niner family? Part 1.

A photographer and friend relax along a graffiti painted wall.
Sometimes you need a little down time. Ian Hylands and Kirt Voreis take a load off.

Kirt Voreis and Niner started working together a little over a year ago. But Kirt started his professional career as a mountain biker back in 1994 and he’s still at it today. In that time, he’s had a number of different bike sponsors, raced downhill, dual slalom, made countless riding videos, coached countless riders through his AllRide program, so the question popped up recently, “How’d Kirt Voreis end up with Niner?”

In this 2-part series, we’ll explain, starting first with Ian Hylands, renowned action sport photographer and videographer who has been with Niner for the past 4 years and known Kirt since 2003.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST MEET KIRT?
I had run into Kirt a bunch of times at races but I didn’t really meet him until 2003 at the Big Bear NORBA race. I was shooting with Maxxis and for whatever reason I decided I needed to shoot with Kirt. Anyway, I called him up, and asked him to shoot. He gave me his address and I headed there to meet him. On my way, I called and spoke to Lindsay, and she said, “Yeah, hey, Kirt just knocked himself out. I’m taking him to the hospital. We’ll meet you at our house when we’re done there.”

Mountain bikers jump their bikes while being shot on video.
Kirt Voreis in the air while Ian Hylands shoots the action.

So, I ended up crashing on their floor for a few nights but we ended up taking a bunch of photos. That’s the year that Kirt won the National Slalom Championships. We hung out, we shot some stuff. I was with Aaron Chase and Eric Porter. We were filming for one of the Chain Reaction videos. There was a ditch near Kirt’s house and we shot some stuff there. Kirt couldn’t ride because he knocked himself out. We went into town, Rancho Cucamonga, and ended up getting hassled by the cops. Once Kirt healed up and rode up in Big Bear, we got some shots with Kirt in his backyard on the dirt jumps and some other stuff.
It all ends up blending together from there. We did a road trip and traveled around in Kirt’s RV and did a bunch of shooting.
That summer, he came up to Grouse for the World Cup and we did some shooting then too.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF KIRT?
Well, as I mentioned, when I went to meet him, he had just knocked himself out riding on his ramp in the backyard. But really, Kirt was cool. For the next 3 or 4 years, Kirt and I did quite a few shoots together and then we’d hang out. We did a couple of different Fox trips. Kirt was cool back then and he’s still cool now. I think he had bleach blonde hair back then and my memory is a bit fuzzy, but we sure had a lot of fun together.

A man with a pick axe digs a line in order to jump with his bike.
On a recent shoot, Kirt digs a jump line. (Photo credit: Ian Hylands)

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE KIRT MEMORY?
I have a lot. I just can’t remember any of them. We did spend a lot of time road tripping. Here’s a good one, though. We were shooting a New World Disorder video in Redlands. We were staying at his folks house, and we decided to film this section in Kirt’s garage where Kirt was driving this lowrider. And Kirt’s a pretty good artist and he drew all these buildings in marker and then stuck them to the wall. Then he put a table in front and drew a lowrider that was just big enough for him to “drive it”. It was pretty incredible. Kirt was just being Kirt, doing crazy stuff and making funny voices. We almost couldn’t film because we were all laughing so much.

WHY DO YOU THINK KIRT HAS MANAGED TO STICK AROUND THE WORLD OF MOUNTAIN BIKING FOR SO LONG?
Because he’s got the best tabletops in the industry. No, really, because he’s a character. He’s a genuine character and he’s likeable. And he is one of the overall most talented people on a bike that I have ever met. It doesn’t matter if it’s a BMX bike, a recumbent…Kirt just likes bikes. He can jump a bike. He can wheelie it. He can manual it. He can bunny hop it. He’s really just a big kid who loves to ride bikes. He was slalom national champ. He did really well with downhill. He’s a wicked dirt jumper. When he’s fit, he’s an incredible good cross country rider. For Kirt, it’s not about dirt jumping. It’s not about downhilling, it’s about riding which is where his whole AllRide thing came from.

HOW DID YOUR FRIENDSHIP WITH KIRT GET HIM INVOLVED WITH NINER?
Last year, we were looking for someone who could represent the trail community. I knew Kirt was without a bike sponsor and I knew his fun-loving, lighthearted character, as well as his rad skills on a bike fit nicely with Niner’s laid back, friendly personality. He and Nate Adams, our graphic designer and in-house shredder have been friends for a long time too. It just made sense to get him talking with Chris and Brad. It’s been a lot of fun working with him again.

INTERESTED IN MORE BEHIND THE SCENES STUFF ABOUT KIRT? READ THESE ARTICLES.

How did Kirt Voreis become a part of the Niner family?, PART 2

Career Questions with Kirt Voreis

A different side to Kirt Voreis

A mountain biker in full face helmet jumps his bike sideways in the desert.
Ian Hylands captured Kirt Voreis in the air during a recent photo and video shoot.

 

 

 

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