Easy riders blaze trails

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Mountain bike movie makers are lapping up Queenstown landscapes for scenes in sports action flicks.

Award-winning Canadian film company Anthill Films brought top riders Gee Atherton, 24, of England, and Steve Smith, 19, of Canada, to the resort to film segments of its latest production Follow Me.

Vertigo Bikes owner Tim Ceci says Anthill approached him to help find locations and provide guides for some of the more remote terrain, including a helicopter-access-only trail.

“These guys are used to forested areas like in Whistler and so are blown away when they come here and see our natural landscapes. You still get the big hills but being tree-free makes for some amazing shots. No doubt we’ll see more film crews keen to do their thing here.”

The last big mountain bike film to be shot here was New World Disorder five years ago and Queenstown’s trails were also featured in the Kiwi sports flick Pusher in 2007.

Attracting riders like 2008 world downhill champ Atherton and 2008 United States Open downhill champ Smith will only bolster the resort’s popularity with pro riders, Ceci says.

“Gee and Steve are like [mountain bike] royalty,” Ceci says. “Each season we’re seeing more and more pro riders coming here from the northern hemisphere which is fantastic for the sport.”

Follow Me features some of the best mountain bikers in the world and has been shot at top international riding locations including Queenstown tracks at the Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Skippers Canyon.

Follow Me is due for release in May this year.