Tucked into the cleavage of Mount Fromme and the rear end of Vancouver’s North Shore, The VanTan Club invites recreationalists of all shapes and sizes to undress for success. By Leah Adams-Chute.
I had cycled past the same yellow gate on Mount Fromme countless times. Each ride, I’d been consumed with curiosity about whether the dirt road behind the gate would really lead to a nudist community, or if that was just a myth passed down by generations of mountain bikers. One afternoon in June, the gate was open. Before my partner could negotiate a no, I was riding through the gate and into the VanTan Club on Vancouver’s North Shore.
My partner followed me and we jumped off our bikes as a man, entirely in the buff, quickly strode toward us. “Are you here for the open house?” Hans stood proudly, hands on hips, his almond skin glowing in the sun. We faced him in head-to-toe mountain-bike gear. Hans took us on a tour of the facilities: a great lawn with an unfathomable view of Vancouver, wood-fired sauna, hot tub, spacious sun deck, and a rustic warming cabin. “This is where we gather in winter. Have you ever tried naked karaoke?” My mind immediately cut to a scene with a dozen cramped naked people belting out “Don’t Stop Believin’.” I wondered how nights like that might end. Before my thoughts could wander too far, Hans let us know that if we were looking for a nude party scene like Vancouver’s infamous Wreck Beach, then we should promptly move on. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I decided right then that this slice of paradise was far superior to a beach full of naked dudes trying to offer me drugs from a fanny pack.
The perks of becoming a VanTan Club member are many: exclusive 24-hour access to a property minutes from world-class mountain biking, an affordable place to camp, and all the amenities of a half-decent resort. I pocketed a brochure as Hans delivered his final sales pitch, “Why don’t you join the group on the Bare Trail?” We looked across the property to see four people sporting nothing more than hiking boots and socks strolling into the old-growth forest. We politely declined. Scanning the pamphlet on our drive home, I was relieved to discover that I didn’t have to commit to this community right away. I could try it on for size on my birthday, for free.