Not that you really needed one, but here’s yet another reason to ride mountain bikes in Crested Butte. On the eve of Fall Outerbike 2016, the company behind these popular consumer demo events, Western Spirit Cycling, announced it was expanding in 2017 to include a summer stop in the famous Colorado mountain town that helped spawn this whole fat tire thing in the first place.
The 2017 Outerbike dates are Moab, March 31 to April 2, Crested Butte August 18-20, and then back to Moab, October 6-8. The Utah riding Mecca is home base for Western Spirit, which dropped its summer Outerbike Whistler event after two seasons.
For the uninitiated, Outerbike is a consumer demo event that’s aim is to help riders pick their next bike. For the price of admission, you get the chance to check out the latest offerings from the bike industry and test these bikes on legit trails, not just spin around a parking lot.
“Our goal is to give consumers the opportunity to connect with bike designers and manufacturers directly,” explained Western Spirit CEO Ashley Korenblat. “Regardless of what sales channel they choose, we know that riding a bike on a real trail inspires everybody.”
Certainly Crested Butte can deliver that. The Colorado Outerbike event will be based at Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Evolution Bike Park, which has 29 trails covering about 30 miles, ranging from beginner-friendly XC to full pucker downhill gnar. All the terrain is serviced by one high-speed quad lift, which gains about 1000 feet of vertical. There are also several cross-country climbing trails that you can link into from the base area.
“One of the great things about [Evolution Bike Park] is that a competent rider on a 150mm to 170mm trail bike can ride almost everything,” park manager Christian Robertson told us earlier this summer. “There are really only two trails that will make your think. But at the same time, you can have a blast here on a downhill bike, too. It’s a really diverse place to ride.”
Indeed, with a our Colorado test HQ based in Crested Butte, we’ve spent a bunch of time on the lift and trails at Evolution Bike Park. And you can have fun (and do legitimate testing) on just about any kind of bike. There’s a handful of smooth beginner rated XC trails, some fantastic intermediate flow trails dotted with manageable (and rollable) table tops, and about a half dozen expert runs, some with bigger jump features, some with technical natural terrain. It’s a surprisingly diverse place given its small size compared to the likes of Whistler or Winter Park’s Trestle Bike Park.
“Crested Butte has always been high on the bucket list for hardcore riders but now with the Evolution Bike Park it’s got something for everyone,” added Western Spirit co-owner Mark Sevenoff.
Crested Butte is located in the center of the state, about 4.5 hours from Colorado’s densely populated Front Range and Denver International Airport. There is also air service into the nearby Gunnison airport (30 minutes away) and Montrose (90 minutes away). Grand Junction, yet another amazing Colorado riding destination, is 3 hours away and has a mid-seized airport.
As for this weekend’s Moab event, Western Spirit says over 60 exhibitors have attracted about 1000 riders from 47 states and seven foreign countries. Base of ops is the massive parking lot adjacent to the XC oriented Brand Trails, but there will also be shuttles to other more technical trail systems, which in the past has included Mag 7 and Captain Ahab among others. Tickets are still available.
For more information please visit www.outerbike.com.