Continuing with the “Closer Look” series, we’re now focusing our attention on our summer 2022 trips: Sun Valley, Revelstoke, and Monarch Crest (we’ll save the second Squamish trip for the Fall writeup). To us, summer is all about BIG MOUNTAINS, and we’ve got you covered with our selection. From high country epic rides in Sun Valley, to shuttle-based enduro trips in Revy and Monarch Crest, we’ve got something for everyone. That said, each trip is quite different both in form, function, and appealing to different types of riders. Read on for our full breakdown!
Sun Valley, ID: June 23-27, 2022
Technical Level: Intermediate
Physical Level: Intermediate-Advanced
Summary: Sun Valley in mid-to-late June is our first taste of big mountain riding each year, and we couldn’t be more excited to head to Idaho to sample the goods. Typically we’ll find perfect weather (highs in the 60s and 70s) along with tacky trails, amazing wildflowers, and non-existent crowds. This trip is all about big rides in the backcountry, and we’ve put some killer point-to-point routes together to show you the best of what’s on tap.
What should you expect in Sun Valley? Big rides, and loooong flowy descents with views that go on forever. The climbs are long- don’t get us wrong- but they’re never steep like you’ll see in Crested Butte. That said, you should definitely put in lots of training miles before joining us in late June. Even though the terrain in Sun Valley is on the “more mellow” side in terms of tech, the rides here always have a way of beating you down over the course of a long day. We’ll mix things up with a couple of shuttles, point to points, loops, and maybe even finish at a couple of our favorite bars in town for post-ride beers.
Ride Day 1: Edge of the World w/ Shuttle. This is one of our customers’ favorites, and we’re kicking the trip off with a bang. We’ll shuttle to almost 9,000 feet to the start of Oregon Gulch, where an amazing descent begins after a short 15-min warmup climb to get the blood flowing. Oregon Gulch has a mix of steeps, flow, and tech for 6 miles and almost 2500′! From here, we’ll take a series of trails with shorter climbs (1-2 miles) and fast, flowy descents all the way back to town to total around 22 miles with 2500′ of climbing and 5500′ of descending!
Day 2: Castle Creek to Red Warrior to Warm Springs. Yep, another shuttle… today’s ride is a true backcountry experience where we’ll hit a long 7+ mile downhill that few people ride. The route starts with a 20-25 minute climb on Osberg Ridge before heading over to Castle Creek, which is one of our favorite raw, rugged descents anywhere. Once we hit Warm Springs Road, we have our biggest climb of the day up to the top of Red Warrior (about 5 miles), but it’s totally worth the effort since RW is always a customer fave: 5 miles and over 2000′ of ripping tech and flow! All told we’ll knock out about 21-22 miles with 2500′ of climbing and another 5000’+ of descent.
Day 3: We’re going to start with another shuttle ride, and this one is to the start of Osberg Ridge. Osberg’s all the way back to town is an absolute classic, but make sure you’ve got the legs and lungs to tackle it. Expect long climbs, huge views, incredible singletrack, and some rugged backcountry riding. Today’s ride will clock in around 25 miles with over 3500′ of climbing (and 6000′ of descending). We’ll end at world-famous Grumpy’s for a post-ride beer and a snack, before heading back to the house for a hearty dinner.
Day 4: We’re going to treat you to one of our favorite “short loops” anywhere… just south of town in Greenhorn Gulch. Greenhorn-Imperial is an incredible 11 mile, 2000′ loop that is the perfect topper for an incredible trip. If you’re feeling good on today’s ride and want a little more, we’re happy to add some climbing and descending to make it closer to 15 miles with 3000′ of climbing/descending.
Expected Weather: Sun Valley in early summer is absolutely perfect, with highs in the 70s and typically minimal chances for rain. Occasionally we’ll get a “heat wave” coming through that will push higher elevations close to 80*, but that’s fairly rare. If it does rain, it’s a passing shower and not something that lasts all day.
Recommended Bike: Sun Valley is all about efficiency and flow, so we recommend one of our trail bike options for these trips. Something like the Revel Rascal or GG Trail Pistol is absolutely perfect. If you’ve got the fitness and don’t mind climbing with a bigger/heavier bike, then you could definitely go with a little more travel like the GG Smash.
Final Word: To us, Sun Valley is the epitome of “high country epic” riding. You’ll be wiped out at the end of each day, but honestly- we can’t think of many places we’d rather spend all day in the mountains. The rides will be big and long, but the descents are truly epic and we’ll have the trails to ourselves. Make sure you train for this one, as we’ll be in the saddle for 20+ miles every day with options to lengthen rides and push even harder.. and farther into the rugged backcountry of the Idaho mountains.
Revelstoke, BC: July 17-23, 2022
Revelstoke, BC: July 23-29, 2022 (SOLD OUT)
Technical Level: Advanced-Expert
Physical Level: Intermediate+
Summary: With two trips on the calendar for 2022, we’re looking forward to finally heading north of the border to visit our friendly Canadian neighbors… because the riding is truly epic and mind-blowing. Let’s get it out of the way at the start: this trip is for advanced/expert riders only. The terrain in Revelstoke is steep, technical, and exposed- if you don’t have exceptional bike-handling skills and you’re not fully-confident on everything you’ve ridden at home (and on prior Chasing Epic trips), then this trip probably isn’t for you. Yet.
Revelstoke is a bit different from all our other Chasing Epic trips: first, it’s 7 days long with 6 days of riding. Second, it’s almost entirely shuttle-based, as the climbs would otherwise be on long logging roads, and who wants to do that? This trip is all about the descents, and we’ll log tons of vertical every day. You’ll find a mix of steep, technical, rocky, rooty, and exposed trails on this trip, so definitely bring your A-game. We’ll also spend a day at Revelstoke Mountain Resort riding lifts… and did we mention there’s a heli drop on Mt. Cartier included as well?
Ride Day 1: This morning we’ll drive over to Boulder Mountain and do shuttle laps all morning until a well-earned lunch. Expect rock rolls, man-made features, steep trails, technical trails, and just about anything else you can think of. Each lap is about 1500 vertical feet, and it will blow your mind how fast you can knock out a run. After lunch we’ll get another shuttle bump to the top of the world-famous Martha Creek trail, which drops over 5,000 feet in about 6 miles. Yes, you read that right. This trail is the ultimate in skills testing, as you’ll be using everything you’ve got for the duration. Martha Creek has it all, with steep tech, rocky tech, rooty tech, and even some fast flow built in for good measure.
Day 2: Today’s ride is one of our favorites anywhere… we start with a 3,000′ shuttle “bump” to a trailhead high above town before grinding out a pretty mellow 7-mile, 2000′ climb to the high alpine where you won’t believe the views. We’ll be very surprised if there’s anyone around other than our group, to be honest. Want to keep climbing? Sweet, our guides will take the ambitious few even higher and further into the back country to make for a longer ride! Once we’ve topped out, we’ll turn around and drop almost 6,000′ back into town: you’ll get flow, tech, and some of the steepest trails in town. This one is the “ultimate” big ride for a Chasing Epic trip, we know you’re going to love it.
Day 3: Time to head south of town to the Kootenays- New Denver and Nakusp. After a scenic ferry ride, we’ll hit the shuttle laps hard on raw, rugged, backcountry style trails all day. New Denver and Nakusp offer a glimpse into some different terrain for this area of BC, but still so damn good. Expect the forearm pump to be strong today, but don’t worry… we’ll cure those sore muscles by ending at the beach for a post-ride beer and snacks before heading back to Revelstoke later in the evening. Depending on how many laps we can get in, expect about 7-10k of vertical today; you know, just another day in paradise.
Day 4: This morning we’ll head over to Glacier Helicopters for a brief intro and safety lesson, before loading the bikes into a custom setup designed specifically to bring mountain bikers into the high-alpine. We’ll land on Mt. Cartier, and begin our adventure with a short hike to the top where we’ll have 360-degree views of our surroundings. Then the fun really starts: an 11-mile, 7,000 foot descent down one of the best trails in the world. This trail is no joke: it starts with a 1.5 mile section that has tight switchbacks and extremely exposed singletrack, which will grip even the best riders. From there, the trail gets progressively faster and steeper as it drops into the forest and takes advantage of the never-ending vertical. Once again, expect everything to be thrown at you here because it’s Revelstoke. Depending on how beat everyone is, we’ll likely have a chance to do a shuttle lap or two in the late afternoon before grabbing a post-ride beer and dinner at the lodge.
Day 5: Today’s ride is something different than you’ll find on a standard Chasing Epic trip, but there’s still a high chance of having your mind blown. We’ll ride from the lodge over to Revelstoke Mountain Resort, where we’ll hop on the gondola for a 3,500 foot “bump” before beginning our climb for the day. After almost 2,000 feet of climbing (expect about an hour), we’ll be standing atop the longest purpose-built flow trail in the world. For 10 miles and over 5,500 feet of descending, we’ll be ripping huge berms, hitting table top jumps, and generally flying downhill laughing louder than adults are supposed to. Even if you’re not a park rider, this trail is a blast and is a fantastic way of mixing things up! Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) is always adding new trails every year, so we’ll have multiple options for add’l laps in the afternoon, making for a hell of a day!
Day 6: We’ve got a few more hours of riding left, which means we’ll head back over to Boulder Mountain to tackle some of the trails we haven’t hit just yet. This morning we’ll get another 5-6,000′ of shuttle laps in… before actually calling it good. We’ll try to wrap things up by 1:00 or so, in order to get everyone back to Kelowna for their flight this afternoon.
Expected Weather: Revelstoke sits in the Columbia River valley at around 2500′, so you can expect relatively mild temps for mid-July… typically mid-70s. There’s a chance we’ll get cooler mornings and evenings higher in the mountains, but for the most part we’re looking good. We’ll hope for a bit of rain here and there too, since the trails become magical after overnight showers!
Recommended Bike: Go big or go home. We recommend full-on enduro bikes for this trip, with a minimum of 150mm up front and 140-160mm in the back. Bikes like the Revel Rail, GG Smash, and GG Gnarvana are ideal for Revelstoke.
Summary: Revelstoke is the ultimate big mountain enduro destination. To us, it’s the mecca of high-alpine mountain biking if you’re looking to push your skills, ride steeper terrain than you’ve ever experienced before, and come away with bigger grins than you ever knew possible. That said, like we mentioned at the top- this trip is definitely for advanced/expert level riders only. You can expect to be challenged every day, and every evening you’ll be stretching your forearms and shoulders, hoping you can push even harder the next day. Don’t take this trip lightly, but at the same time… if you’re up for the test, sign up and you won’t be disappointed.
Monarch Crest: August 19-23, 2022
Technical Level: Advanced
Physical Level: Advanced
Summary: We like to think of our Monarch Crest Enduro trip as “Revelstoke Lite”… but that’s not meant to undercut the difficulty whatsoever. For our clients who can’t commit to a longer trip, or want to stay in the US and experience a full-on enduro-style trip, then Monarch Crest is for you! This trip will still push your technical abilities, as well as your physical limits as most of the riding on this trip is above 10,000 feet!
You can expect LONG descents on this trip, with varying levels of tech: from the loose, rocky, above-treeline steeps of Canyon Creek to some of the flow found on Starvation Creek, our Monarch Crest trip has it all. With three days of BIG shuttles, this trip is definitely focused on high-country alpine descents. That said, we also mix in a “pedal day” with almost 4000′ of climbing, just to keep you honest and remind you that sometimes you’ve got to earn your descents.
Ride Day 1: Since the Monarch Crest is the backbone of our trip, we’ll start with one of the best descents off the pass, Starvation Creek. This ride starts at Monarch Pass with a gentle climb, followed by a slightly stiffer climb and quite a bit of high-alpine downhill, before we get to Starvation Creek proper. This descent follows its namesake (Starvation Creek) for 7 miles and about 2500 feet of rowdy, primitive downhill riding. If you’re feeling up to it in the afternoon, we’ve got an optional bonus ride on the Cottonwood trails available to finish you off!
Day 2: Today is our main “pedal day”, which means we’re going to put you to the test… enduro style. Canyon Creek is a relatively unknown loop just west of Monarch Pass, but it’s slowly gaining popularity because of the 10+ mile downhill. Yes, that’s what we said: 10 mile downhill. But it’s not without a little effort, as we’ll climb 4000 feet today with a nice long hike-a-bike above treeline. Don’t worry though, the suffering is always worth it, as you’ll have a descent today you’ll never forget.
Day 3: Double shuttle day! Today we’re going to put your skills and stamina to the test, with a combo of shuttles that should be on every mountain biker’s bucket list: Greens Creek and Fooses Creek. Each trail drops about 4,000 feet over 7 miles, so expect some rowdy high country riding and a full day of effort that totals about 30 miles. Greens is full-on rowdy, while Fooses is a mix of rocky, rooty, and flowy. This is one of our biggest downhill days with Chasing Epic, and we can’t wait to show you the goods.
Day 4: Today is departure day, but that doesn’t mean we’ll take it easy on you. Agate Creek is the only trail off the Monarch Crest that drops to the west, and today that’s our goal. As you drop west down the creek drainage the trail transforms from steep and loose to more mellow and flowy, but the creek crossings and varying terrain always keep you on your toes. All told it’ll be about 18 miles with over 4,000 feet of descending; it’ll be the perfect way to top off an amazing four days of riding!
Expected Weather: Summer in the Rocky Mountains is always unpredictable, and our Monarch Crest trips are the epitome of that. “On average”, you can expect daytime temps in the 60s or 70s with afternoon thunderstorms. In reality, however, you never know what’s going to happen…80 and dry, or 50 degrees with thunderstorms. We’ll do our best to prepare you for what to bring and expect, but know this: the weather above 10,000′ always makes it fun. We promise.
Recommended Bike: Just like Revelstoke, we recommend a true enduro bike for this trip: 140-160mm of travel for the long, hand-busting descents we’ll do each day. If you’re a little more skilled with the bike and like a quicker-handling feel, then you can definitely get by with a well-equipped trail bike like the Revel Rascal or GG Trail Pistol. But honestly, we’d go with something like the Revel Rail, GG Smash, or GG Gnarvana to maximize the fun factor.
Summary: Our Monarch Crest trip has it all, based around one of the most famous trail systems in the US. For 4 days, we’re going to focus on the incredible Colorado high-alpine descents… which to us, are some of the best in the country. This trip is for our more advanced riders, since these trails are steep and technical, and the descents seem to last forever. Each day will build towards the next, until you can barely move by the time we head home after four full days of kick-ass rides. It’s hard to describe how tough and rewarding high-altitude riding is, especially at this level. But in all honesty, this trip delivers in spades and we can’t wait until August!