No self-respecting mountain biker has ever needed an excuse to tackle the miles upon miles of singletrack sweetness that is Crested Butte, Colorado. Now there’s even more reason to load up the roof rack and make the pilgrimage: The premier mountain biking demo event in North America is coming to Crested Butte this summer when the famed Outerbike festival summer goes down here August 18-20, 2017. If you aren’t yet familiar with the phenomenon that is Outerbike, get ready to be blown away.
The big event will be held at the base of Crested Butte Mountain Resort. It will provide participants with the chance to ride some of the best bikes currently on the market while simultaneously soaking in all that this mountain biking nirvana has to offer. Outerbike was started by Mark and Ashley Sevenoff, who own and operate Western Spirit Cycling Adventures, as a laid-back way for people to get together and try out a wide variety of bikes from different manufacturers on their hometown trails in Moab, Utah.
What Outerbike has become, however, is anything but subdued. Every spring and fall, bike nerds from around the world—yes, the world—descend on Moab to check out the latest and greatest rides from nearly every bike manufacturer on the planet. It has become a celebrated gathering with an almost cult-like following of riders who have a passion for the sport and an absolute zeal for life.
“The events in Moab are amazing,” says Mark Sevenoff. “But we wanted to get people into the mountains in the summer months and give them a different Outerbike experience than what they’ll find in Moab.”
Whistler, British Columbia has hosted Outerbike in the past, but this year Mark and Ashley decided to pick a spot closer to their home—and their hearts. “We have a soft spot for Crested Butte because I lived here for many years, and it’s where Ashley and I met,” Mark says. “But even beyond that, Crested Butte is just an amazing place. They have so much history, and so much to offer, and the people here are incredible. When we were looking for a place to bring Outerbike, this was an easy choice.”
The same vibe that was born in the high desert of Moab will be alive and well when Outerbike opens in Crested Butte this summer. And while there are many activities and festivities planned for all ages and interest levels, Outerbike is first and foremost a bike demo event. More than 40 bike manufacturers—from the most well-known brands to local favorites to obscure shops and even some custom bike makers—will be on hand to give eager mountain bikers a chance to test the newest rides—and hopefully find the one that fits their unique taste and individual riding style.
“In most towns, there’s typically a limited selection of demos available at the local shops, so it can be tough to get out and ride a lot of different bikes and find the one that fits you,” says Laurel Runcie of Crested Butte who is helping organize the event.
“But Outerbike brings so many bike manufacturers together in one place that it makes it easy to find the bike that you’re going to love to ride for years to come.”
Although the opportunity to demo new bikes is the cornerstone of Outerbike, the event isn’t just for people who are in the market for a new steed. Crested Butte Outerbike will offer three different participation packages to help you get the most out of the event regardless of what your reasons for joining the festivities might be. The Full Demo package is $200 and includes the opportunity to demo as many bikes from as many manufacturers as you can get your hands on during the three days of the festival. The pass includes access to Crested Butte’s most celebrated trails as well as access to the new Evolution Bike Park (see sidebar) and all the lifts and trails at the resort.
The Full Demo Pass includes your lunch for the three days of the event and beer for two evenings. It makes you eligible for the many prizes and contests throughout the festival, and it grants you full access to all of the additional events and parties that accompany Outerbike.
“Anyone who’s looking for a new ride owes it to themselves to try as many different bikes as possible so they can be confident they’re making a wise investment,” Mark Sevenoff said. “Outerbike is the perfect chance to do that, and Crested Butte is the perfect place for it.”
For those riders who might not want to be enticed by the lure of a new ride, there is also a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) option. For $160, you can still have access to the Evolution Bike Park and unlimited shuttle rides without the temptations that come with trying out new bikes. The BYOB pass also includes lunches, beer and access to all of the events and festivities.
“The BYOB pass is a great option for those people who love the bike they have and are just looking for a way to explore all the mountain biking opportunities that Crested Butte has to offer,” Runcie said. “Just the shuttled rides and access to Evolution Bike Park make the pass a great deal.”
And for those people who don’t want to ride and are just here for the party, there is a Social Card option for $70 that gives you access to all the events, parties, lunches and beer at Outerbike without any of the biking demos or shuttle rides. Regardless of which option is right for you, you can be sure that there will be no shortage of opportunities to find your bliss among some of the most passionate people on the planet. As Mark Sevenoff says, “Whether you’re riding or not, it’s pretty hard not to fall in love with this place.”
It’s also pretty hard not to fall in love with Outerbike. We dare you to try.
ELEVATE YOUR STAY
The summer Outerbike event will take place at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, in the town of Mt. Crested Butte, roughly three miles from downtown Crested Butte. Mt. Crested Butte is home to a wide range of lodging options that will keep you in the middle of all of Outerbike’s festivities. To find accomodations that will help make sure you get all the comfort you deserve and the rest you need without missing out on anything Outerbike has to offer, get in touch with Gunnison-Crested Butte Reservations by calling 855-975-3373 or visiting the website mtbhome.com/events/outerbike.
food and drink
The Ironhorse Tap Room (ironhorsetapcb.com) is within walking distance of the hotels at the resort, and it’s a safe bet that more than a few biking junkies will gather here to grab a quick bite and brew before heading back out on the trail. While there are many other excellent options within easy walking distance of the venue, if you want to get an honest feel for the area, make sure to grab the free shuttle that runs to downtown Crested Butte every 20 minutes. You’ll definitely want to check out some of the world-renowned dining and drinking establishments here. From the famous burgers at The Last Steep (thelaststeep.com) to the mountain pizzas with 30+ beers on tap at Brick Oven (brickovencb.com) to the smooth tastes and wondrous treats created by Montanya Distillers High Mountain Rum (montanyarum.com), there is something to suit every taste along Crested Butte’s famed Elk Avenue. Soak it all in.