Ostroski in Alaska
Alaska is home to the world’s northernmost rainforest, resource development, North America’s tallest peak, and spectacular terrain. While the winter provides world class skiing, summer brings long days and plentiful wilderness. Living in Alaska in the winter and racing the mountain bike enduro circuit in the summer, I found a break in my schedule for a quick adventure in the 49th state.
After the Crankworx EWS race in the mecca of mountain biking, Whistler BC, I packed up my Altitude and flew to Anchorage, Alaska. I arrived to the sight of fog-covered mountains shooting straight up from the North Pacific Ocean and several moose lounging 100 meters from the runway, and made my way to the small ski-town of Girdwood. With persistent precipitation and fog, I met up with local photographer Charlie Renfro in hopes of a weather window to get some images.
Anchorage is home to a growing number of mountain bike trails. Kincaid Park, on the south side of the city, supports a huge network of Nordic and snow-bike trails in the winter, but the summer trail-network is great too, and we were lucky enough to get some evening light there.
Our next mission was to head southwest on the Kenai Peninsula to the town of Homer, in search of some riding across the Kachemak Bay. We rolled into town mid afternoon after four hours of driving and went aboard the Ikpiq, an English-made bilge keeler vessel. Captained by our local Girdwood friend Aaron Stiassny, the 26-foot long vessel can sit flat on land without tipping over and holds a lot history in its old wooden deck boards. The boat has sailed up and down the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, nearly being lost in a storm which stranded local Homer legend John Miles on the southwest side of Shelikof Strait, 150 miles away from Homer.
Next we made our way Jacklof Bay in search of a trail up to Red Mountain towards the North side of Seldovia. The word was the trail up to Red Mountain had washed out from flooding last year, and little was known about the actual condition of the massive drainage that used to be home to an old chromium mine. The old mining road was indeed washed out, and we reached the upper valley near Red Mountain with about an hour of daylight left and no singletrack in sight. We scrapped the idea of trying to ride to the ridgeline and headed back to the boat for a dinner of fresh mussels.
Our slow motor back to the dock the next morning was followed by a tour of the bluff above Homer Spit, John Miles’s house, and the neighboring farm. We made it in time for a beer and a close up view of the farm's first pig-slaughter of the season.
Heading back to Girdwood for the last couple days of the trip, the weather locked in once again. Rain and cool temperatures didn’t make for ideal exploring conditions, but on the last day the clouds lifted. We made our way up towards Crow pass, where there's a 24-mile trail all the way down to the town of Eagle River. The terrain went from alder-thick singletrack to rugged, open alpine trails. The epic riding in the Chugach Mountains was a great way to round out the adventure.
All in all it was an incredible trip, with much more to explore next time. Thanks to the folks in Anchorage for the local knowledge, Rocky Mountain Bicycles, and Charlie Renfro for the photos!
It's been an incredible year for us at Rocky Mountain, and we wanted to cap it off with a video to wish you all a happy and safe holiday season.Thanks for the support and all the best in the new year, Rocky Mountain Bicycles Created by Matt Dennison Produced by Brian Park Santa — Morgan Taylor Rider — Geoff Gulevich Bike — Altitude 770 MSL Rally Edition
Instinct in the Monashees
The plan was to head to the Monashee Mountains near Revelstoke, British Columbia with Wade Simmons and Kevin Calhoun to shoot an autumn alpine video for our new Instinct MSL. We wanted to showcase the bike’s versatility under two very different riders — Kevin is an XC racer on our Factory Team, while Wade’s contributions to freeride mountain biking need no introduction.
Of course sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t play nice, and an early cold snap provided on-and-off snowfall throughout our adventure.
Despite the challenging weather, we knew we had an opportunity to capture a unique aspect of the changing seasons. From Kevin’s dawn patrol ascent to Wade charging snowy trail features, the rapidly changing conditions ended up being the perfect way to showcase the Instinct’s versatility.
We’d like to thank the crew at the Sol Mountain Lodge for all their help with this project. Their lodge was a great base-camp and their trails were a blast even in the snow. We’ll be back again in warmer weather.
Thanks for watching, Love the Ride!
The Staycation: A Vancouver Island Adventure
Rocky Mountain's athletes enjoy traveling all over the world to ride their bikes in unique, beautiful locations. Everywhere they go—from the backcountry of Argentina to the Great Wall of China and countless places in between—they hear people share their dreams of one day riding on our home turf in British Columbia. That’s why this year Thomas Vanderham, Brett Tippie, Geoff Gulevich, Wade Simmons, and Andreas Hestler decided to reinvigorate their love for home by exploring Vancouver Island, just a short ferry ride from our North Vancouver headquarters.
Fueled by too much coffee in the mornings and too many beers in the evenings, this was a great trip and one that certainly helped reconnect us all to our roots. There's no question that we'll be back to continue exploring the island’s rich trail networks and connect with the many amazing people we met along the way. Love the Ride!
Words by Andreas Hestler. Photography by Margus Riga.
Rocky Mountain's riders are a diverse bunch, and we take pride in that. Our Altitude platform is equally diverse, so with this Fourtitude video we set out to explore what four very different riders could bring to the Altitude 790 MSL.
Wade Simmons, Andreas Hestler, Thomas Vanderham and Geoff Gulevich all ride the 5.18 lb Altitude 790 MSL frame in the video. The Ride-9 system allows them to set their geometry and suspension rates up in a variety of ways. Wade runs it slackest; Thomas runs it in slacker & progressive (forward & down, aka "Vanderham Mode"); both Dre & Gully run the bike neutral & progressive (furthest down).
Wade wanted to showcase the kind of "steep & deep" technical riding that he enjoys on a daily basis. These natural steeps lurk on Vancouver's North Shore, but rarely see bikes that aren't full travel downhill rigs. We're pretty sure The Godfather would be stylish on an old 10-speed too, but it's always humbling to see him bring flow to the burliest lines.
Andreas "Dre" Hestler is an Olympian and has plenty of experience racing TransAlp and Enduro events, so it's no surprise that he coaxes blistering speed out of the Altitude. For Fourtitude he took it to Squamish, where he gunned for some Personal Bests on one of the nicest trail networks around.
Thomas Vanderham likes to take each new bike to Kamloops - a landscape he knows and loves, and the Altitude was no exception. For its maiden voyage he took it out for some true trail blasting, from corner slashing to his patented whips.
Geoff Gulevich is better known for his slopestyle riding, but he was excited to bring his playful approach to the Altitude. He decided to shoot his section on a short road trip through Oregon, where he had a few tricks up his sleeve.
The Road to Rampage
Rampage is, in our opinion, the pinnacle of modern freeriding and words can't describe the intensity of being there in person. Yet, behind all the glamour and media attention of the Finals are countless hours of planning, traveling, digging, testing, sculpting and refining the ridiculous lines that epitomize the competition. This is a short film about all the blood, sweat, and beers that happen behind the scenes of Rampage.
An Argentina Adventure
Sitting on the edge of the Andes, Bariloche is famous for its Catedral ski resort, the biggest in South America, and for its notoriously rugged backcountry terrain. After bouncing around various ideas of where we should take this year's Rocky Mountain adventure, we dug deeper and discovered that Bariloche has a burgeoning mountain bike scene with killer trails and passionate locals. That, and Argentina's warm sunshine in February sealed the deal.
The trip wasn't about finding big hucks, shredding scree slopes, heli-shuttles, or filming for a feature movie. It was about finding a true mountain bike adventure and sharing it with close friends.
So, we pulled together the team of Thomas Vanderham, Geoff Gulevich, Wade Simmons, and Andreas "Dre" Hestler, as well our very talented friends Margus Riga and Ambrose Weingart to capture the trip's visuals, and headed to the Southern Hemisphere. With the help of our amazing guides, Martin "Cepi" Raffo, Bojan Magister, and Gonzallo Serenelli, we found the adventure we had hoped for and much more. From the friendly and welcoming locals, to the jaw dropping natural beauty surrounding Bariloche and its world-class trails, we'll remember this trip for the rest of our lives.
When we travel together with our bikes and gear, we use the term "Shock and Awe" for the airport check-in experience. Seven guys with seven overweight bikes and gear bags is a sight to behold and Air Canada's check-in staff have come to know us well. Our trip down to Buenos Aires was smooth and we had a fun (too fun) night there before heading to Bariloche the next day. There, we met our amazing guides and we had enough time to get a quick rip in to work the cobwebs out from two days of travel.
Our first day of riding had us giddy - we knew we'd stumbled upon something big. It was so gratifying to come so far and be rewarded with such great riding and awe-inspiring terrain. The riding above the Catedral bike park had us feeling like we were riding on Mars with jagged red rock spires in the distance. The next day we climbed for two hours up to a refugio, which is a mountaineer's hut staffed year-round. With epic views of the lake and the Andes, we descended into what seemed like a natural bobsled track full of little drops and rock gardens. Another all-time day and further confirmation we hit the motherlode.
When we were above Catedral, we could see a snowcapped Volcano in the distance. We were told that soon we'd be riding almost all the way up the it in coming days. A three hour climb through rainforest, past huge waterfalls and incredible vistas put us into a glacial moonscape. We climbed and hiked in dense fog over volcanic rock up to over 7000 feet. Out of nowhere a refugio appeared, a welcome sight for a bunch of cold and tired guys. After a late night and lot of red wine, we were greeted by a bluebird morning and the realization we were on the edge of a massive glacier and in the middle of a mountain bike playground.
Right outside of the town of Bariloche is some of the sweetest ribbons of singletrack any of us had ever experienced. Not only that, but directly in town is a top quality shuttle zone that had us saying "one more run" over and over.
With the trip winding down, we simply had to get one dawn patrol ride checked off the list. We ascended in pitch-black darkness with headlamps to the top of a 3000 foot ridge and waited for the golden light to appear. The sunrise was worth the suffering. On our last day, we rode with locals on their home shuttle trails and it turned out to be the most fun day of the whole trip. Their warm spirit and big passion for mountain biking rubbed off on us and it was the perfect end to an unforgettable trip.