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Singletrack Report: Road Tripping from Idaho to Utah with Andy Mahre
Posted on September 3, 2015

Sun Valley is famous for eight-million-dollar views, but the one from the top of Bald Mountain doesn't require a jumbo mortgage or a Sotheby's real estate agent. Photo: Shannon Skouras

Summer and road trips go hand in hand. For many of us, loading up the bikes, the gear, and all the other toys—then hitting the open road—is a summer ritual that is repeated year after year. For Eddie Bauer athlete Andy Mahre and Live Your Adventure contributor Shannon Skouras, that big bike mission took shape in an epic summer singletrack trip through Idaho and Utah. This is Shannon’s first of two reports on the buff trails, soaring temperatures, and stuck landings they experienced on their singletrack-seeking circuit. And on this last official weekend of road-trip season, we hope it inspires you to get out of town for a ride. —LYA Editor

En route through big country to set up a camp and get ready for the final adventure of the singletrack road trip somewhere in the great state of Idaho. Photographer: Shannon Skouras

Words and Images by Shannon Skouras

Silver Mountain Airtime

“Hip hip!” Andy shouts just seconds before he drops in. A dust cloud snakes behind him as he rallies the berm that leads up to the massive step-down jump that dauntingly looms before him. Covered in dust from head to toe and sporting a stellar dirt mustache, I patiently wait on the edge of the next jump, camera in hand, ready to capture the magic. The sound of tires rolling over wood fills my ears right before he launches off the platform to the dirt below. Per usual, he sticks the landing, and makes it look extremely easy while doing it. Smiling from ear to ear, he rides up to where I am standing.

“I think I landed on my tire,” he says, as he turns around to show us his rear end. Brooke, Chris and I bust out laughing.

Andy’s previously new bright blue shorts now had a few (rather artistically placed) large black tire treads covering the back of his shorts. Impressed (but not surprised) that he held it together while landing directly on his back tire with his cheeks, I put the camera back into my pack and grabbed my bike.

Technical single track, no rain for days and the dust plumb to prove it. Andy Mahre takes to the Frankenbeans trail at the Silver Mountain Bike Park. Photo: Shannon Skouras

 

“My turn to shoot you going big,” Andy said as he handed me his pack to trade bags with him. A mischievous grin slowly crossed my face. We both knew which jump I wanted to conquer…and I couldn’t wait to make it my next victim.

We were at the first stop of our two-week road trip. It was a balmy 103 degrees in Kellogg, Idaho, but boy were we enjoying some darn-good shredding at the Silver Mountain Bike Park. Along with our close friends Brooke and Chris Ostgaard, we spent three days shooting photos and shredding flow, jump and technical DH trails. We definitely had some pretty awesome times soaking in the river at the bottom of the mountain as well…even though the locals looked at us like we were crazy (granted, we were lying in about 8 inches of water, so it probably was rather comical to bystanders… but we were melting!). Dirt mustaches, sweaty high fives, ice-cold beers and amazing company made these few days in northern Idaho some of the best of the summer—but the road was calling us and it was time to head off to the next spot on the map.

Dirt tan lines = smiles for days. Mahre and Skouras take a break from the downhill lines at Silver Mountain, ID to enjoy the view. Photo: Chris Ostgaard

SLC Escapism

Home to a few of our closest friends, light, fluffy powder, beautiful mountains, and some very fast and slightly terrifying city drivers. We were in town with a few of our sponsors for Outdoor Retailer—but we weren’t going to leave Utah without enjoying some adventures of our own. After a morning of checking out new products and getting lost in the maze of the convention center, it was time to get out and explore. Not far from downtown we set off on our bikes, pedaling up into the mountains, away from the crowds and traffic.

Andy Mahre taking in the view of the city on the way to a rollercoaster of a ride descent. Photo: Shannon Skouras

 

As we traversed along the mountainside, I looked up and took in the sweeping views of the city below. Clouds resembling giant fluffy marshmallows dotted the sky, while cars resembling little toy Hot Wheels zoomed around the busy city streets. Andy and I raced along the single track, one after the other, feeling the elevation but knowing that a sweet downhill trail was just within our grasp. After a quick sip of water and an exchange of high fives for crushing the climb, we dropped into the trail and instantly fell in love.

Steep walls on both sides, begging to be rallied. Up one side for the first corner, then a quick cross over the middle to rally the opposite wall for the next corner: it was like riding a roller coaster, but oh so much better. Wall rides were the name of the game and the higher you went, the more your stomach flip-flopped on the way down. As we flowed deeper into the gulch, natural poppers and hips began to litter the sides of the trail, and old run-down cars became the takeoffs, gaps, and landings of jumps. Andy could hear me hot on his heels, giggling like a little schoolgirl as the fun level rose around every turn. All of a sudden, we were at the end of the line, but we both knew exactly where we would be heading: to another fun and laughter-filled ride the following day.

A beautiful sunset in farm country – shot in transit by iphone from Naches, WA to Kellogg, Idaho. Photographer: Shannon Skouras

Sun Valley Singletrack

After a few days in the city, we were definitely ready to be back in a small town. Thank goodness our next stop was Sun Valley, Idaho. Cool temperatures and fresh mountain air welcomed us as we settled in for a few days of biking, paddling and exploring with friends. For our first shred mission, we met up with Sun Valley locals—and our tour guides for the day—Collin Collins and Todd Bracher. Tall summer grass brushed my feet as I pedaled up the trail toward Eve’s Gulch, smiling at the giant grasshoppers that bounced among the brush all around me. Deep into the woods we went and up the mountainside we climbed, through winding singletrack littered with mini rock gardens and gnarly roots, around switchbacks, through burn zones, and past vibrant wildflowers surrounded by lush green foliage. Smiles, cold water and snacks were shared at the top of the climb, as everyone’s excitement grew for the upcoming descent.

One by one we dropped in, ready for the wild ride ahead. Trees whizzed by as we rallied down the trail. My heart raced as I pumped over whoops, flowed around corners and launched off side hits. Andy and I stopped to shoot a photo and found ourselves in awe of the beauty and devastation around us. The contrast of the thousands of burned trees against the lush green shrubs and undergrowth was truly a sight to see and will be one that stays with us for many years to come.

Riding the Warm Springs Trail in Sun Valley, a great conclusion to a singletrack sabbatical. Photo: Andy Mahre

 

Sweaty and with some pretty epic dirt tan lines, we grabbed some grub and made the trek over Galena Pass to Alturas Lake for an evening paddle. As we walked down to the lake’s shores, the view nearly took my breath away. The water was crystal- clear and completely calm. Reflections of the lush foliage and tree plant life that lined the water’s edge drew us in to take a closer look. Hopping on our boards and paddling away from shore, we took in the view from the water.

There were mountains as far as the eye could see—each one speckled with trees and reaching up to the clouds above them. The sun warmed our skin as the cool evening air began to settle in around us. A sandy beach across the lake beckoned us from afar and we set off to explore its shores. Cold beer in hand, relaxing on the sandy shore, Andy on one side and Todd on the other, I took in the moment—enjoyed it, embraced it—and thought about all of the crazy and memorable adventures we had experienced over the past few weeks. I gazed over at Andy and smiled, content in the moment but excited for what the next few days might bring. Our road trip wasn’t over yet…and we had definitely saved the best adventure for last.

Andy Mahre taking in the beautiful sunset after a long day of shredding fresh dirt at Silver Mountain. Photo: Shannon Skouras

Check out the First Ascent and Motion gear that outfitted the Singletrack Road Trip at eddiebauer.com.

Author: - Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
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  1. Billy White

    Shannon has a terrific writing style. I like how she is able to break sections of the trail down and describe it in a way to lure in readers who have never thrown a leg over a bike but still be able to identify with hardcore biker types who can tell that she’s part of the tribe. Eddie Bauer more posts like this please. Your

  2. Billy White

    hiking and workout wear can easily double as mountain bike apparel.

  3. Eddie Bauer Social

    Thanks, Billy. See you on the trail!


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