MotoUSA heads north to Montana to watch the Big Sky XC race before turning east to Oregon. Watch our ride from Idaho to Big Sky in this Adventure-Touring video.
Day 5 of Motorcycle USA’s 2011 Adventure Touring Shootout started with a sunrise photo op in Idaho, and ended at our AT destination, Big Sky, Montana. MotoUSA rolled into the ski-resort-turned-off-road-racing venue this afternoon, our five AT mounts all in tip top shape. Now the crew is gearing up to cover tomorrow’s Big Sky XC pro race.
Our riding troop was up before dawn, waiting for the sunrise over Henrys Lake, then we bolted for the Continental Divide. It’s not difficult, as the Divide brackets the lake on three sides. A short run up to Red Rock Pass included some easy dirt roads (we like getting some dust for breakfast, if we can find it). Afterward it’s back to US-20 and West Yellowstone.
Approaching the Park’s western entrance, instead we followed the signs north to Highway 191. The road links West Yellowstone to Bozeman, with 191 briefly dipping into the Park’s boundaries. Big Sky is located 48 miles south of Bozeman, and we made good time, getting in a couple more photo runs in the early afternoon. By the time our five-rider troop lumbered to a stop, the trip meters scraped 1500 miles – our expedition reaching the halfway marker.
After catching the sunrise it was time to cross the Continental Divide at Red Rock Pass during our AT Shootout expedition.
The Big Sky resort is a gargantuan venue. It bills itself as the largest ski resort in the nation based on acreage, boasting more than 140 named runs. Lone Peak towers over the entire surround and the vista is remarkable. Big Sky hosts a number of events, like music festivals, and when the snow’s gone the slopes accommodate other outdoor activities like mountain biking.
Dirt bike racing is an exception to the rule. The XC, now in its third year, carves its course right out of the rocky ski slopes. Built entirely on private land, the resort can sidestep the permitting process that bogs down a typical racing attempt on forest land.
An AMA Western Hare Scramble event, the XC continues to grow. More than 400 participants will run in a myriad of classes this year, and some big name Pros should be running tomorrow. Sponsored by gear manufacturer Klim (which is based nearby Rigby, Idaho), the Big Sky XC draws riders from across the West. But the event is starting to attract entries from a wider and wider swath, with riders representing more than 20 states this year.
As for the MotoUSA crew, we’ll be out filming tomorrow, with photos and videos to come. Also check back this later evening for our first video uploads of Days 1-4.