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Montana Treasures: Missoula with Ben Horan - Video

Nov 8, 2017
by Freehub Magazine  

Montana Treasures // Missoula with Ben Horan

Maintaining 100 miles of trail is not easy, a fact Ben Horan knows all too well. As Executive Director of MTB Missoula, he is an advocate for both our land and our sport, working with countless others to ensure that our trails not only exist, but thrive.

Every mountain bike community has its individuals who are constantly striving to progress the sport. Be it trail building, advocacy, land management or retail, every avenue is an equally important part of creating a thriving movement. Montana Treasures is a series about a few of the many people who embody the state’s greater mountain bike scene through their actions and endeavors.

See everything that the great state of Montana has to offer with Freehub Magazine Issue 8.3, the Montana Photo Book! The Montana Photo Book is a visual guide to the trails of the Treasure State. Save 40% on a subscription to Freehub Magazine with our Pinkbike Shared Reader Discount.
While Big Sky Country is know for its expansive views it s the details that make the trails so incredible including extensive armoring deep berms and like this boardwalk on Ralph s Pass some impressive woodwork. Jed Donnelly appreciates the finer points of Montana mountain biking.


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68 Comments

  • + 31
 Don't be fooled, this video was actually shot in Colorado. Make sure to move there; I hear there is plenty of space left east of Denver.
  • + 3
 Came here to post this exact same thing hahaha
  • + 3
 Yep. The big M on the mountain is a dead giveaway. This is clearly just Golden.
  • + 3
 Only problem is. If this was really Golden they would have had to stop ever couple hundred feet to let hikers and other riders go by. Oh snap no one got assulted by angry trail runners and where where the angry old hikers sabotaging the trail. I didn’t hear a single gun shot either. a ride on the Front range and no gun shots. Highly unlikely indeed. They didn’t get yelled at for going the wrong way on the wrong day of the week. No other riders ran them off the trail and bitched at them about keeping single track single. No trail rage at all. That never happens here. I almost forgot. There wasn’t a single sign of super stoned tourists stumbling around completely oblivious as to what is going on or where they are. The weed here is the dirt variety from Mexicali. There’s way too many people and the air smells like burning chemicals all the time the water smells like poo, but nobody seems to mind. Over 500 traffic deaths so far this year has earned Denver in the top ten most dangerous places to drive in the country. Want to walk or ride you bike to work. Great we will add your name to that list soon.
If the Stravahole didn’t kill you on the trail he will on the way to the trailhead. There are thousands of minimum wage jobs here and rent prices are cheap around $3000 a month for a single family home. Want to buy. You can get a nice shack right off Colfax for around $400k. Colorado sucks move along now.
  • + 1
 @Bikethrasher: I think you might need a cookie.
  • + 17
 Great video! I had the pleasure of meeting Ben while traveling to Missoula to compete in the Collegiate MTB National Championships, their crew worked so hard to put on a very fun event. The work that he and the MTB Missoula team have been putting into the trails is apparent and even more impressive was the sense of cycling community apparent in Missoula. A true ambassador for our sport, hats off to you Ben!
  • + 3
 Were they the ones that built the XC course? it was super sick (although I tacoed my wheel... not their fault haha)
  • + 2
 @stonepresto: not sure about the lower portion but they built the upper DH this year and a couple other along side of it.
  • + 2
 Their DH event organizing could use some work... that shuttle situation was an absolute mess
  • + 7
 @kind0fimportant: As far as the record goes, they got 130 DH racers up the road for 3 days straight with no incident except for whining and complaining from poor sports who had to wait tops 40 min for a shuttle. In the California Collegiate series they have to hike half their DH races because of private roads. I thought it was badass getting to shuttle a private 4wd road in 16-passenger vans with 2-wheel drive, in the snow. I managed to get 5 practice laps in 2 days and some racers got up to 8, so idk what you're complaining about
  • + 1
 @stonepresto: I think that course has been around for XC nationals for a number of years, would be interested to hear how long. The upper DH section was brand new flow trail-eske with ripping berms and the lower part of the DH was freshly mowed, off-camber grass down a ski run - it was a riot
  • + 3
 I'm 3 hours from there... I need to make it a priority to get over there during the spring. Silver Mountain keeps stopping me!
  • + 3
 @kind0fimportant: The rain unfortunately made things tough as the original shuttle vehicles were unable to make it up the road. Given the challenge, they did an amazing job of adapting on the fly.
  • + 2
 @michael-polei: Glad you had fun! It was pretty sweet to see some of the boss DH lines you guys were taking. Lower XC has been around since about 2011 I think. Upper XC single track climb and descent are new in the past year and a half. DH is new this year.
  • + 1
 @Thustlewhumber: you'd enjoy riding Whitefish or if you have the time, Big Sky. However a trip to ride Discovery Bike Park and then riding local Missoula trails along the way could make for a good trip.
  • + 16
 Take it from all My Friends in montana - "Montana sucks.
Tell your friends"
  • + 0
 What sucks about it? Very curious because I am considering moving there. Thx
  • + 10
 @jdsusmc: They serve the beer warm, there are no women, and you will frequently encounter grizzly bears on all your favorite bike trails...
  • + 2
 @TerrapinBen: I think he's beginning to believe you!
  • + 2
 @jdsusmc: It's cold as f*ck, I woke up to 8 degrees the other day.
  • + 5
 @Dmsullivan2: It's the truth. My dad's from Montana. Lived in Bozeman, Helena, Missoula and Kalispell.

Montanans took great pride in the fact that so many people from California would move there, only to high-tail it out after the first winter. Ha!

Seriously though, it is cold and dark starting right around now. Probably not doing much in the way of riding?
  • + 3
 @TheR: There is no riding here for ~5 months Frown

Montana is great...but not really that great for biking
  • + 2
 @TheR: Layer up, put some whiskey in a flask, and go shred!
  • + 1
 @Chonky13: That's true Montana spirit right there.
  • + 1
 I heard when you drink Moose Drool you automatically grow a beard and sprout flannel.
  • + 1
 @TheR: Nope, the bike is put away for the season when we got a foot of snow last week. Trails are packed snow and ice. And yes, those -30F cold snaps that last weeks are very much true. Hope you got a block heater!
  • + 3
 Awesome, I have been going to Thompson falls area to ride for quite a few years now and there is some great terrain with amazing potential as well as tons of vertical. With a little more use and more frequent maintenance it could be such a great riding destination.
  • + 2
 This is amazing! Trying to move to Missoula or Colorado asap. It’s landing a firefighter job either place that’s been the challenge. Can’t imagine changing careers to anything else but can’t wait to change riding locations! Lol
Well done. Exciting to see this sort of thing.
  • + 5
 Missoula and most of MT would love more firefighters. Particularly the wildfire variety.
  • + 1
 Don't go to Colorado. Go to Missoula
  • + 2
 @speed10:
So would every other community that sits in high-risk areas.
Heck, we just had two massive fires here in Socal that started less than a 1/4 mile from each other-two weeks apart- and burned in opposite directions.
The problem is, finding the money to PAY for all these desperately needed fire fighters
  • + 3
 @YoKev: biggest issue in CA is that fires need to be allowed to burn. This ecosystem can't thrive without it. Putting out small fires leads to massive infernos.
  • + 1
 @kind0fimportant: haha, trying! I prefer MT, my wife prefers CO. But she’s never been to MT, hoping to change that.
At this point I’d just be VERY happy to get out of AZ.
  • + 6
 @jdsusmc: I say go to CO. You got better weather, closer to the desert, more bike parks, more ski areas, better airports to travel from, more concerts, more shopping, more yuppies, more people, more traffic, you get to learn the rules of trail more because of so many people on them, you learn how to play with others cause there is so many damn people everywhere, you get to put stupid coloRADo stickers on your car, you get to brag about how awesome Colorado is and invite all your midwestern and Texas friends!! Well, I hope that helps you make your decision.
  • + 1
 @dtimms: yea, I'm going to Montana!! Road Trip in the BUS!!!
  • + 2
 @kind0fimportant: I see you are in foco. I lived there 10 years before I couldn’t take it any more. When Harmony started getting built up I wanted out. Everyone is moving there and the town has suffered. Now we live in Montana and although the pop density is way better and trails way less crowded, there are other big issues here. Next stop, Washington!
  • + 1
 @dtimms:

Colifornia.
  • + 2
 @dtimms: Plus Montana is only close to BC and everybody knows the riding in BC is super lame.
  • + 1
 I made the move from CA to MT for fire with the Forest Service. Only downside is there's very little time to mtb during the fire season!
  • + 1
 Super rad video. I grew up in Montana, and yeah everyone there doesn't want more people to move there, but the thing is the more mountain bikers you have in a community the more trail maintenance that gets done and the better the trails are to ride. I understand not wanting more people in most aspects of life, but it seems to me like with mountain bikers, the more the merrier.
  • + 2
 Mormon Peak/Lolo Peak/Mill Creek is one of the coolest trails I've ever ridden. I was in town to race, but that trail, despite the constant dismounts for deadfall, was the highlight of my trip
  • + 5
 Public lands in Montana are disappearing...unfortunate.
  • + 3
 Mountain bike access to public lands is dwindling....
  • + 2
 @Visicypher: so true! We have lost access to close to 800 miles of prime back country trail here in MT in the past decade. Sucks. We are ground zero for access issues. Anyone thinking of moving to MT better be prepared (and willing) to advocate fiercely for continued access.
  • + 3
 @ikswoldar: it going to be a losing battle... the hunting lobby has a bulls eye on Montana they think public lands should be theirs and they have the lobbyists for it ..... this is why imbas stance sucks
  • + 1
 @ikswoldar: I heard IMBA rehired their Montana lobbyist position (i.e rehired E. Melson). Do you know if this is true?
  • + 1
 @Visicypher: That is true, IMBA did rehire Melson. One of the hardest working dudes in access advocacy in my opinion - really glad he's back at it.
  • + 4
 I dig these Freehub Mag videos. They're short, to the point and highlight positive action. Cheers!
  • + 3
 Trail maintenance and access: Much less glamorous than new suspension tech and RedBull events and such, but so so important.
  • + 2
 yes! Lets all go ride Montana...... fall in love with it........then move there in mass with all our friends and few family members!!!
  • + 2
 So how much of this was affected by the fires this summer? It seemed like the whole place was burning down.
  • + 2
 Although areas near town were ablaze, for the most part all the popular trail centers around Missoula were unaffected (at least directly) by wildfire. There was a solid month+ when the air quality was so poor it was more unhealthy to ride your bike than sit on pinkbike watching other people ride their bikes. That being said, everyone I have spoken with has said it was a particularly bad smoke year...but I think we can expect more of that in the future.
  • + 2
 @CPhelan: Thanks for the update. My dad lived in Missoula in the late 90s when there was a fire there, and the whole valley filled with smoke. I didn't normally have respiratory problems, but I remember visiting him while it was going on and having asthma-like symptoms one night. The worst thing is you're in that valley, so the smoke comes in there and has no place to go. Bummer, man.
  • + 1
 This summer was the worst I have ever experienced in Missoula! The Mill Creek trail and surrounding areas are closed - the whole area is a charred hellscape after the Lolo complex fire this summer. Lots of work to be done to stabilize the trails in that area before recreation can resume. I fear the work we will have to do to clear that trail in the coming years. 8 guys with saws were easily able to clear the trail then shuttle back up to ride it in a day. I suspect we will be lucky to cut it out over an entire weekend (or two).
  • + 3
 Well done Ben, beers on me next time at Draught Works.
  • + 1
 One of my favorite movie lines ever. Riding there next summer!
getyarn.io/yarn-clip/9ec15194-8d49-4237-9082-60b95a374b71
  • + 1
 that is some funny shit!
  • + 3
 Supporting our public lands looks like this. Great video! Great Work!
  • + 1
 montana is a secret place of awesomeness
  • + 3
 not much longer with videos like the one and the preceding one on Helena !!
  • + 3
 Montana is the new Colorado. And Colorado is the new California.
  • + 1
 coming this summer from this video
  • + 1
 Cool
  • + 1
 MONTANA
  • + 3
 FLORIDA !! ;-)
  • + 0
 @griffinsurfboard: Honolulu, how do you do?

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