May 25, 2021 2 min read

As we approach the end of ski season and summer/fall we start to think about how we will spend Off-Season. To those outside of mountain ski towns, this is a foreign concept. It's a time that many businesses, including Chopwood Mercantile, shut down for a much needed break after working very busy days. As the snow melts creating 'mud-season,' town becomes quiet with little business or adventures to be had. After the ski area closes there is an exodus of locals to the desert to ride bikes, run rivers, rock climb, and decompress. 

This year Lisa and I went to Arizona to ride some of our favorite desert single track and catch up with close friends. 

First stop was Pizzicleta in Flagstaff, AZ—one of our most favorite wood-fired pizza spots and not-to-miss gelato! We decided to check out their new location inside Dark Sky Brewing. Highly recommend! 


Next we went on down to Phoenix, where we often get asked: "Why Phoenix?" Well, beyond some of our close friends living there and having previously called Phoenix home, there are a few reasons: an amazing network of trails in the city and around it, a yummy food scene, and Lisa also works part-time at Pivot Cycles so she needed to pay a visit to their new World Headquarters. 

While there, we rode the Hawes Trails which have always been a favorite. Now they have the Hawes Trails Alliance working on new trails and improvements. We also did one of our favorite in-town urban loops that connects a bike path to some really fun desert single track in Dreamy Draw. In our opinion, Phoenix is the best city for mountain biking and bikes in general with hundreds of miles of single track in the city as well a strong network of bike lanes/routes, canal paths, etc. We also hit up South Mountain. Black Canyon Trail and Picket Post - AZT are some of our other favorites outside of Phoenix, but we just ran out of time this trip. 

After getting home, we spent time catching up on life after working a very busy winter and before heading out on a 4-day river trip on the Ruby Horsethief / Westwater sections of the Colorado River. For us, river trips are a time to fully disconnect. 


Come fall, we anticipate closing at the end of October until mid-November before opening for Thanksgiving weekend. Off-Season has become much shorter than even a few years ago. So if you decide to visit during the Off-Season, be prepared to not have access to all of the places in town and in the mountains that you might expect. It could be too muddy, snowy, or closed!

The Off-Season allows us and other small businesses in the Gunnison Valley to recharge for another busy season greeting visitors, providing trail recommendations, and supporting our rescue herd and dogs. We look forward to seeing you this coming season.