Bill and Kathi Merchant are the owners and guides for Utah Mountain Bike Tours and Alaska Ultra Sport a kayaking and river rafting guide business in Alaska. We are racers and organizers of the Iditarod Trail Invitational a 350 and 1000 mile fat bike and running ultra marathon on the Iditarod Trail. We began biking in the Southwest as a way to escape the fall mud season after our Alaska summer guiding season. We explored mountain bike trails in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico for 2 or 3 months at the time.
In 2005 we rode the Continental Divide mountain bike route 2500 miles from Montana to the Mexican border followed by a 1000 mile route from Salt Lake City, Utah to the Arizona border following the Arizona Trail south to Tucson, Arizona. After attending Interbike in Las Vegas in 2003 the largest bike show in the world we drove north and discovered the little known biking mecca around Hurricane, Utah. With a fraction of the crowds of mountain bikers, jeeps and motorcycles that swarm Moab and with trails designed specifically for mountain bikes we fell in love with the area.
After hearing the stories and seeing the pictures of our southwest biking adventures some of our Alaska clients suggested we begin mountain bike guiding in the southwest and Utah Mountain Bike Tours was born.
We enjoyed biking and guiding in the Hurricane Valley so much we bought a home here and enjoy sharing our knowledge of the area and passion for mountain biking with each and every client.
Bill grew up in the outdoors spending nearly every weekend of his childhood in the outdoors with his father. He has lived and worked as a wilderness guide in Alaska since 1989. He has been guiding for 30 years, horse packing and rafting in Wyoming, river rafting, sea kayaking, dog mushing and winter biking in Alaska and mountain biking in the Southwest.He loves to take people mountain biking, showing them his favorite trails around Hurricane and the rest of southern Utah, helping them improve their skills on a mountain bike while taking in the majestic scenery we are surrounded by here..He loves to tell stories from many years on the Iditarod Trail, as a cowboy in Wyoming and his dog mushing days in Alaska.
Originally from Germany, Kathi grew up in the foot hills of the Alps. After many traveling adventures and developing a love of the outdoors and wilderness she moved to Alaska in 2002 where she married Bill. Since then she has been a wilderness guide in Alaska and mountain biking guide ever since. She loves to share the special areas and single track trails they have discovered with their guests. Itineraries are designed for all our trips to offer the best possible mountain bike experience in Utah and the Southwest whether you are a beginner or advanced rider. Kathi also enjoys arranging women-only trips where ladies can learn and share the fun of single track riding and try some new moves on slick rock. A new edition starting this year will be trips abroad to Europe, the Alps, Slovenia, Switzerland and Costa Rica. After organizing trips abroad for friends and really enjoying riding in new places, learning about a different culture Kathi wants to offer these tours to more women.