Grand County needs to develop more biking opportunities for kids | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County needs to develop more biking opportunities for kids

Keith Sanders
Mountain Biking with Keith

Courtesy of Keith Sanders

Winter Park is Mountain Bike Capital USA. We have seemingly endless miles of trails, a huge variety of experiences from amazing cross country and heart pumping downhill at Trestle Bike Park to Granby Ranch with a combination of all of those.

The Winter Park Resort Epic Singletrack Series may be the best cross country race series in the country. Many an international and Olympic competitor cut their teeth in that series. Even with all of that going on we are still lacking in some basic yet critical areas. Those mainly are opportunities for our kids and this is something we need to change.

The ability for kids to get out and enjoy mountain biking is almost nonexistent here. Yes the Fraser Rec District does have a couple of summer programs catering to kids but we need more. The Epic Singletrack Series has added a few races with kid-specific courses, yet most of those are attended by kids from outside of Winter Park and Grand County. Our children deserve to have the opportunity to mountain bike and embrace the sport as we have as adults. Winter Park and Grand County need more opportunities to help our kids get out and mountain bike.

Other communities have had programs for kids for a while. In Summit County their local race series Junior League draws 80 or more participants that are under the age of 18 and was founded in 2001. The Steamboat Winter Sports Club has over 140 kids participating in just its third year.

“Our children deserve to have the opportunity to mountain bike and embrace the sport as we have as adults. Winter Park and Grand County need more opportunities to help our kids get out and mountain bike.”

The Colorado League for high school mountain bike racing had an average of 594 participants from 54 high school teams at each race in 2014, making it one of the largest race series in the U.S. In fact, the Colorado League has had at least one race in Grand County every year since 2010, yet there is no team from Grand County and we are Mountain Bike Capital USA.

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I think it is time that we put together an organization that gives kids the opportunity of experiencing mountain biking in a variety of levels from exploring the trails to being able to try their skills at racing. In order to do that we need people to come forward to make it happen. We need everything from a key group of people to run the organization to those who can volunteer time to make the experiences happen for our kids. This is where you can help.

I know there are several people out there that have expressed interest. In order to get the ball rolling I can facilitate putting a meeting together to start the process. I ask that anyone interested email me at keith@winterparkskirental.com so that I can begin to prepare a list and coordinate a date, time and place to make this happen. Take a moment to reach out to those that you think would like to help. The more people involved, the greater the experience can be for our kids.

As you are taking that next ride or looking at your bike while you anxiously anticipate this summer's adventures, think of how great that would be to share it with some kids.

Looking for more information or want to get involved as a mountain biker? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out Mountainbikecapitalusa.com. Great site by the Winter Park Chamber!

Keith Sanders is the President of the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, 3x US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach him at keith@winterparkskirental.com.

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