Winter Park mountain bike trails expand quickly | SkyHiNews.com

Winter Park mountain bike trails expand quickly

Keith Sanders
Mountain Biking with Keith

These are exciting times for mountain biking. We have seen new trails and there is a vision for an amazing trail system. It has been a long time since this type of excitement has been seen in Winter Park.

Roughly 25 years ago several people met in the Bank of Winter Park. It was there that the first vision for mountain biking began.

Originally the thought was mountain biking would create a summer economy in a struggling town. Mountain biking was in its infancy. There was no trail system, no signs, no maps, we barely new what singletrack was. Bikes were much different, there were no shocks, and braking was more of concept than reality.

The foundation for the current trail system grew from the efforts of that first meeting. Excitement spread and from that our current trail system sprung. Winter Park was on the short list of mountain bike destinations that included Moab, Crested Butte and Mammoth. There was so much enthusiasm that at one point the "Thursday Night Ride" drew over 100 people each week including many that would drive up from the Front Range to join in on the fun. The basis of the trail system was that of opportunity and not design. Trails were predominately old logging roads and in few cases actual trails.

“Up until two years ago the trail system had remained virtually unchanged from the original trail system, yet the bikes and mountain bike experience have changed dramatically.”

Fast forward to today. Up until two years ago the trail system had remained virtually unchanged from the original trail system, yet the bikes and mountain bike experience have changed dramatically. Riders have greater skills, technology has made mountain biking easier and more fun. Trail design has changed from one of convenience to that of planning and design.

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I remember when riding Tipperary was an epic ride and one of great challenge. That is no longer the case today. Trails are changing to meet mountain bikers' needs and desires. A vision is forming to create the highest quality mountain bike experience for all levels or riders. The trail system of the future will be one that creates a much wider variety of options for everyone.

Signage is being put in place both in the national forest and in our communities. We have a lust for singletrack and can never get enough. The excitement for mountain biking has returned.

There is still a lot of work ahead. Planning group rides, trail work, marketing, trail planning and design as well as many others. The last two years have had some great improvements and changes. It will be fun to see what the future brings.

Group rides

Beavers Sports Shop at the Best Western in Winter Park does a weekly group ride on Friday's at 6 p.m. Intermediate and above skill level. Come join in! 970-726-5988

Looking for more information? 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 U.S. National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach him at keith@winterparkskirental.com

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