Free-wheeling fun turns into big business in Grand County
June 17, 2011
With two large bike parks, more than 600 miles of dirt trails, five pump tracks and endless scenic roads, there is plenty to entertain every kind of biker in Grand County – from the BMXer and cross-country mountain biker to the coffee-loving roadster and the adrenaline-seeking gravity hound.
Dubbed Mountain Bike Capital USA, Grand County will host more than 20 major biking events this summer, and it’s an industry that’s growing fast, according to Winter Park Resort Communications Manager Mistalynn Lee.
Every new event seems to be just as popular as the last, and the resort has confidence adding new events to its lineup this summer.
Trestle Bike Park at Winter Park Resort is the fastest growing bike park in North America, Lee said. That’s based on the percentage of growth in rider days and lessons, the size of the demo and rental fleet and the mileage of new trails built, Lee said.
One of the year’s biggest events will be Crankworx, July 28-31, at Trestle Bike Park. Last year’s event brought 20,000 to the resort and community over the span of the week, from production crews, sponsors, vendor and media to athletes, friends, family and spectators, Lee said.
“Events like Crankworx are a great example of weaving a biking event into a summer destination weekend,” Lee said.
Last year the resort also hosted the Intergalactic Pond Crossing, which brought huge crowds of spectators to the village.
The summer biking industry has changed the economy in Grand County by “providing year-round employment to community members with a shorter shoulder season in the valley,” said Trestle Bike Park Manager Bob Holme.
In addition to Crankworx, Trestle Bike Park hosts summer camps for all levels of riders, the Epic Singletrack series and, new this year, the Trestle All-Mountain Enduro. Presented by Trek, this three-day race, August 19-21, is inspired by the fastest-growing events in Europe and involves multiple stages that take place on mostly downhill, technical and physically demanding terrain.
For two decades, Winter Park and Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce has been leaders in developing the county’s mountain bike activities, from helping people like Keith Saunders and Dan O’Connell establish the initial trail system here 20 years ago to promoting them now on http://www.mountainbikecapitalusa.com. There, riders can find a list of recommended trails, maps, bike shops, lodging and events.
For the second year, the chamber will host the Colorado Crooked Roubaix, derived from another very hot trend throughout Europe, said chamber Director Catherine Ross. Appealing to those who ride crossbikes, this endurance race covers 90 miles across varied terrain.
At SolVista Bike Park, where the Triple DHip will draw racers from across the world this weekend, summer activities also include free beginner clinics almost every Saturday. The season at SolVista ends Labor Day Weekend with the Mountain States Cup, a regional final race that covers all disciplines. (Find more info at RaceMSC.com
“With all the cool things going on in Grand County, it’s no doubt that the biking industry here is growing,” said SolVIsta bike park manager Matt Thompson. “We have experienced some steady growth, and we are excited for it to grow even more.”
– Reid Armstrong can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610