Ride the Rockies benefits local economy
Grand County has been inundated recently with heavy late spring snows, taking a bit of the unpleasant edge off of mud season. But despite the last throes of winter the April doldrums are in full swing.
Throughout the county folks are looking forward to summer and all the joys offered by the high country’s warmer months. The trails and shores of Grand County will soon be busy with tourists and locals alike hiking, fishing and biking. One of this summer’s highlights in Grand County will be the annual Ride the Rockies cycling event. This year’s Ride the Rockies tour will begin in Carbondale and end in Fort Collins with day four of the tour scheduled to head through Grand County.
The Town of Grand Lake is set as one of the official host communities for the event as an expected total of 2,000 riders moves north out of Silverthorne, up and over Ute Pass and through Hot Sulphur Springs before settling into Grand Lake for the evening.
The economic impacts of events like Ride the Rockies are tremendous. Host communities for the cycling tour can expect upwards of a quarter of a million dollars in economic activity in the local economy. According to the Ride the Rockies web site tour participants spent roughly $250,000 in a 24-hour period at each stop along the route in 2014.
Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Samantha Miller said Grand Lake hotels, motels and various lodging establishments are already fully booked for the dates of the event and she expected some visitors to seek lodging in the Granby area.
Granby Chamber of Commerce Director Cathie Hook echoed her sentiments.
“I expect there will be some overflow in dining and lodging,” Hook said. “But since we aren’t a host town we don’t expect the big impacts.” Hook went on to explain that Granby has served as a host community for Ride the Rockies in years past and the impacts from the event are always must greater for the designated host communities.
For Grand Lake those impacts will likely be broad based. Grand Lake Chamber Director Miller said she expects the economic impacts to be dispersed throughout the community with lodging and restaurants likely seeing the biggest boosts in sales. Miller said she has been coordinating with local restaurateurs with ideas for the event such as food specials designed for cyclists and prolonged operational hours.
While local businesses in the Grand Lake area are expected to see a boom as the community hosts the event the majority of sleeping accommodations and food for the riders is handled systematically with most participating cyclists planning to camp at the Grand Lake Center, formerly the Grand Lake Elementary School.
Meals for riders are being handled by local nonprofits. The Grand Lake Women’s Club will be selling lunches for riders as they enter Grand Lake at the end of the fourth day of riding. The International Sportsmen’s Club will offer dinner and the Grand Lake Rotary Club will handle breakfast the following morning, with proceeds from the sale of meals going to the nonprofits.
One nonprofit from the community will also be the recipient of a grant from Ride the Rockies for $5,000, specifically designated for education purposes. Local nonprofits applied for the grant through Ride the Rockies earlier this year. Chamber Director Miller explained the winner of the grant will be announced and the grant awarded while the tour stops in Grand Lake.
Grand Lake has several different programs for individuals or businesses that would like to volunteer on the tour, such as helping load baggage or working at aid stations. If you would like to volunteer please contact Samantha Miller with the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce.
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