August 19, 2016
It is easy to get stuck in a rut of riding your favorite trails and not taking the time to get out and explore something new.
There are so many options that can leave the brain spinning a bit just to decide which one to ride next. I often find myself riding my go to favorites. Maybe it's a quick trip through Idlewild's grin inducing singletrack bliss like Serendipity, Yankee Doodle, Arrow and Twisted Ankle. It could be the twisty turns and rock features of the Leap Frog trails just off of Sundog, Sunset Pink and WTB on the west side of town. Let's not forget the classic Tipperary Race Course which is just fun to ride!
Last week I stretched my geographic horizon just a bit and rode some of the trails at Granby Ranch, just a short 15 minute drive from Winter Park. I hadn't spent much time at Granby Ranch this year as I've been riding some of the classic trails that begin just behind my back yard.
Last Monday I was helping train our local high school mountain bike team and our training was scheduled at Granby Ranch. I've ridden there quite a bit over the years and always call it our hidden gem for biking. Many people think of Granby Ranch as easier and a lesser experience due to the easy trails for downhill skiing. That view couldn't be more wrong. Amazing cross country rides await you and for those of you who are vertically challenged you can ride up the lift to get to most of the cross country options.
There are so many options there that I could never fit them in the space for this article. As much as I know Granby Ranch from riding and racing there over the last 30 years I still found some new changes and additions that you really need to try. Two of those are Nature's Way and Fraser Canyon trails.
Nature's Way is all new. What was an aggressive non technical climbing trail has been replaced with a undulating winding singletrack that bridges the bottom of Granby Ranch to the top. This trail is the perfect trail to test your climbing legs as it has several sections of "downhill" on the climb. Descending the trail is not your typical descent as the trail rolls up and down as it swoops through the turns. I recommend climbing the trail and then descending the Fraser Canyon Trail.
The Fraser Canyon Trail is now one of my favorite trails. Smooth transitions from turn to turn, amazing views and enough challenges to put that smile on your face. I found myself wanting to ride it over and over again. Maybe it was the slightly banked turns or the wider switchbacks that let my bike seem to dance down the trail as I seemed to be just as a passenger on my bike. It could have been the amazing views of the Fraser River far below as a train chugged along as both the river and the train meandered through the Fraser Canyon (where the trail gets its name). Regardless it was so much fun. I eventually connected with Ike's Trail that led me to the bottom of Strawberry Jam and back to the base area.
Granby Ranch is open for lift service from Wednesday through Sunday. To get more trail information give them a call or see their website at http://www.granbyranch.com You can ride there every day but I recommend Monday or Tuesday as you will think they built the trails just for you as very few people will be there.
Beavers Sports Shop does a weekly group mountain bike ride every Friday at 6 pm from Beavers Sports Shop at the Best Western Hotel in downtown Winter Park. The ride is open to anyone of intermediate ability and above. The pace and type of trails are determined by the group. Come join us! Call 970-726-5988 for more info.
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 me at firstname.lastname@example.org