Sanders: Skiing, fat biking and more in Winter Park
Mountain Biking with Keith
It may be hard to think about mountain biking now. The skiing is amazing and just getting better. As great as the skiing is at Winter Park I’m going to tell you that the mountain biking is even better. Sure Winter Park has the best moguls in the world at Mary Jane, add world class tree skiing, a huge variety of trails, amazing snow and you have a combination that is hard to beat. The mountain biking is every bit as good if not better. We probably have the best mountain biking that you have never heard of. While there has been a large effort create a great experience through trail design and construction we’ve done little to actively market the area and get the word out.
Many people come to Winter Park and think that the biking is at the Winter Park Resort. Most of the mountain biking in the area actually begins in the town of Winter Park just a couple of miles down the road. What makes the Winter Park area one of the best areas in the world to mountain bike is the huge variety and quantity of trails here. The Winter Park Resort has world class downhill biking with the Trestle Bike Park, in fact it is one of the best bike parks in the world. Granby Ranch just down the road also has an amazing bike park. The Winter Park area is one of the few areas anywhere that offers two bike parks.
The real gem of the mountain bike experience here is the cross country trail system that is not at either bike park.
Here you ride from wherever you may be staying.
There is no need to drive to a trail. We have hundreds of miles of trails directly out of town. This access is unique in the mountain bike or trail user world. Most places you have to drive several miles to a remote location to ride. The vast majority of the trails here surround the Town of Winter Park. Just a few years ago the Town of Winter Park built a trail system through town that connects to the trail system in the national forest. Thanks to that vision and effort you will have high quality trails from the moment you get on your bike.
There is something for everyone here.
As you ride the lifts, look to the north, west and east. You will see a huge valley below surrounded by towering peaks. The valley floor holds some great beginner and intermediate level trails while the mountains leading to the upper peaks contain a vast variety of options. You can ride along the Fraser River and take in the view or you can test your lungs and legs on above tree line challenges such as Rogers Pass. Close to town you can challenge your skills in the Leap Frog area or power up a climb on Chainsaw as well as many many other trails.
As great as this trail system is, it is ever improving. The past several years have seen trail improvement plans completed that will improve the quality of the trail experience while taking into account the impact on wildlife and the area as a whole. This just means that a great trail system is just getting better.
If you haven’t thought about mountain biking here put it on your list. You can spend a lot of time here and still be craving for more. I live here and can’t get enough. Spend several days exploring the cross country trail system but don’t overlook adding in a day a Winter Park’s Trestle Bike Park and Granby Ranch. While you are here you might as well do a bit of fishing, play a bit of golf or take a raft trip down the Colorado River. Mix it up a bit ride your bike to the beginning of one of the several wilderness areas nearby and hike to remote places that seldom see footstep. That should fill the first couple of weeks that you are here. I’m sure you will have no problem filling much more time as well. All of these experiences are very low cost. I’ll warn you in advance, the greatest cost you will find is what has happened to all of us that live here, that is relocating and buying that house or condo because you never want to leave.
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 US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related Story: Fat bike in Winter Park, head out Vasquez Road
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Over the past few days, a dozen fresh inches of snow dropped on Winter Park Resort.