Snow lingers, but Fraser Valley forest rides delight
Mountain Biking with Keith
It’s not a secret that the snow has affected and is impacting our upper elevation riding. I find something very special about the high elevation trails.
Every day the snow line creeps a bit higher and lets me ride a bit higher allowing me to explore a bit more. A few days ago Jeremy Straley of Mountain States Snowcats sent me a message that he had plowed Corona Pass (the road is gated at midslope until probably early July). That sounds good but some of the snow banks are 16 feet deep. Fortunately we have a lot fun riding below the snow line.
Wednesday night I went out on a ride with some friends. We get together once a week to ride and then frequent a local restaurant that is typically getting ready to close by the time we get there. Our main goal is just to get out on the bikes and have some fun. Each week we meet at a different place, which reminds me of how much riding is here. That means 20 or more different rides from spring till the snows of mid- to late-fall.
Our ride this past Wednesday took us on many of the new trails and trail conversions that have happened during the past couple of years. We rolled out of my house and into Idlewild by way of the Ridge Trail, to which access is graciously granted by the Urban Family. (Note: please stay on the trail as that is the only route that is open through their land). One singletrack rolled to the next as we meandered up Crosstrails, then onto Whoops and the new Serendipity. We continued up Yankee Doodle, which has become a staple ride of mine and stopped to take in the view at the top.
The Continental Divide looked down on us from the east and we could see Parkview and the Troublesome Basin off to the northwest. Off to the west Byers still reminds us of winter’s strong hold, and to the south Winter Park Resort now looks more like summer with snow rapidly melting by our summer days. A couple rolled by as we regrouped. Their border collie proudly carried a tennis ball that had been acquired along the way. Based upon his energy, the couple was sure to be worn out when they were done. We scanned the hillside for moose as I have regularly seen them from this vantage point.
We rolled down Arrow on some of the best singletrack anywhere. In the open areas the trail flowed from side to side with just enough speed to be fun. Once we entered the trees the trail became tight singletrack with spring’s new growth defining the trail — this is my favorite section of the trail. Our ride continued to South Fork and across the bridge that was constructed last fall. Going down South Fork is just one of those feel good rides. Gravity is your friend yet the seemingly old growth trees and thick vegetation match perfectly with the descent.
We climbed up Burn Out to USFS 128 and on to the top of Twisted Ankle. We let gravity work its magic as we rolled down the trail. The berms at the top gave us the feeling of being far better riders than we are. It helps that all of the moisture is making the trail surface very tacky. Twisted Ankle flows back into the fun part of South Fork. One last time down South Fork and then we rolled up to the Ditch Trail and back to my house.
I looked back on this ride and a big part of it was on trail improvements over the last couple of years. Those improvements have changed the riding for the better. Trails flow together. Roads are being replaced with singletrack. Trails that were eroded over time and with use were rerouted rather than the alternative option, which in some instances would be closing them.
There will be more changes coming over the summer and next several years. That will be the topic of future articles. As the Master Trails Plan gets completed (now targeted for early- to mid-July) we will have direction in which to proceed. I’m looking forward to the next stages of trail improvements and change.
Beavers Sports Shop next the Best Western Hotel does a group ride Friday night at 6:00. This ride is for the intermediate and above rider. We will explore the local trail system as a group. For more info call the shop at 726-5988.
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 him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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