Crews work to finish beginner downhill trail at Steamboat Ski Area |

Crews work to finish beginner downhill trail at Steamboat Ski Area

Access to upper Pete’s remains blocked by 15 foot snowdrift

— Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Vice President of Skier Services Jim Schneider said Wednesday that he's hopeful that a small piece of a new downhill bicycling trail aimed at beginners can open as soon as Friday.

Schneider said the trail segment, which begins at the mid-station of the Voo Doo ski trail, is below the U.S. Forest Service boundary at the Christie Peak summit and does not have to wait for the permit process.

"We're not opening up our bike park," Schneider said. "It's a very short piece of trail."

Still, the new trail could give cyclists a feel for how well groomed and banked a future expert trail could be.

Ski corp. crews, working under the supervision of bike trail building experts from Gravity Logic, were putting the finishing touches on the trail and grooming it as smooth as a putting green this week.

Ski Corp. Director of Trails and Vehicle Maintenance Davey Crisler said the beginner trail includes more than a dozen small wooden bridges that cover water drainage bars. The bridges are designed to be flush with the trail at either end.

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In addition to the beginner downhill trail, the ski area hopes to open the lower portion like Pete's Wicked Trail to Cathy's Cutoff this weekend.

Schneider said access to the upper portion of Pete's still is blocked by a 15-foot snowbank that covers the Summer Road and was as deep as 35 feet a week ago. The snow pile is in a spot where ski area crews pushed snow away from the top of the Morningside chairlift so skiers could unload during the winter.

Gravity Logic built the mountain bike trails at Whistler British Columbia. Schneider said Whistler, which does many more skier visits in winter than Steamboat does, saw about 135,000 bike visits last year. Projecting the ratio of skier visits between the two resorts to bike visits would lead one to expect that the ski area could someday double its cycling visits to about 50,000.

Schneider added that the number of people riding the gondola this summer is on par with summer 2010 even though the gondola's hours of operation have been reduced 30 percent by the frequent lightning and wind storms that have swept over Mount Werner during the first three weeks of July.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

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