Gretchen Sehler wants to scale the trails of Howelsen Hill as much as the next mountain biker, but she realizes that conditions aren't suitable yet.
Just because the snow is melted or melting and the weather has been relatively warm and dry, does not mean the area trails are ready for use. Signs asking people to stay off have been ignored, and Sehler is reminding riders those signs were posted for a reason.
"We'd like the trails to dry out," said Sehler, who directs the summer Town Challenge Series for mountain bike racers. "People think the snow's gone, but it's still wet, and the ground takes a while to dry out. If it looks wet, stay off. If there is a sign up to stay off, it's because it might be wet further down."
Riding on wet trails leaves tracks in the mud that deteriorate the trails, damaging them for the rest of the spring and summer.
Sehler said she knows of one area -- part of Mad Creek Trail -- that is dry enough to ride on, and she is hoping, with the help of area bike shops, to post any new trail openings when they become available.
The dry, warm spring has Sehler optimistic that certain trails will be open within two weeks, depending on the weather. In the meantime, she suggests staying on the road to build up base miles and fitness levels.
"If there is a sign up, please respect it," Sehler said. "We will open as soon as we can."
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org