Steamboat bikers eye summer 2011 for new downhill trails

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— Steamboat Springs-area free­ride mountain bikers again are being asked to be patient, but officials with Steamboat Ski Area insist that it all will pay off in a collection of downhill-only trails to rival any in the nation.

Jim Schneider, ski area vice president of skier services, said the first two trails for what will become a bike park in the central part of Mount Werner have been mapped, walked and flagged by renowned trail-building company Gravity Logic, and the proposed paths are being studied by the U.S. Forest Service to ensure they meet all the right safety and environmental guidelines.

Their location, partially outside the ski area’s permitted boundaries, adds an extra hurdle, however, and will push the start of trail construction from this fall to spring.

“We have to go through that process because the folks we hired to look at our palette of possible trails told us that’s the best place to go to put them,” Schneider said. “We feel it’s in our best interests to take the time to make sure we are building the best possible product for the long run.”

Schneider said legal directional mountain bike trails still can be a reality in Steamboat Springs for the 2011 summer season.

“We are told it takes two months to build one of those trails, so maybe if we start in mid-May when things are melting off, we can still end up with six weeks to two months of the riding season,” Schneider said. “We think this all will provide us a bike park that could rival anything in North America.”

Riders support Creekside as 1-way

Monday’s Routt County Riders monthly members meeting included more than an hour of debate about the Creekside Trail at the ski area, and in the end, the group voted to support the trail’s conversion from a two-way multiuse trail to a downhill-only venue.

The vote carries no legal weight, but it does solidify biker sentiment concerning the trail, which became embroiled in controversy this summer. The trail, a 1.7-mile breakaway from the popular Zig Zag trail, was signed for several years as a downhill-only trail but never was cleared for that designation by the U.S. Forest Service. The signs were changed early this summer to return the trail to two-way, multiuse status, frustrating area downhillers who felt it was their only venue in the region.

The Forest Service’s Janet Faller said Monday that changing the trail would be a process that couldn’t possibly be completed this summer but could be done before next.

“Because it’s so controversial, we’d have to open that up to public comment,” she said.

Before that can go forward, however, the ski area must get behind the request. Schneider said in light of the work going on elsewhere on the mountain to create such trails, he’s unsure what the right move would be.

“We will have to chew on that a little bit to see what makes sense,” he said. “We will take our time and assess whether that’s the right thing to do or not. Everyone will know here soon.”

Comments

addlip2U 4 years, 3 months ago

This is a beautiful hiking/snowshoeing trail. Trust the Forest Service will consider not just bikers to have access to the trail.
By the way, has anyone seen the bikers flying onto the BC road from the trail and into the oncoming traffic?
Had one nearly smacked into me with his/her loose dog!

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dave fisher 4 years, 3 months ago

according to a recent U.N. portfolio, Bike Town USA festivities will now include the annual "Darwin Awards" ceremony.

get ready for a whole lot more shennanigans like that, Add. the new school gravity slave "biker" is a whole different species. many qualify as bikers merely by the presence of two wheels beneath them (usually), not for their mind-bending trail etiquette skillz.

and please allow me to be the first to say it here:

DOWNHILL DOMINATION WAHOOOO STEAMBOAT !!! WOO-OO !!

there. i feel better now.

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JD grimes 4 years, 3 months ago

I can't believe that Steamboat is so behind the times when it comes to Downhill mountain biking... GET A CLUE!!!! My money is going to Winter Park and Summit County resorts when it comes to DH.

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JD grimes 4 years, 3 months ago

"multi use" trails that deliver downhill mountain bikers via a lift (or gondola in Steamboat's case) are dangerous to everyone involved. It would be easy and way safer to restrict at least 1 trail for DH only ASAP! I just left town in part due to the pathetic state of the downhill biking on the mountain...Currently my tourist money, YES I am a tourist, as I live in LA, is going to Winter Park.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 3 months ago

Hmm, so now Robin Craigen and the RCR board is apparently eating crow. After coming out so strongly about the state of Creekside trail, now apparently he is to advocate the opposite position.

Maybe a lesson there is to wait for the membership to actually consider a specific issue before so forcibly taking the anti-cyclist position.

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insbsdeep 4 years, 3 months ago

Creekside is a wonderful snowshoeing trail, and it always will be, even if it is officially DH biking in the summer. No one is going to arrest a hiker for going up it, even if it is labeled directional. Liability is more defined, and it is a safer environment for all users. I applaud RCR for supporting this. Now it is up to ski corp to realize this is the best use of the trail. Another thing they need to realize is that 2 DH trails alone will not "rival anything in North America". Don't get me wrong I am happy they are making the steps they are, but they should get the party started and build the one trail that does not go out of the permit area this fall. That is if the forest service would let them. I have a feeling the USFS is really "taking our time with this." It is odd that going out of the permit area with Valley View was maybe encouraged, or not a problem, to benefit trail design, but now with the new DH trail it becomes an issue.

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JD grimes 4 years, 3 months ago

Why is it that the rest of Colorado and the rest of the country can make things happen with the USFS in regards to downhill mountain biking but Steamboat ski area can not? It is my opinion that the USFS is not the real hold up here. Come on Steamboat it is 2010 NOT 1993. I also agree that 2 DH trails will not rival anything in the US....they won't even rival Buff pass. But it is a step in the right direction...if it ever happens.

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