Steamboat Ski Area bike trails pushed to 2012

Work could begin Aug. 6 on downhill park

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— Downhill mountain bikers eager to ride Steamboat Springs will have to wait until next summer. In the face of a long U.S. Forest Service approval process, the downhill mountain bike park slated to be built on Mount Werner won’t be open until next spring at the earliest, a Steamboat Ski Area spokeswoman said today.

“Aug. 6 is the first day we can get on the U.S. Forest Service land,” Loryn Kasten said. “The plan is still in motion. Everything’s moving forward, but it will be next year that people can get out there.”

As a wet spring gave way to summer and the USFS’s approval process dragged on, it became less and less likely that riders would be able to put rubber to dirt on the new trails in 2011. The delay relates to the multiple levels of public comment built into any serious project taking place on Forest Service ground, which in Steamboat accounts for most of the terrain in the planned downhill park.

An initial plan was presented early last summer. It received several modifications last summer and was opened up to public comment in the fall. More modifications were introduced early this year, and a second public comment period followed.

The second period didn’t result in any serious complaints, the Forest Service’s Kent Foster said, but it still had to be followed by a 45-day appeal period to allow anyone to speak up who felt he or she had previously been ignored.

Foster said the clock on that 45-day period got a late start thanks to vacancies at his office. Once it’s complete — July 29 — it will still be followed by five additional days to allow any mailed complaints to reach Forest Service offices.

Then, finally, work can begin.

That date, after all the comment, appeal and waiting periods, is set for Aug. 6.

“The 45-day waiting period is killing me because I don’t think we’ll get an appeal,” Foster said. “But you never know.”

Steamboat Ski Area has begun work on lower sections of the trail, which are on its private property. Once the resort gets the green light, it will be immediately approved to build up to 20 miles of trail in the new park.

“It’s just a part of the process. In a noncontroversial project with a lot of support, it may seem frustrating, but the reason we have these rules in place is to fully disclose to the public the effects of any action on public land,” Foster said. “Here we are with bulldozers and heavy equipment waiting, ready to go for a project that has a lot of support, but this is the same process we’d use for a major development, something that may be more controversial.”

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Cory Prager 3 years, 4 months ago

Keep up the great work everybody looking forward to Directional trails next summer. Look out for more gravity events and series in the future !

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mike sharkey 3 years, 4 months ago

yay!!!! we get to hear about how awsome it will be for another year!!!! work could begin??? that sounds promising....just like the last two years.i understand that there is a defined process but this is the second summer in a row that we have heard all about the great things that are going to happen only to be told mid summer that we will have to wait until next year. why should i believe anything the resort says regarding their plans for updating the mountain bike trails? and i say updating because we are so far behind on this that it is comical. i'll believe the hype when i see some action...

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mtroach 3 years, 4 months ago

Yek, The article clearly states it's the US Forest Service process that is causing the delay not the resort. Pick up the phone and complain to the USFS about their process but please refrain from pubilshing falsehoods about the resort and why this is delayed. I saw the Gravity Logic workers out flagging trail above BCSki Way yesterday. They are ready to go and working on what they can till Uncle Sam aloowes further progress. It's the US government that's holding up action.

Blame Obama!

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Cooke 3 years, 4 months ago

yekrahs - learn to read before you write...

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partylikeits2008 3 years, 4 months ago

So we are to believe what the ski area says as far as the Forest Service holding things up? Remember several years ago when we had our record snow fall year and the mountain was set to close on a Saturday rather than a Sunday? And the ski area explained that they'd love to stay open but due to elk migration the ski area couldn't stay open for that extra day. Although a couple of days later there was a front page article discussing the fact that if the ski area wanted to stay open for that extra day they could. And wouldn't you know it the next day there was a statement released by ASC stating that in celebration of the record ski season that the ski area was staying open an extra day! Not saying that the ski area isn't being forthright but just because something is in print or in this case online, doesn't necessarily make it true. I'm sure with time there will be new mountain bike trials throughout the ski area, and when all is said and done this article will be quickly forgotten.

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mike sharkey 3 years, 4 months ago

i read the article. what does the second line of the title say? where did i publish falsehoods? i simply stated what my experience has been for the last serveral years dealing with this and how previous actions have left me (and i am sure many others) feeling about this.

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exduffer 3 years, 4 months ago

yek- don't quote the headline, the article says work has begun!

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1999 3 years, 4 months ago

same story we've been hearing for the last 15 years or so.

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insbsdeep 3 years, 4 months ago

The start of the waiting period got delayed by vacancies at the forest service? Why? and why is the waiting period followed by another 8 days? Shouldn't the 45 days be enough to mail something in. This is all because a few minor changes were made to the bike plan. Is the trail they plan to build different from what was approved prior? What exactly were the changes to the bike plan? After this are all the trails approved, and it will be up to ski corp to build as they see fit? This story needs some more detail.

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