Lance Canfield comes down the lower Rustler Ridge trail Saturday at Steamboat Ski Area. Canfield came from Jackson Hole, Wyo., to try out the trails at the ski area.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Lance Canfield comes down the lower Rustler Ridge trail Saturday at Steamboat Ski Area. Canfield came from Jackson Hole, Wyo., to try out the trails at the ski area.

New, revamped Steamboat bike trails draw rave reviews

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Steamboat Bike Park open

The daily cost to access the bike park is $35, or $25 for those who have a 2011-12 season ski pass. These prices include gondola rides.

Season bike park passes are $199, or $159 for those with a 2011-12 season ski pass.

Season pass holders from last ski season and those who already have put down their $99 deposit for a 2012-13 ski pass will have free access to the gondola during the summer. Otherwise, a gondola summer pass costs $95.

A full map of Steamboat Ski Area biking and hiking trails is available at www.steamboat.com.

How to help

To become a member of Routt County Riders or to volunteer for a trail maintenance day, visit www.routtcountyriders.org.

— It’s always a good thing when ideas turn to reality. 

And in the case of downhill mountain bikers, that reality fuels the hope of something even bigger. 

Steamboat Ski Area introduced Friday several new and revamped downhill mountain biking trails, including Tenderfoot, Sitz, Wrangler Gulch and E-Z Rider. 

The Buckin’ Bronc jump trail has been redesigned, and new downhill trail Rustler’s Ridge is open from the snowmaking facilities at the bottom of Heavenly Daze to the top of Buckin’ Bronc. 

“I think having it is very important,” said Jim Schneider, Steamboat Ski Area vice president of skier services. “We’ve been working on it for a number of years. We’ve had a lot of demand and a lot of excitement.

“We’ll get more and more trails online as we go. We’re going to grow as much as the business level grows.”

The demand for downhill mountain biking trails long has been part of the conversation. The ski area began last year with the introduction of Buckin’ Bronc, a jump trail that has wooden features throughout. 

That trial has been redesigned and revamped this summer, making it safer and cleaner. 

Now with the addition of Rustler’s Ridge, the ski area slowly is transforming itself into a legitimate place for downhill mountain bikers. 

“It was awesome,” downhiller Joe Love said. “It has banked corners. There are a few rollers; it’s fast and wide open.”

In the right direction 

Aryeh Copa has a passion for just about everything outdoors and Steamboat. His visions are grand, and his work to get there is ceaseless. 

Copa has ridden the new trails at Steamboat Bike Park and gushed about the possibilities. But Copa also is working on the other end. As a board member for Routt County Riders, Copa has been leading trail maintenance days not only on the mountain but also throughout the bustling trail system in Steamboat. 

The latest trail maintenance day on the mountain involved working on the Sunshine Trail. 

Copa said his goal is to show the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management that the group can not only maintain current trails but also handle more. 

“We’re definitely much more cohesive now than we’ve ever been in the past,” Copa said. “I think Steamboat is one of the best mountains with terrain for mountain biking.”

All admitted Rustler’s Ridge is a step in the right direction. The upper part of the trail should be open in the next couple of weeks, and Schneider said the plan is to continue advancing and making new trails. 

The goal, he said, is to make the ski area a destination for downhill mountain bikers. 

Besides, this town loves two wheels and dirt. 

“It’s the first step in the right direction,” Love said. “There has been controversy about going up or down or cross-country trails. We’re all just trying to go ride bikes.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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