Steamboat Springs You never forget how to ride a bike, right?
They don’t just make up those cliches.
Trevyn Newpher certainly never has forgotten, but he said revisiting the most basic fundamentals of the skill we supposedly never lose has helped him greatly in his own quests to ride a bike. Now, he’s excited to have the opportunity to help pass along those skills to others who already may have mastered the basics but are in for much more as gravity-fed mountain bike trails grow in Steamboat Springs.
Newpher has been a winter staple in Steamboat for about five years, establishing himself as one of the town’s fastest Alpine skiers with frequent wins in Town Challenge ski races.
He’s always left town in the summer, however, returning to West Virginia where he lived as a pro downhill mountain bike racer while working at Snowshoe Mountain Bike Park.
He decided to stay in Steamboat this summer, and local organizations were quick to reach out to try to tap into the depth of his cycling experience.
“It’s huge to have him,” said Blair Seymour, cycling director for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. “He’s an amazing downhiller and a certified coach who can break down the skills. That’s what people want.”
Newpher has been into bikes since junior high, when he was growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. A passion for riding led him to West Virginia, where he attended Davis & Elkins College and studied outdoor recreation. During his time there he began racing, slowly moving up the ranks until he had a position in the pro division.
“Back then, racing on the downhill side was bigger because bike parks didn’t really exist yet,” he said. “The only way to ride downhill was to go to a race. That was the only time resorts were opening up their lift systems or the only time someone would put together shuttles.”
That path eventually led him as far as downhill World Cup events and to Snowshoe Mountain and its growing and extensive bike park in 2005. This year, though, the mileage of the trip back to his summer home finally became too much and he opted to skip it, giving Steamboat Springs in the summer a try.
“I really liked the community,” he said. “Snowshoe was lacking in that a little bit. Steamboat has the full package and the culture that embodied all aspects of the sport of cycling, from cross-country to BMX to downhill.”
Getting used to the fact that many Steamboat riders are more prone to head out for a long day of endurance cross-country riding than downhill riding took some adjusting to, but Newpher is intent on helping any riders checking out downhill make that adjustment as smoothly as possible.
He hopes to affect that change in two ways this summer.
First, he just started a job with Steamboat Ski Area as a supervisor in the bike school.
Second, he’s agreed to help the Winter Sports Club in its effort to get a gravity bike racing program off the ground.
Programming the summer
Steamboat had a strong gravity cycling program started by Corey Prager in 2009. Prager eventually moved out of town, however, and as the program struggled to find terrain to practice on, it fizzled.
Seymour hopes to change that by jump-starting the program and setting up a series of camps that Newpher will help with.
The club is offering a trio of three-day camps taught by Newpher this summer, June 27 to 29, July 18 to 20 and Aug. 1 to 3.
“Hopefully we can bring that program back up,” he said. “I’d like to open the door to a larger demographic, people from a number of areas of cycling.”
That’s also what he’s hoping to help accomplish at Steamboat Ski Area, where a downhill bike park just came online last year. That park still is expanding, and Newpher hopes to make it an easy transition for riders preparing to utilize it.
“It reminds me of skiing and snowboarding when it first started out,” he said. “The only people that did it were the daredevils, the hardcore riders. Those guys are still around, but we want to teach people in a safe, progressive environment with the facilities, trails and equipment they need to make it accessible. We can make it a much safer experience.”
The downhill camps, which will cost $90 per three-day session, are just one part of the Winter Sports Club’s varied cycling offerings.
There are traditional mountain biking classes and a girls-specific class — “It’s a Girl Thing” — with two three-week sessions. There’s a BMX program that will run Thursdays throughout late June and most of July and August, as well as two-day mountain bike clinics.
“I want us to have a broad scope of programs,” Seymour said. “We want the full spectrum of things, and that’s why we want programs like BMX and a gravity program.”
That extends beyond Newpher, but a rider in town with his credentials was too much to pass up.
"Anyone who teaches a sport, they do it because they have a love and a passion and want to share their experiences," Newpher said. "I've always enjoyed the sport, and it’s made me a better rider to go back to my fundamentals so I can teach others. I love returning to that and seeing the progression and the confidence that people are able to build."
For more information about the club’s summer cycling options, call the club’s main office at 970-879-0695.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com