Hello, all. I am Jack Vanderbeek, a 15-year-old mountain biker who has lived in Steamboat for the past seven years. A year after I moved here from Denver, I got into mountain biking. It was summer 2006, and my dad signed me up to ride mountain bikes with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club in the summers.
I was put in a group with Cory Prager, a local who mountain biked as well, as my coach. While we rode cross-country, he would tell me about downhill mountain biking and how he was getting into it. As we rode, I developed a passion for the speed I got while riding downhill. I began to do shuttle laps up to the top of Spring Creek Trail and started taking the gondola up and riding down Mount Werner.
Cory always would tell me about his trips to Whistler, British Columbia; how amazing all of the trails were; and how much fun they were to ride. Finally, in late summer 2008, our family took a trip to Whistler. We drove there, and it was the best riding I had ever done in my life.
I continued racing downhill through the next summer, which was when we took our next trip to Whistler. This time, we planned to stay longer, and my brother and I attended a camp with some of the best riders in the world while in Whistler. During my time at the camp, I met a ton of kids from all around the world: Europe, Canada, varying parts of the U.S., Australia and even one kid from Namibia, a country in southern Africa.
After our camp was done in Whistler, we made the trip up north to Sun Peaks Resort and Silver Star Resort. Both of these mountains were substantially less crowded, with trails almost as good. Coming back from that trip, I realized it was possible to make a bike park as good as Whistler, and I knew that was all I wanted to become of Steamboat.
Throughout the years, I had been going to Winter Park annually to ride my bike and watching how they improved trails and attracted spectators to watch events got me excited on how our mountain could do the same. Last summer, the mountain finally stepped up on building trails, sparking hope inside me for a better mountain, but I knew a lot more would have to be done for us to become a favorable resort.
This summer, even more was built, continuing to excite me for what could happen in the future of activities in the summer at Mount Werner. Steamboat Springs has come a long way in improving biking since I started riding here in 2006. Now, we have a tremendous opportunity to expand trails even more. I can’t vote, but if I could, I would vote for Referendum 2A. It will benefit our community as well as visitors who will travel here to bike, hike and enjoy the outdoors.