Downhillers set to fly again as Captain of the Boat series returns
Few were more eager this summer for the gondola at Steamboat Ski Area to open than Trevyn Newpher, bike park manager at the resort, and the active downhill mountain bikers he most directly serves.
The lift, essential for downhill mountain bikers who typically sport burly, heavy bikes that are difficult to ride far uphill, was sidelined for much of the summer as it underwent extensive refurbishing and overhaul. That work drug past several “open by” dates until Monday, when — fully rebuilt, refurbished and recertified — Steamboat Springs’ gondola started spinning.
“Our bike park group is very passionate, and they want to ride their bikes, want to get out there,” Newpher said Thursday, late in July, but on what was only the fourth day all the park’s trails have officially been open to the public.
“That’s why I’m here and why a lot of my staff is here,” he said. “It’s a huge passion for us and a lifestyle. We want that lifestyle and passion to grow, and it’s tough when the park’s not open.”
The park has actually been open for lessons since June, and that, along with several re-routes of existing trails, kept Newpher and his staff plenty busy.
They’ll get another chance Friday to bring back what’s become a regular part of Steamboat Springs cycling summers, the Captain of the Boat downhill mountain bike race series.
The schedule was rearranged and shortened, from five weeks to four, and it all kicks off — rather, it all gets rolling — at 6 p.m. Friday.
Registration costs $10 for one race or $35 for the season and is available from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Steamboat Bike Shop at the base of the ski area.
The series will also ride Aug. 4 and 18 and Sept. 1.
Competitors will also need a pass. An adult full day lift ticket costs $39, or $29 for winter season pass holders. A twilight lift ticket — good for the hours between 4 and 7 p.m. — costs $29 for everyone. Thanks to the short season, a season pass, at $99, is cheaper this year than it’s been.
“We’re really happy to be running fully open, and we can already tell by the energy. Everyone’s really pumped to be out there,” Newpher said.
Riders now can expect to ride on 12 full trails; all the resort’s trails except one are open. Lower Rustler’s Ridge won’t be available.
Some of those trails look a little different than they did the last time riders pedaled them. Bucking Bronc, in particular, received a considerable re-route as the resort’s new mountain coaster was installed near the area where jumps previously launched riders.
“That’s been moved downhill, and it’s all considerably more dynamic now,” Newpher said. “There are a few pretty unique features and some progressiveness to it. You can take a less-advanced main line or opt for a more-advanced optional line, and we’re really hoping it can accommodate a wider range of riders.”
New features or not, Newpher and the many other riders in town are mostly happy to be riding again.
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