Spoke Talk: Transitions in the cycling world
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Transition, by definition, is the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.
Transitions are something we encounter in many forms as riders. Takeoffs, landings, corners and drops are all transitions where we change from one direction of travel to another.
This is a constant element we navigate in life and just one of the exciting challenges we are required to adapt to as cyclists. To me it’s one of the primary reasons I ride, the challenge of adapting to change.
Steamboat Resort or “Mountain Resort,” as I like to call it, arguably endures more change and transition than any other business or high-use land area in the valley. It’s perpetually in transition from winter to summer with an abundance of guests seeking a “mountain experience.”
When you stop and think about it, it is truly incredible the number of mountain experiences that are brought into people’s lives via Mount Werner over a 12-month time frame.
In order to maintain and continually enhance these experiences, Steamboat Resort must maintain its current infrastructure and continually invest in the many areas that bring the experience to life, making it the world-class destination it has become and that we’ve grown to be passionate about.
This means that sometimes infrastructure improvements and projects will affect short-term experiences for the benefit of long-term goals.
That being said, the 2019 season is probably one of the most transitional seasons we’ve had to date at the resort, especially relative to summer operations. After 33 years, the gondola is finally getting a complete upgrade.
This transition has opened the door for new operations such as the Christie Peak Express chair, a lower elevation lift which has provided a much friendlier experience for riders both young and new to downhill-specific bike park riding.
With a much more welcoming introduction to the sport, the transition from zero to hero is much more attainable for riders that were often overwhelmed by the 2,200 vertical foot drop and 40-plus minute descents that Thunderhead required of new riders.
Considering the opportunities to focus on this entry-level experience, the resort has added two new green trails, a new bike carrier system and enhanced Steamboat Bike School programming.
For the more intermediate and advanced riders, the Bike Park Trail Crew is also working hard on a new blue trail named Huckleberry that will allow riders to access the top of Buckin’ Bronc more easily from Lower Rustler’s Ridge. This new trail is slated to open later this season.
As the manager of the Steamboat Bike Park over the past seven seasons and having been in the mountain resort industry over the past 17 years, there are a few things that will always be constant. Summers will always be construction season. Winters will continue to be the life blood of the ski area. Summer business will continue to grow and mountain biking will continue to be the most congruent summer crossover sport to skiing.
I’m confident that participation in the sport will continue to increase and the family aspect of it will grow as current participating generations get older and share their passion for the sport with younger generations.
Equipment advancements will continue to evolve and resorts will open doors to proper terrain progression for new and growing riders. From “never ever” to Olympic level terrain, a diverse offering of trails is paramount for the future of Steamboat Springs as a cycling destination and as a town that celebrates our athletic heritage so proudly.
I’ll admit this is long-term thinking and something I try to stay optimistic about. But in the short term, hopefully you can join me in being excited to have a fresh gondola in the 2019/20 season and a solid foundation for Bike Park operations for many years to come.
Trevyn Newpher is the manager of the Steamboat Bike Park at Steamboat Resort.
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