Work on Bike Park continues |

Work on Bike Park continues

John Merwin gets some air on Bull Rider last summer at the Steamboat Bike Park. The park opens for the summer Thursday at 3 p.m. First-day passes will cost $15 and will benefit Routt County Riders. Passes will cost $38 daily for the rest of the summer. A season pass is $259.
Ben Ingersoll

Bike Park honored

Steamboat Bike Park was selected as one of the best in the region by

The site split the country in regions and named the top five parks for each region. Steamboat made the cut, placing fifth in the Rocky Mountain region. Trestle at Winter Park was ranked No. 1, Canyons in Utah was No. 2, Keystone was No. 3 and Evolution at Crested Butte was No. 4.

— The Steamboat Bike Park will never really be finished, Trevyn Newpher explained, considering projects big and small.

A day before the lifts were to start turning, the manager of Steamboat Ski Area’s downhill mountain bike park said he was excited, and he was ready. The park will open Thursday for a sponsorship day benefiting Routt County Riders and its trail-maintaining efforts. It will cost $15 to ride when the park is open from 3 to 7 p.m.

In many ways, the bike park will be as riders last saw it in the fall, before the snow came. In other ways, however, the park is a work in progress, and this summer, Newpher and his co-workers at Steamboat Ski Area are hoping to see major progress.

“We’re always looking to improve the flow of the bike park,” Newpher said. “We’re looking to improve the connections and trails we have to existing terrain, constantly revamping, reworking sections of trail to improve the rider experience.”

Here’s a rundown of what to expect — what’s new and what’s coming:

What will be ready

The park opens from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday for sponsorship day benefiting Routt County Riders. Seven trails will be open: beginner trails Tenderfoot, Wrangler Gulch, E-Z Rider; intermediate trail Rustlers Ridge; and expert trails Buckin’ Bronc, Rawhide and Bull Rider.

What will be here soon

Newpher raved about the Flying Diamond expert trail — a major section of which was opened very late last summer — calling it “a premier jump trail in North America…an experience that will be really hard to match.” 
It won’t be open right away, however. Lingering snowpack and last year’s construction will delay its opening by at least a week or two. The section of the trail that connects to the base area isn’t completed yet, but it shouldn’t be long before riders can take on what’s already been completed.

What is further down the line

A major focus this summer will be on completing the Zig Zag trail, which technically isn’t a Steamboat Bike Park trail but is something that could have riders salivating. It will be multi-use, so open to uphill cycling traffic as well as hikers and horseback riders. 
It doesn’t follow the old Zig Zag trail that led to the top of the gondola. Much of that trail has been re-routed and used in downhill trails. Instead, this trail will swing wide around Thunderhead Peak, into terrain that hasn’t been used much for cycling yet.

“It will have a nice climbing gradient to the peak of Thunderhead,” Newpher said. “There are some major drainages we’re crossing, so the bridgework will be cool as well.”

Ideally, the trail will be ready by the end of the summer, though it could be close.

Two more trails could also be ready late in the summer — a beginner and an intermediate trail in Bashor Bowl. Just when they’ll be opened to the public is up in the air for now, however.

What else is new

Some changes have come to the ski area’s bike shop, as well as to its lessons and programming.

— Premium downhill bikes will now join the nearly-100-bike fleet available for rent.

— A “Gravity Groms” program has been added, running twice a week, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, through July and August for riders between 10 and 18. It will cost $269 per week including a bike rental, or $199 without the rental.

— The “Gravity Girls” women’s downhill clinic has been moved to Fridays and will cost $59, everything included, or $20 just for the lesson.

— The Captain of the Boat race series returns with its first race set for July 2. It will continue every other Thursday through August. The race will cost $10 each, and a season pass is $40. A race training session will be available the afternoon of the races for $30. Races begin at 6 p.m. and training at 3:30 p.m..

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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