Snowmass asserts itself as one of the country’s best mountain bike destinations
Mountain biking in the Roaring Fork Valley used to be a formidable task. Now, thanks to new purpose-built “flow” trails with lower grade climbs, user-friendly signage and trails that connect once fragmented networks, all levels of fat-tire fans can enjoy some of Colorado’s best singletrack. Snowmass represents the heart of this valley-wide trail development boom, offering more than 25 miles of trail built in the last five years that have elevated its status in the bike world to match its winter reputation.
From cacti studded Sky Mountain Park to verdant Snowmass Mountain to the Mancos shale of the exposed Rim Trail and Seven Star’s sagebrush filled valley, Snowmass offers something for every ability level and style of rider. This summer, seven new miles of trail, including a more gradual climbing trail up Fanny Hill to Government Trail and three new machine built trails in the Snowmass Bike Park, bump the total trail mileage in the Snowmass valley to almost 90 miles—and 24 of those miles connect to form “The Snowmass Loop”.
In Base Village, you can load your bike into the gondola at 8,432 feet, and then on Elk Camp Chairlift to start your ride at 11,325 feet with views of dramatic alpine scenery and 14,000-foot peaks. Gravity Logic built downhill trails offer berms, floaty table tops and 4,000 feet of vertical. Snowmass’ race history goes back 15 years to NORBA Nationals, but the the 3.5-mile Valhalla downhill trail built by Gravity Logic in 2012, revived the local gravity scene. The Snowmass Bike Park’s master plan includes more mileage of lift served downhill trails, jump lines and skills centers. The Park offers $29 lift-accessed biking and women’s riding clinics at Elk Camp on Tuesdays until dusk through August 15 to complement Elk Camp’s Farm to Table dinners.
Spanning a sun drenched high-desert ridge of scrub-oak and sage brush between Snowmass and Aspen, Sky Mountain Park includes seven new machine built trails, so far, that shed water quickly and lure beginner and intermediates with 7 percent climbs, buff trails and views from the Elk Mountains to the Collegiate Peaks. Deadline—the downhill flow trail with generous in-sloped berms, rollers, table tops, drops and a couple doubles that can be gapped at speed—is a must-ride and a coveted Strava segment.
The local town series offers multiple races in Snowmass (road and mountain) and the area hosts world-class bike events like this summer’s Enduro World Series stop July 29-30. Women can learn from some of the country’s best female coaches and meet future riding partners at the VIDA Women’s Mountain Bike Clinic (August 5-6), which sold out last summer. Mountain bikers with lungs can test their endurance at the Power of Four race on August 5th.
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