At Monday’s meeting, Mountain Village Town Council unanimously approved the Town of Mountain Village’s proposal to construct a Mountain Bike Park on ski area trails. The new bike park encompasses just over 77 acres and will include three new bike trails, with the Full Tilt downhill course to be rebuilt and connected to existing trail segments in the area. The end result will be a network of intermediate and expert downhill mountain bike trails, accessible for riders for free from the top of the Gondola.
“This is something we all really hoped would happen,” said Adam Black, president of the San Miguel Bike Alliance. “To have all the entities come together [the Town of Mountain Village, TMVOA, Forest Service, Telluride Ski and Golf] and see this plan and believe in it enough to fund it and let it happen on Open Space… I mean, a free bike park? It’s an amazing idea.”
The bike park’s trails will be located between the Gondola and the northeast side of Lift 4, encompassing nearly four miles of downhill mountain bike trails that crisscross Ski Area runs Misty Maiden, See Forever, Butterfly and Competition Hill.
Monday’s council approval comes more than a year after concerns about management of mountain bike trails on the Ski Area brought a portion of summertime biking activities, including the well-attended Full Tilt Mountain Bike Race, to a screeching halt.
Citing concerns over public safety as well as environmental damage, the Forest Service suggested closing the Telluride Trail and Ridge Trail to bikers last summer. (Telluride Trail is still permanently closed to biking, and the Ridge Trail will close to bikers when the Bike Park opens.)
Meanwhile, citing similar concerns about resource damages, TSG pulled its support of the Full Tilt Mountain Bike Race, part of the Mountain States Cup series which had during its three years here brought up to 1000 people to the Mountain Village.
Black calls the impending construction of a new bike park on ski area trails “a step in the right direction” for infusing the summertime mountain bike experience in Telluride.
Local bike enthusiast and SMBA member Daniel Murray echoes Black, saying that a mountain bike park utilizing Telluride’s steep terrain and Gondola access sense – and not only because the local biking community has backdoor access to Telluride’s spectacular terrain, but so that Telluride and Mountain Village can gain a foothold among other ski resorts that also offer extensive options for summertime mountain biking.
“We need to diversify our offerings to tourists to be more competitive with other ski areas who provide the same amenities. We need this – we need to be creative and be on the edge of what people are looking for,” Murray said this week.
SMBA met Wednesday with Mountain Village Recreation Manager Tony Forrest to establish a work timeline for the project; in addition to its project to restore the Mill Creek trail, which is currently underway, SMBA and its volunteer core will assist in the construction of the new Bike Park trails. Black reports that members of the association have already been out in the area, flagging and taking GPS coordinates at sites of the new trails. He says that while he doesn’t know when the Bike Park will open to the public, he says he doesn’t believe it will take long to at least get the Full Tilt segment ready for riders. “It’s going to take getting a few shovels in the ground and pulling a few logs off, “ he said of the already constructed Full Tilt course, which will be the centerpiece of the new Bike Park.
To lend a hand in the construction of the new Bike Park, or to assist with any of SMBA’s other trail maintenance projects, check their website www.telluridesmba.org.