by Keith Sanders | Special to Winter Park Times.com
Winter Park has long been known for the amazing mountain biking we get to experience every day as locals. Those of you who are not from the area may think that the mountain biking happens at the Trestle Bike Park at Winter Park Resort. While that is a lot of fun, there are hundreds of miles of cross country trails that form the foundation of Winter Park’s claim to Mountain Bike Capital USA.
There may be no better way to start off your mountain bike experience in Winter Park than being part of the Mountain Bike Capital Weekend which starts Friday July 28th. Not only are there lots of activities but you can also participate in one of the skills camps put on by a list of international legends such as Alison Powers (the only woman to hold all USA road cycling National Championship titles in the same year), Alison Dunlop (2001 World Cross Country Mountain Bike Champion), Ann Trombley (2000 Olympian) and local pro Sarka Ruzickova Swenson as well as many others. Not only are all of these women amazing riders they are also some of the best coaches in North America as all of them currently own training and coaching companies. You will also get to meet several of our athletes from our own Middle Park High School Mountain Bike Team as they are helping out the coaches. You can find more info at MountainBikeCapitalUSA.com.
Let’s not overlook one of the most fun fundraisers you will ever do. That is the Headwaters Trails Alliance (HTA) Pub Crawl. HTA is the local multi use trails organization. This Friday’s event is a fun ride through the town of Winter Park. Costumes are highly encouraged but not mandatory. Bring any bike that you have. More info can be found at headwaterstrails.org.
Mountain biking in Winter Park, Colorado is about as good as it gets. There is something for everyone from the kids or entry level riders to the most fit I need bigger mountains and more hours in the day enthusiast. One key thing that makes mountain biking in Winter Park so unique is that you can park the car for your stay and simply ride your bike. Quality singletrack trails literally begin and end in the Town of Winter Park just a few minutes from wherever you may be staying. Trails are signed and there is a great free map that you can pick up at any local bike shop. Also included in the map are suggested routes that have turn by turn descriptions which is a great way to learn the core trails and rides for your ability.
In addition to the amazing mountain bike trails there are a few things that make Winter Park Colorado a great place to ride your mountain bike. Winter Park is just a friendly place. Saying hi on the trail is just something we do. Help disguise yourself as a local with a quick wave and hello! Another is that users become very spread out on the trail system. It will seem like you may have the trails to yourself even on a busy day. I am sure this is a welcome relief for those of you who are used to very busy trail systems.
As good as our trail system is now, come back and see what it will be in the future. The trail system has been under a 6 year planning process that will soon be finalized for the trails around Winter Park. This can create an even better experience by improving trails, creating new better experiences and giving the trail system that bit of polish to make it shine even more.
Keith Sanders is owner of Beavers Sports Shop in Downtown Winter Park at the Best Western Hotel. He is also a 3x USA National Mountain Bike Champion and multiple Colorado State Mountain Bike Champion. You can reach Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org.