The Fourth of July weekend felt more like Christmas in Mountain Village as visitors and locals lined up at Chair 4 for the bike park’s grand opening.
“The numbers were fantastic, certainly exceeded our expectations,” said Scott Pittenger, Telski’s director of mountain operations. “It was really fantastic to see the ski lift running; to see Chair 4 full of bikes and to see people riding up. It was pretty amazing.”
Lines formed at Chair 4 around 8 a.m. Friday. The park opened at 10 a.m. “Opening day was cool. There were people waiting in line right at the beginning,” Pittenger said. “They were posted up early.”
Rumors around town and the village suggest that it was worth the wait. Local rider Conor Pelton was beyond stoked with his experience on opening weekend.
“Compared to other bike parks I’ve ridden, they don’t even come close to the amount of vertical you get. Telluride is by far some of the longer runs I’ve ever gotten to do at a bike park,” Pelton said.
Pittenger agreed, “I think some folks tried out sections of our trails before they were completely open. And then the first day of being able to ride some of these trails, top to bottom, was just an invigorating experience. People were excited about it.”
The park is designed to accommodate riders of all ages and experience levels. Pelton noted the various riders he saw at the park this weekend.
“So many parents out with their kids, to young teenagers taking advantage of it, to people my age in their 30s and even older, loving it,” he said. “I feel like it’s something this town has wanted and waiting for for a long time.”
Riders reportedly favored the new green trail called Tommy Knocker, designed to appeal to all skill levels.
“It seems like everybody’s riding it, beginners and advanced riders alike. It’s just a fun trail. It’s got good flow to it. It’s a long trail, it’s about six miles, and people are having a blast,” Pittenger said.
Another trail gaining attention is Shift Boss, a blue trail that connects the top of Village Express to more technical trails.
“That’s something that Telluride has never seen before,” Pelton said. “As in like jumps, berms, from the flow of the trail, it’s kind of what every advanced rider was looking for when they knew the bike park was coming here.”
Crews are working on Ore Hopper as well, another blue trail featuring jumps, bridges and turns. Riders reportedly can’t get enough. “They want more of it,” Pittenger said. He explained that about one-third of Ore Hopper is open with another half mile completed in the woods and another two miles of trail to build.
“All these trails are the type of trails that you can ride a few times a day and not really get bored. You can ride them different ways and try to hit different lines. There’s a lot of options within a single trail,” Pittenger explained.
The bike park and surrounding areas allow access to 40.9 miles of trail currently with about another 10 miles expected to open by July 16. Crews are reportedly working hard to get more and more trail open as quickly and safely as possible. Their goal for this weekend is to open Prospect Trail and Prospect Loop, Pittenger reported. “We are going to make it happen one way or another,” he said.
San Miguel Bike Alliance and Telluride 100 have jumped in to help get trails open, too. Adam Black with the alliance said groups have been shoveling snow and clearing paths to assist in getting Prospect open by this weekend as well. “Scott tells us something that is a need. We need some snow shoveling. We get a group of people out there and we’ll hit that,” Black explained. “Trail maintenance is kind of how we fit in and with trail awareness, advocacy, letting people know what’s open, what they should be riding and just building the community up there.”
The bike park is going to be essentially under construction for years to come, Pittenger explained, the goal being to add more trails and diversity to the system. “For folks that rode over the weekend, there’s going to be new trail to ride this coming weekend,” Pittenger said.
Pelton digs that new trails are opening all the time, too.
“You’re just getting used to these new trails, and then another one’s opening, and that’s just rebuilding the excitement for what’s next,” Pelton said. “Just seeing the beginning stages of it and just thinking about what’s coming, the progression of it and where’s it going to be, not only this year but in following years, it’s just really exciting to be here and to be a part of it.”
Pittenger explained that the hope is to get more trails open but to also maintain existing terrain. “We have more plans to build, we have more proposals that have been turned into the Forest Service to build. While we’re building, we’re trying to maintain some of the existing trails,” Pittenger said. “We’re trying to make sure that we’re not forgetting about cross country and about some of our local favorites while we focus on building new trail. Now that we’re open and operating, we’re able to spread the bike crew out a little bit to knock out projects throughout the system, not specifically on the bike park alone.”
The bike park is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until Sept. 2. From Sept. 3. to Oct. 13 it will be open on weekends only from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Telski season ski pass holders can upgrade their winter pass for a seasonal bike park pass for a $25 donation to the National Forest Foundation. Non pass holders can purchase a day pass for $36 or a season bike park pass for $199. Telski donates a portion of each pass sold to the foundation. For more information, visit tellurideskiresort.com/events-activities/activities/telluride-bike-park/.