Telluride Magazine Summer/Fall 2019

Page 38




Telluride launches new mountain bike park

By Katie Klingsporn


ith trails that weave through aspen groves, traverse breathtaking alpine basins and gain high mountain ridges, Telluride draws its fair share of mountain bikers.

But in order to enjoy Telluride’s mix of trails, you’d better arrive with intermediate skills at least. That’s because the inventory of local trails has long leaned toward technical, rocky, off-camber, and steep—with nary a true beginner trail in sight. With tight switchbacks, big exposure, and high-consequence obstacles, the majority are beautiful lung-busters, not friendly to the naïf. Local riders become hardened to it, but for destination riders or tourists who want to try out the sport,


mountain biking in Telluride can play out in disastrous fashion—leaving them intimidated, injured, or turned off to the sport. “You don’t want people to be sandbagged, because what we as locals consider beginner trails, are not beginner trails by the standard of the real world,” said Penelope Gleason, who says her staff at Bootdoctors is extremely careful about where they send riders. (Often, the best option for beginners is the paved bike path along the Valley Floor—not exactly a rubber-meets-dirt wilderness experience.)

This scenario might be perfectly fine for locals who aren’t keen on sharing their singletrack. But resort officials say that as a destination, Telluride has fallen behind on a national trend to turn its ski resort into an all-levels bike park in the summer. Until now. Welcome to Telluride Ski Resort’s new bike park—a lift-served experience that is poised to bring big changes to ski area operations, the region’s mountain biking profile, and the Mountain Village economy.