Steamboat's Growing Bike Scene

July 10 2012, 9:00 AM

Steamboat is already known as Ski Town USA, but now the mountain town is striving to earn a new moniker: “Bike Town USA.”

I confess, I hate this phrase. It’s too tired and derivative for what, actually, is a killer bike scene. Steamboat has countless miles of scenic, low-traffic byways for road biking. Our extensive singletrack network leads right from the heart of downtown, and the northern part of the county holds a staggering number of gorgeous epic rides.

That’s all been true for years. But the biggest development under the Bike Town USA initiative is taking place at the ski area. This summer, Steamboat unveils a bike park, with five new downhill trails and a sixth that’s expected to open this month.

Yes, the resort had bike trails before—for cross-country riders pedaling uphill as well as down. But the new trails are downhill-only chutes constructed by the best builders in the biz: Gravity Logic (the folks that made Whistler the gravity mecca that it is).

Gravity Logic pioneered the “flow” approach to mountain biking: Instead of building super-steep routes requiring riders to grip their brakes the whole time, Gravity Logic specializes in designs that let bikers swoop, soar, and—flow. Gravity Logic masterminds also build jumps for all ability levels, from beginners who want to roll over features to experts who hit them for huge air.

This is the company that built the Trestle Bike Park at Winter Park. Now they’re turning Steamboat’s bike options into a giggle-good time consisting of banked curves, wooden wall rounds, and gap jumps.

The original plan was to go even bigger. Steamboat had also intended to build an advanced trail, which was to have hosted a Mountain States Cup bike race. But after a low-snow year dimmed visitor numbers, the resort claimed a lack of revenue and pulled the plug on the trail, and consequently the race.

No matter. The new trails that Steamboat did manage to complete are bound to thrill local and visiting gravity addicts. And it’s likely just the start of more fun to come.

—Photo courtesy of Larry Pierce/Steamboat