On August 23rd and 24th while most of you were taking advantage of another two days of perfect summer temperatures to hit the trail, river, or rock, a few of the Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association Board members and some of our most dedicated Trail Crew members were busy putting in time to make our remaining fall projects a huge success.
VVMBA hosted the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado Outdoor Stewardship Institute’s (VOC/OSI) summer Trail Crew Leader training workshop in Minturn, Colorado. At this workshop, seven VVMBA members and numerous folks from other organizations spent the weekend learning how to successfully lead crews of both unskilled and seasoned volunteer trail builders. On the campus of the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy (a huge thanks to VSSA for providing the meeting space) we soaked up some valuable lessons on trail maintenance, new trail construction, and large group management from some of the best trail builders in the business.
So after all that time in class and out on the trail at several demonstration sites, we can now answer a few important questions that all you valley bikers might be interested in:
Is VOC/OSI a kick-a$# organization that builds, maintains, and restores miles of trails all over some of the best places in Colorado? Yes, absolutely.
Did VVMBA have some ulterior motives in hosting this workshop right here in the valley? Yes, absolutely, uh huh, you betcha…
So, why did VVMBA stack almost half the class with it’s own people? Because we need to be ready for you to come out and get dirty in September and October.
As you may be aware, (check our calendar if not!) VVMBA is organizing and sponsoring two Super-Sized trail work events in September and October that will continue the push towards our long term mission of making Eagle County a premier global mountain bike destination: the Vail Resorts Epic Promise Day, and the VOC Cougar Ridge Restoration.
On Epic Promise Day, thousands of employees from the 10 communities where Vail Resorts operates turn out for community service projects. Last year we had 270 volunteers put in several thousand feet of brand-spanking-new singletrack in the West Avon Preserve. Vail Resorts has again chosen VVMBA as their partner for Epic Promise Day in 2015. We are going to put this army to work September 19th to restore and enhance the Mesquite Trail near Singletree. This will add yet another tasty biking and hiking/running entre to the constantly-increasing menu of trails on the north side of Edwards and Avon.
A little further east, the VOC Cougar Ridge Restoration on October 3rd and 4th will be the first phase of a multi-year effort to completely make-over this valley gem that hasn’t received much love in several decades. We plan to transform Cougar Ridge from a steep washed-out mess into a premier cross country bike descent and bi-directional hiking/running trail from Vail mountain to Minturn. When this project is completed, valley residents and visitors will be able to fire up a ripping 3000′ foot descent from Vail Mountain’s Grand Traverse Trail to some quenching Minturn Saloon margaritas, buzz-inducing espressos, awesome pizza, or killer BBQ in downtown Minturn; this makes a summertime fat-tire version of the classic Minturn Mile ski route. Foot travelers headed to Lionshead Rock and beyond from Minturn will gain a new-and-improved lung-friendly ascent followed by a knee-friendly return to the trailhead.
Sam Massman with the White River National Forest and the trail crew at the Holy Cross Ranger District have already put in a huge effort to upgrade the ford over Game Creek at the bottom of Cougar Ridge trail to get ready for the volunteers in October. If you’ve hiked Lionshead recently, you’ve probably seen where their efforts have transformed a messed up and tricky stream crossing into a couple of easy steps on raised boulders.
The next step is up to you: sign up for one or both days of this event through Volunteers For Outdoor Colorado (VOC). Registration is free at: http://www.voc.org/project/mike-obrien-memorial-project-cougar-ridge-trail-restoration
Okay, okay. Are you tired of the shameless self-promotion of VVMBA projects yet? Well too bad, we’re not. We are excited as hell! All told, that’s potentially close to two thousand (wo)man-hours that will be put in on new and upgraded trails in the next two months. (Not to mention all the time that the Wednesday and Thursday night crews have been putting in on Wyse Way and Berry Creek all summer…)!
Do you care about trails in the Vail Valley? Prove it: Get out here and dig with us in 2015, there’s still time!
Don’t have time to dig but want to support our efforts to feed your never-ending singletrack hunger pangs? Prove it: Donate now to help us keep rolling more trails every year.