Anyone who has spent any time in the Snowmass Bike Park understands nothing there happened by accident. There is a thoughtfulness that underlies every transition, route, and grade of each and every trail and feature. That’s because a lot of thought went into creating a master plan that brings something for everyone to the park as well as seamless interaction among all components of the park.

Yannick Rioux has been the manager of the bike park at Snowmass for the past three years, but his 17 years of experience in the winter terrain parks at Snowmass and Buttermilk had him well prepared to take over the summer-oriented role with a plan.
“Our plan going forward includes a bit of everything,” says Rioux. “We are building trails that are oriented for the beginner mountain biker to the black diamond rider.”
“Our plan going forward includes a bit of everything,” says Rioux. “We are building trails that are oriented for the beginner mountain biker to the black diamond rider. In partnership with the National Forest Service we survey the ground, look at the terrain, find the best line for the trail, at the perfect grade."

It’s safe to say, nothing escapes Rioux’s notice when it comes to making the perfect bike park for as many riders as he can. And including everyone is integral in the future plans for the Snowmass Bike Park.
He wants the growing popularity of the park and riding in general to continue. He sees the Verde trail, the skills park, and some of the other beginner riding as well as the accessibility of the lessons and camps as crucial components of that.

“Verde and some of the easy trails have helped people develop skills and bring more people into the sport,” he says. “We want accessible trails. I was in Keystone a few weeks ago. It’s more old school and technical. We have a more modern park here and accessibility is a part of that.”
With all this in mind, Rioux is proud to announce the creation of four new trails to the park this year. Two new trails, Fear and Loathing and Fat City, debuted for beta-testing during the Big-Mountain Enduro competition this year and received great feedback. And while these riders are all of the expert level, (Insert Trail Names) are intermediate while two (insert Trail Names) are advanced. So to get a rave review from these guys — of trails that are not as technical and advanced as they might be used to — is high praise indeed.

Tyler Lindsay, the Event Marketing Manager at Aspen Skiing Company, describes the new trails like this: “Gonzo is a roughly ¾ mile double black diamond freeride trail which spurs off of Valhalla near the Government trail intersection. It features large jumps and a number of unique and interesting wood features. Some folks have described it as Valhalla on steroids, which is a pretty accurate description."

"Trail 9 and Trail 8 will both be designated technical trails," he continues. "Mostly singletrack with a handful of machine built turns and installed features. Trail 9 is intended as a black diamond and Trail 8 as a intermediate blue trail. They’re really fun, narrow, and rooted through loamy dark woods. They feel kind of like Expresso or Government trails but with a more sustained downhill pitch. Finally Trail 6 (also yet to be named) will be a blue freeride trail with more mid-sized jumps than Valhalla."
These four new trails increase the footprint of the bike park, but when asked about the future of the Snowmass Bike Park, Rioux is quick to note they’re not done yet.

“Every year we continue to build,” he says. “We are in year three now and we have three or four more trails to build yet after this year.”

But don’t think Rioux is focused simply on bigger. He is also very concerned with better. If something isn’t working, he’s quick to make changes. He noticed one section on Verde wasn’t working for beginner riders as intended so he re-routed it and is keeping an eye on things of this nature. “I really want to focus on maintenance of the trails,” he says. “They should continue to evolve and be dialed in.”

So as the bike park at Snowmass gets bigger, it will also get better, something local riders and visitors from beginner to expert competitors will appreciate as the vision of the Snowmass Bike Park comes to fruition.

About the Author

Nicole Birkhold
Nicole Birkhold

NICOLE BIRKHOLD

With nothing but a pair of skis and a journalism degree from Michigan State University, Nicole headed west looking for mountains, snow, and someone to pay her to put words to paper. She found the writing gig in Freeskier Magazine for ten years, but needed to be closer to the mountains to she packed it up and came to Aspen where she still crafts words but with more time on the snow.

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