By Tyler Lindsay
Photography by Matt Power

The best mountain bikers on the planet return to Aspen Snowmass this week for Round 6 of the Enduro World Series.

Local cycling fans won’t want to miss a second of the action! But with 400 racers spread across 6 timed stages, 17 miles of race trails, nearly 13,000 feet of descending and two days of racing, even the most seasoned trail junkie can feel overwhelmed trying to keep up. Here’s the insiders lowdown on each of the weekend’s stages.

Plan on basing your weekend adventure at the Snowmass Base Village, where you can ogle the newest race machines and mingle with top pros in the sponsor village. Free parking all weekend long in the Base Village Garage.



NOTE: Due to the Enduro, there will be some trail and Snowmass Bike Park closures -
Thursday: Valhalla closed until 11AM
Friday: Valhalla closed until NOON
Saturday and Sunday: Snowmass Bike Park Opens NOON - 5PM

stage 1 // Saturday 7:30am - 11:30am
Two Creeks DH

Beginning at the top of the Elk Camp Gondola, this race-only trail heads straight down the fall line in the woods between the Cascade and Creekside runs. Racers will cross Valhalla twice before linking up with the “Sequel” trail for a high speed burn through fields of wildflowers toward the base of the Two Creeks chairlift. Spectators won’t want to miss the upper 1/3rd of the track with its steep plunges and dramatic road crossings. The Elk Camp Gondola will be loading early for spectators. Don't forget to get a gondola pass at the Base Village ticket office. Take the gondola to Elk Camp and just walk down the Vista trail from the top, and pick a spot on one of the upper steeps to watch.

MAP IT: Start

Finish
stage 2 // saturday 10am - 2pm
Aspen Mountain

The crown jewel of Aspen Snowmass’ winter offerings, the Silver Queen represents the longest stage of the weekend, with over 3600’ of descent spread across 4.8 miles of classic Colorado singletrack. Spectators should visit their favorite double black diamond ski runs such as “Walsh’s” or“The Dumps,” where racers will sprint between 180° switchback turns down local favorite double black diamond ski terrain, or post up with a beer at Ajax Tavern to watch the last few turns down Little Nell trail.From the top of the Gondola, walk down the Ute Trail toward the Nastar venue. From the bottom, head up Little Nell work road, then take Bingo Cutoff up to the road just above Kleenex corner to watch the drop out of the Dumps and onto the road.

MAP IT:
Start

Finish


stage 3 // saturday 1pm - 5pm
K.A.R. and Luge

The first of three race stages on Snowmass’ old school west side singletrack, Stage 3 begins at the top of the Coney Glade chairlift, plunging down through the Aspen groves toward base village. Families with kids will love seeing bikes make use of their favorite winter tree trails off of the Kid’s Race Arena and Lizard Lodge, a quick hike from the upper drop off point for the “Top of the Village” shuttle bus.Less adventurous viewers will love watching the sprint to the finish line across the Fanny Hill switchbacks and into Base Village.

MAP IT:
Start

Finish
stage 4 // sunday 7:30am - 11:30am
Snowmass Super D

Beginning at the top of the Elk Camp Chairlift, Stage 4 will be a true endurance test for our visiting racers, and should represent the greatest variety of terrain they’ll see in a single stage. After a couple quick turns on the Vapor trail, racers will turn down the fall line on a yet-to-be-named ridgeline singletrack popping in and out of the dark timber of the Grey Wolf ski terrain. A brief visit to the flowing berms and tabletop jumps of the Valhalla trail will lead into the classic flowing singletrack of the Powerline and Starks trails. Hardcore downhill fans will want to perch high on the ridgeline where they can get a preview of the fastest lines on Snowmass bike park’s newest trail.Take the Elk Camp Gondola to the Elk Camp chairlift. Take the chair all the way to the top, then walk down under the lift adjacent to the course.

MAP IT:
StartFinish


stage 5 // sunday 10am - 2pm
Uncle Sam’s to West Government

Nobody’s going to win the weekend on this stage, but they could easily lose it, as Stage 5 begins on the tire popping scree fields of upper Sam’s Knob before diving into the old school tight switchbacks of the West Government Trail. Spectators will find the challenge of reaching this stage well worth the effort, as racers charge through the rough and raw descent of a reclaimed 1960 vintage chairlift install road. Check out the old Campground liftline between Bearclaw and Wildcat for some of the steepest pitches of the entire race.Stage 5 is best viewed on a bicycle, taking the Ditch trail up to the very pleasant climb on connector, then switching to hiking at the top terminal of the Campground chairlift.

MAP IT:
Start

Finish

stage 6 // sunday 1pm - 5pm
Banzai DH

The final stage of the weekend is also one of the hardest, which is why it has hosted high level gravity racing going back over two decades. Descending 1500 vertical feet in just 1.4 miles from the top of Coney Glade straight down the fall line toward the EWS awards ceremony in Base Village, it’s the shortest stage of the weekend, but also the stage the racers fear most. A heavy mix of high speed ridgelines, rooted catch-berms, mandatory airs (at least on the fast line), and of course the infamous “Hell’s Kitchen,” Banzai is sure to provide excitement for fans of all ages. The best spectating is done on foot, hiking up Fanny Hill work road past the water treatment plant. Then it’s a simple matter of following the sounds of hooting and hollering up to lookers left from the bottom terminal of the Coney Glade chair.


MAP IT:
START

FINISH