Breck’s freeride bike park becoming reality | SummitDaily.com
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Breck’s freeride bike park becoming reality

Jane Stebbins

BRECKENRIDGE ” The International Moun-tain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is helping make Breckenridge’s Four O’Clock Freeride Woods park a reality with a $500 grant.

The international organization has awarded money to five mountain biking clubs, including the Friends of Breckenridge Trails, for the creation of freeriding, downhilling and dirt-jumping stunt parks.

The park

The Friends of Breckenridge Trails is completing the park in the woods below Grandview Condominiums on Peak 8 and between the Four O’Clock ski run and Sawmill Creek condominiums.

The grants are used to gain land manager approval, address liability concerns, construct trails and stunt features and build a freeride organization.

The park is part of Breckenridge’s goal to tout sports in the valley other than alpine skiing, including biking, hiking and Nordic skiing. It will be among the least expensive amenities the town has ever built, too, with materials estimated to cost $500 and labor being provided for free.

Freeriding is described as a style of mountain biking that celebrates the challenges and spirit of technical riding and downhilling and riding man-made obstacles in creative ways. Trails can range from as little as steep, bumpy singletrack to an extreme course filled with natural obstacles and manmade stunts.

The sport’s riders take cross country routes over varied terrain where they can work on technical aspects of the sport. Riders careen down steep hills or maneuver atop elevated paths made of logs. They huck themselves off 10-foot ” or even 30-foot ” ledges. They ride across giant teeter-totters, over narrow logs and through piles of fallen trees.

Cam Fulton and Ryan Soderberg began work on the park last October and plan to finish before during the current bike season.

While most litigious-wary municipalities in the United States shy away from freeride bike parks, Breckenridge plans to embrace the sport, much as it did with freestyle skiing and snowboarding in the 1980s. Like users of the skateboard park at the recreation center, bicyclists in the freeride bike park will ride at their own risk.

Breckenridge’s park will feature eight so-called stunts, including elevated bridges, a teeter-totter, a banked bridge, rocks embedded into the side of the mountain through which riders must pick a course, small piles of deadfall, a 5-foot-tall, A-frame-like pyramid built of logs, a “steeple” with a log across which riders can bike and a combination of stunts at the bottom of the hill.

All will be built to Whistler, British Columbia, bike park standards, which are sanctioned by IMBA and require crash zones alongside each stunt, paths riders can take if they opt out of the stunt and building and sustainability standards.

The park will feature beginning-to-intermediate stunts, with maximum height, width and steepness parameters in place.

For instance, in a Level 3 park ” the levels range from 1 to 5 ” a teeter-totter would have a maximum pivot height of 2 feet above the ground, embedded obstacles like rocks could project no more than 8 inches from the ground and elevated bridges can be no higher than 6 feet from the ground.

Also, stunts will be built so new freeriders can practice their skills while more advanced riders can challenge themselves in other areas.

An important criteria in building the park is to protect the natural resources of the forest, primarily preventing erosion, Fulton said. Most of that will be done by elevating stunts off the ground and “armoring” the steeper dirt areas with wooden boardwalks ” themselves a challenge for riders.

For information, contact Breckenridge Open Space and Trails planner Danica Rice at (970) 453-3160 or e-mail danica@townofbreckenridge.com.


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