CycleFest deemed a success |

CycleFest deemed a success

COPPER MOUNTAIN – Some Copper Mountain homeowners may have found last weekend’s CycleFest a little noisy, but many people were so pleased with the first-year event that they’re ready for another one.

Dan Murphy, president of event sponsor Race Production Management (RPM), said before the event that he’d be happy if the motorcycle gathering drew 3,000 to 4,000 people in its first year. RPM was targeting motorcycle enthusiasts primarily from the Summit County area and the Front Range.

Needless to say, Murphy was more than pleased when about 10,000 people showed up last weekend – and they came from across the nation.

“I had people that booked in from all over the country,” said Cathi Kneuper, who owns Copper Vacations.

The extra guests at the resort were a welcome sight for lodging, retail and restaurant businesses.

Kneuper sold more than twice the rooms she typically would at this time of year. Intrawest’s Copper Mountain Lodging recorded 80 percent occupancy for the weekend – significantly more than the 22 percent they usually average for the weekend, said C.J. Julin, executive director for the Village at Copper Association.

“It was a great crowd,” said Steve Nelson, owner of the Fall Line, a store which sells telemark equipment, outdoor gear and clothing. “I was actually surprised. The restaurants, I know, did well. And I, for one, was way up from (this weekend last year).”

There are some motorcycle riders who wear black leather and sport numerous tattoos and a rebellious attitude, but the CycleFest crowd proved that many bike enthusiasts are mature professionals – with disposable income.

“Overall, I think the group was a very mature, well-behaved group,” said homeowner Tom Malmgren.

“I think having people who have enough annual income to be able to afford an expensive hobby is certainly an economic boost to this community,” Kneuper said.

A number of them even brought their families. The Danny Walker School, which ran the event’s kid’s dirt bike demo area, taught the most kids on a per day basis than it has at any of its other events, Murphy said.

Even some of the homeowners who were initially concerned with the prospect of a motorcycle event at their normally peaceful resort felt CycleFest went smoothly.

“I think the majority of people around Copper Mountain were pleasantly surprised and pleased with as well as the event went,” Malmgren said.

Though noise was sometimes an issue for homeowners like Malmgren, who lives near the Alpine lot where the races were held, he said he can handle the noise once a year and would be OK with it becoming an annual event.

Other homeowners may not be as agreeable, but they can always choose to leave the resort the weekend of the event, Kneuper said, since Cyclefest was a boost to the town’s economy.

Event promoters and resort officials are scheduled to meet in the next few weeks to begin planning for a second annual CycleFest – which Murphy expects will be even more successful than the first.

Promoters said they hope to return to Copper next year, but also are exploring alternate sites – Keystone, Breckenridge and Steamboat – in case of space limitations.

Resort officials seem confident Copper can handle CycleFest again, even if it’s bigger. The event did experience some logistical issues common with first-year events, Julin said.

“We’re going to continue working with the promoters, vendors, our retail people … and the community to make it a better overall event,” said Jim Spenst, vice-president of operations at Copper.

“I think it was innovative,” Kneuper said. “I really hope this is an annual, ongoing event.”

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