Local trail leaders expand winter biking options to meet anticipated demand
Recpath use up 50% this year amid pandemic
While much talk early this winter has centered on a backcountry ski boom, Summit County trails officials are doing what they can to help meet demand for other outdoor winter recreation options.
Anne Lowe, the open space and trails manager for the town of Breckenridge, said the town and county hope to groom more backcountry trails this winter to help provide safer backcountry recreation options outside of avalanche terrain.
Though these new groomed trails would be available to varying types of recreationists, Lowe said the grooming of trails like Hard Luck, Fall Classic and Slalom would be a benefit to fat-tire bikers or those looking to try winter biking for the first time.
Lowe said Friday that the additional grooming of those trails in Breckenridge are in the final approval process of getting a conditional-use permit with the county.
“We hope to have a really terrific network of groomed trails because the last few winters we’ve seen fat biking increase, and also snowshoeing and cross-country skiing,” Lowe said. “And I think our big concern — like everyone has around here — the mantra in Colorado during the pandemic is to get outside. But we want to make sure people get outside safely with places to go. We don’t want them out in the backcountry without the skills they need. So if we provide access to trails near town, with no avalanche danger, we are happy to provide that.”
The addition of those groomed trails would add to a growing network of groomed or packed trails in Breckenridge for an expanding winter biking community. In recent years, Lowe said groomed trails have included a portion of the Wellington Trail, Upper and Middle Flume and Tom’s Baby. Bikers also have been able to ride ideal conditions at the B&B, Turks and Sallie Barber trails.
Brian Lorch, the county’s director of open space and trails, said with the exception of some trails by Green Mountain Reservoir that are closed for deer and elk habitat, the more than 60 miles of county-managed trails are open to fat-tire bike riding in the winter. He pointed to the trails at the county landfill site in Dillon and the U.S. Forest Service’s Golden Horseshoe area near Breckenridge as other spots for fat-tire biking. He also said the county is working with the towns of Frisco and Breckenridge to groom the paved recpath between the two towns for a beginner-level fat biking experience.
“Both Nordic centers have a significant amount of fat-bike terrain groomed at either end, so it can be a beginner thing in between, and more advanced biking on either end,” Lorch said.
During the summer and fall, Lorch said the county’s trail counters calculated a 50% increase in the amount of users on the county recpath.
The U.S. Forest Service’s acting Dillon Deputy Ranger Sam Massman said most Forest Service trails are not open to biking in the winter.
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