Keystone unveils new terrain park
KEYSTONE – On Dercum Mountain (formally known as Keystone Mountain) two mountain bike trails meet a dirt road at the top of the Peru Express lift. Right there, where the Mosquito Coast trail ends and the Let It Ride trail begins, is a curious sight – 30 or so of the wildest rails you’ve ever seen.
Keystone’s communications manager Mike Lee calls it the “rail garden”, but call it what you want – it’s an impressive display. Painted bright blue, orange, yellow and green, the rails dive and twist and do things unseen in Summit County before now.
The rails are a small part of the changes coming to Keystone’s new terrain park in Packsaddle Bowl. Aside from being moved clear across the front of the mountain, the new park will feature its own lift, burly new rails, hits for all skill levels and two halfpipes, including a new 18-foot high, 450-foot long superpipe.
According to Lee, the new park will be three times the size of the old Jackwhacker terrain park, which ran under the River Run Gondola.
“Part of it was to get more room,” Lee said. “And part of it was to get natural separation of the mountain.”
Friday afternoon, Chad Ozdemir and part of his terrain park design crew took time to show off the rails and talk about the park.
“I’ve been involved with every single piece of steel that’s been put out,” Ozdemir said as he leaned against Old Man Burrell, a 45-foot-long, two-story-tall rail designed to mimic a city staircase rail.
Not far away is a 76-footer that rises up and down several times. In between the two, a set of green rails will be linked together on the snow into a single, 150-foot monster that is being billed by Lee as the longest rail in the country.
And hiding quietly behind that is the Sex Change, a bright green, 15-foot tall creation that looks almost like a silhouette of a Pizza Hut.
“There’s just a bunch of crazy rails,” said Bob Burell, who designed and constructed Old Man Burrell. “We’re using our imagination to make anything we can.”
According to Ozdemir, the park will have a natural progression in difficulty from right to left. “We’re dedicating a huge portion of the right side to beginner and intermediate people,” he said.
He added that there will also be ample room for spectators, a feature that was sorely missed in the Jackwhacker park.
The park will also have its own lift, the two-person Packsaddle II, just to the left of the Peru Express high-speed quad.
On top of that, the mountain spent $50,000 in upgrades to the lights in Packsaddle Bowl, and the entire mountain, terrain park and all, received an improved snowmaking system.
In addition, two new snowcats have been purchased specifically for the park, as well as a state-of-the-art Zaugg superpipe cutter.
Ozdemir added that the Mountain House base area is undergoing renovations themed to the terrain park crowd.
“There’s going to be a pizza place called “Bite Me Pizza,'” Ozdemir said. Ozdemir also noted that one of the parking lots at Mountain House will be a free lot this year, and a bus will run specifically for terrain park enthusiasts so they can bypass the crowds at River Run.
Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at
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