If you didn’t already know, Park City was named IMBA’s (International Mountain Bike Association) first, and currently only, Gold Level Ride Center in the fall of 2012. Ride Centers are IMBA’s way of recognizing locations with model, large scale, mountain bike facilities. Just like the Olympics, there are three levels; gold, silver and bronze.
Why Park City Was Chosen as a Gold Level Ride Center
Park City was chosen to be the first Gold Level Ride Center for many reasons. IMBA Regional Director, Ryan Schutz noted, “We’re awarding our highest designation to this amazing mountain bike destination. No location better exemplifies the Ride Center ideal of offering great options for any level of rider and any style of riding.” But the variety of levels of trails isn’t the only reason Park City received the Gold Level designation. The integration of the trail system also played a significant part. According to Rich Cook, IMBA’s Director of Development, “[It] all stems from a commitment to master planning. The sheer number of miles of trails is fantastic, but what’s really important is that they function as a cohesive network, with signage and trail connections that create an enormously rich mountain bike experience.”
A Mountain Bike Destination
A lot has changed since I first started mountain biking in Park City. Best known for its amazing powder days, Park City turns into a mountain bike town as soon as the snow melts. Locals have always joked, “come for winter, stay for summer.” Park City was on its path to gold long before IMBA introduced the Ride Center designation. Trails have crisscrossed the area since the mining days. The noticeable difference in my time riding here has been the improved connectivity of the trail system. The planning and development in the last 10 years has made so many route options possible it will make your head spin! Standalone zones or riding areas are now linked to other areas and resorts making Park City a virtual web of mountain biking goodness. The best part, although summers are busier than my early days in town, is that there is still plenty of trail for everyone. As more trails get developed riders tend to spread out and explore new areas. So even though Park City is bustling more in the summer, the trails are still low traffic and high fun.
New Mountain Bike Trails in Park City
Getting to the top is the easy part; staying there is the real challenge. Park City has never been a town that rests on its laurels and mountain biking is no exception. Which is why we are continuing to expand this multi-use trail network. The new WOW (Wasatch Over Wasatch) trail will connect the Heber/Midway Valley to Park City via a new, multi-use, single track, 25 mile loop. Deer Valley, Canyons Resort and Park City Mountain Resort all continue to develop their ride offerings each season with all three resorts offering lift-accessed biking. The Snyderville Basin Recreation District is also expanding the Trailside Bike Park to include a new advanced flow trail and all mountain trail for those riders looking to hone their technical skills. In Park City we are continually striving to expand our mountain bike opportunities and we hope this will keep this old silver town, firmly in gold level status.
We all associate gold with being number one and the best, but what does it mean for mountain bikers living and visiting Park City? I’ve asked myself this question a lot, and the answer is always different, it seems. As best as I can tell; it means there will always be a place for all levels and types of mountain bikers in Park City. Whether you have the budget of Donald Trump or are dirtbagging about like me, there is a perfect mountain bike trail for you here. Whether you like 5 star dining or a good cheap burrito and a cold PBR, there is a place for you to hang out after a day of riding. Whether you like steep climbs and flowing single track, dirt jumps, flow trails or rowdy downhill’s, there is a trail for you. And whether you are in your golden years, experiencing a mid-life crisis, just starting out or anywhere in between, there is a place for you here. So, bring your family, friends, teammates, whomever; and come find gold for yourself in Park City!
Scott House, Communications, Events and Social Media Director