With more than 400 miles of singletrack surrounding town, it’s no wonder Park City is the only Gold Level IMBA Ride Center in the entire world.
Editor’s Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt at firstname.lastname@example.org. And make sure to check out Kurt’s previous columns.
My ears were hurting. Not from the 25 degree temperatures and snow falling on the ground in Park City in late September, but from the shuttle bus driver transporting us from Salt Lake City International to Park City for three days of riding.
At first I was really annoyed. All I wanted to do was look out the window in peace and enjoy the scenery, but the driver’s jaw kept bouncing off his skull like a sugar-crazed toddler on a pogo stick. Talking about Mormons. Talking about Brigham Young. Talking about the Mountain Meadows massacre. Talking about the miners who founded Park City. Blah. Blah. Blah. Then he finally said something that piqued my interest.
“Skiing was introduced in Park City so miners would have something to do in the winter other than drinking themselves to death.”
His half-hour monologue began to grow on me. Clearly the guy had done a lot of research on the topic. He basically gave us a rundown on how Park City was founded by abandoned railroad workers, how it survived being the only non-Mormon town in Utah, how it became a massive mining town and silver producer and how it flourished into a world-class skiing destination that hosted the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
Although his story ended up being quite entertaining, I wondered how much was truth and how much was bullshit. During an amazing dinner at Zoom that night my assumptions were confirmed by Rhonda Sideris, President of Park City Lodging, a fascinating woman who so graciously hosted six of us journalists and photographers all week.
“I’ve lived here since 1976, and I’ve never heard anyone claim skiing was introduced as an alternative to alcoholism.”
Twain always said, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” But here is something that’s undeniably true about Park City: you will never in your life ride more world-class singletrack in one day than in Park City. Period.
Boasting 400 miles of glorious, tree-lined singletrack – all within riding distance from Main Street – Park City has earned the illustrious title of being the only Gold Level IMBA Ride Center in the world for good reason.
Although Park City is known for its silver, when it comes to trails, gold is the only metallurgic parallel. Park City earned this accolade not just because of its extensive network of trails, but also because they all act as one cohesive, interconnected unit, with detailed maps, thorough trail signage at every fork, bike paths connecting different trail networks and free bus transportation all summer long. That’s right – Park City has public transportation that will shuttle you for free mid-way up the mountain.
Back to the snow. It’s September 25 and I’m staring at five inches of snow covering my completely frozen feet. We’re about to drop into our first run of the day amidst a squall. No, not a ski run; a mountain bike run. Fatbikes? Yeah right. I’m riding something way more fun than a fatbike – a 2013 Scott Genius 700 Premium – a 150mm travel, 26 lb. do-all wünderbike that’s far too rich for my blood. This bike is more out of my league than most attractive, fit and gainfully employed women, but I got three days to ride the hell out of it, and ride the hell out of it I did.
This wasn’t Enduro™, it was Snoduro, cautiously sliding down a mountain face loaded with rocks that are concealed by the fluffy white Utah pow pow. Before we even got a half-mile into the ride, the living legend and Park City resident Doug Dalton – aka Double D – got a flat tire. We hid from the squall in the trees while Double D fixed his flat, and it was game on once again.
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