The Angry Singlespeeder: Park City – A Silver Town With Gold Singletrack

Opinion
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 singlespeeder@consumerreview.com. 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.

Continue reading for more on Park City and full photo gallery.

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.


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  • The Dickie Machine says:

    What a lame ass puff piece. You’re just a shill for Utah, Scott, NICA and Redbull. Why don’t you try some constructive journalism. And nice job, you couldn’t even help out the guy with his flat. I guess it’s all about Numero Uno when it comes to you. Mark Twain is probably rolling over in his pit, having been referenced yet again by this simian scribe. A.S.S? Nah you’re the thingy on the other side.

  • Ric says:

    Check your facts, there are not 400 miles of trails in Park City. For a little reality perspective, you would need about 25 canyons resorts to equal 1 whistler. Pcmr has trays but not one decently built trail.
    Pc’s claim to fame is endless amounts of Xc riding. Mostly cut without much flow.
    We are working hard to change it, but PC is heaven only for riders without much skill.

  • ae says:

    You guys are right, PC sucks and you should probably stay as far away as possible. Especially you Dickie.

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Ric,

    I did check my facts. Park City claims 400 miles of trails, as highlighted by gigantic banners hung all over the city. So are you saying Park City is lying? What other source should I check? Yours?

    ASS

    • Ric says:

      They do claim 400, but they don’t have 400 (yes they are lying) and the gold level ride center has as little to do with the riding as ski magazine’s best ski resorts have to do with skiing (almost nothing). It is marketing. IMBA really screwed up with that one. PC should get an aluminum award for lot’s of trails and a few of them pretty good. Arcylon – good, Canyons – very good but very very short and not many, Bob’s Basin, good.

  • p nut says:

    PC has maybe one good trail, and it’s always crowded. Please stay away. Midmountain has sucky views. Pinecone that takes you up to the Crest overlooking the canyons and PC sucks as well. Waste of land resources if you ask me. Should rename it Park Sucky.

  • fatguyonalittle says:

    @ASS

    What does the guy in the grey jacket have on his bars? They look like bark busters…

    and to the haters… any dirt is good dirt… we all can’t be faster than you…

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    FatGuy -

    Those were Double D’s special moto style hand guards, and boy did they work. While everyone else’s hands were wet and frozen, his were warm and dry. Double D ain’t no snow-riding rookie!

    - ASS

  • Craig says:

    Hey great story. I’ve skied all over Utah many times, never rode. I’m now living in rather flat Beijing, China and really miss local mountains.

    I’ve been fortunate enough to ride in Aspen in the Fall and will never forget the colors on fun trails.

    As for the haters, dude don’t even reply.

    Keep on writing and riding!

  • Stu says:

    Kurt thanks for coming and riding with us! It was a blast to get out in the snow and shred some trails with you and the rest of the crew.
    For all the haters: if you rode as much as you spew, you might be able to hang…. There is some confusion about riding “muddy” trails. Which is not what we were doing. The other guides and I deliberated and chose very carefully based on if the tread surface was durable (yes even while wet). There are many trails that we did NOT ride because they have a higher clay content and create ruts quickly. As a guide, I have turned tours around numerous times to protect the tread surface as Ric I am sure you have turned around when you found conditions were not as anticipated. This tour was no different aside from that the clients were dressed appropriatly and were psyched to ride in any conditions. We reevaluated as conditions changed through the elevations and aspects, but our careful planning proved successful. Yes the bikes were covered with snow and mud, but this was from full days of riding not from slaying sloppy clay.
    As for the High School race: it was probably the coolest event that utilized the trail network this year! If anyone thought the trails were ruined by that many racers, go follow the course…. It is the obviously super buff single track. I mean BUFF, white packed cement single track. Not ruined. Fast as hell. Also, just think, there are another 615 kids out there that can ride your ass into the ground.

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