Editor’s Note: This sponsored post is courtesy of Trestle Bike Park.
For many, the common misconception of a bike park is equal parts big hucks and bro-brah attitude. These lift-serviced mountain bike locales are the dominion of the young and daring, not a place for family fun. Of course, at least when it comes to the Trestle Bike Park in Winter Park, Colorado, this could not be further from the truth.
Yes, Trestle has enough big boy lines to keep even the most accomplished freeride fanatics happy. (No wonder it plays host to the annual Colorado Freeride Festival that attracts many of the world’s best pro riders.) But with 40 miles of chairlift accessible trails, there’s literally something for everyone at this bike park that’s just 90 miles from Denver International Airport. (Check out the downloadable trail map here.)
Case in point, the recently added Green Horn-It, a novice trail that can be accessed for free (yes, free). “The idea is to help first time riders experience the fun of mountain biking, but do it in a non-intimidating environment,” explained Trestle Bike Park manager Devin Kearns. “The goal is to eventually graduate those people to the full bike park experience.”
To help people attain that goal, Trestle boasts a certified bike park school that offers progressive downhill mountain bike programs with experienced coaches who teach everything from the basics of downhill riding, to advanced classes focused on developing the skills necessary to take on Trestle’s most difficult terrain, including Banana Peel, a restricted access pro level line that requires a separate pass. (See for yourself in this POV video.)
There is also more terrain on the way. Last year, the National Forest Service approved the Trestle Phase II expansion project that will eventually add 11 miles of new trail. All told it’ll be a 5-year project that when done will provide all ability levels access to a completely separate chairlift away from the base area. It’s this commitment to both maintenance and expansion that sets Trestle apart from other bike parks in the U.S. and beyond.
“From the beginning, our upper management team viewed Trestle as a capital expansion project that needs a long-term budget for operation and maintenance,” explained Bob Holme, Winter Park’s director of mountain maintenance and the man credited with bringing Trestle to life back in the mid-2000s. “It’s a lesson we learned from [partner resort] Whistler and Gravity Logic [the preeminent trail building company in the world.] A lot of ski resorts will open a bike park and spend a ton of cash initially, but they’ll forget about the ongoing expenses and you’ll see that in how well the trails are maintained — or not maintained. At places like Whistler and Trestle maintenance is a huge part of what we do. That’s why we have a 10-person trail crew and three trail building machines that are basically working all summer long.”
Trestle’s commitment to excellence goes beyond the trails. All the chairlifts that serve the bike park (3 total) have proper roll-on racks, not old-school hooks, or any of the other substandard bike carrying options you’ll often encounter at other bike parks. Same goes for the bike rental fleet, which includes a complete array of well-maintained options from the likes of Giant, Specialized, Transition, Scott, Pivot, Intense, and Norco. And when you’re done riding there are a host of great food, drink, and lodging options right at the base area.
“From the beginning, we knew we could do something special,” continued Holme. “That meant creating a quality experience from arrival to departure. We take pride of ownership in the entire experience so that is consistent with what we think it should be.”
Of course Winter Park’s mountain bike riding expands far beyond the boundaries of the Trestle Bike Park. The Fraser River Valley boasts upwards of 600 miles of singletrack, plus lots of family friendly bike paths, and dozens of great cycling events. It all adds up to a truly must ride destination that should be on any self-respecting mountain biker’s bucket list.
“We’ve worked really hard to create a truly inclusive experience,” concluded Holme. “On any given weekend you’ll see everyone from 5-year-olds to pro level riders out ripping the park. Our goal has always been to get more people on bikes — and keep them there. And anyone who comes to Trestle will understand that.”