A New Way to Ride in Telluride

Photo: Courtesy Telluride Ski Resort

Photo: Courtesy Telluride Ski Resort

Festival, Resort Town Set to Open New Bike Park

By Steve Graham

Scott Pittenger has a strange predicament. He helps run a ski resort, but he’s hoping for less snow.

Not at the peak of ski season, of course, but right now, when he is anxious to show off a new bike park at Telluride Ski Resort, where he is the director of mountain operations.

That mountain was still buried in more than 80 inches of snow at the end of May, delaying a scheduled June 15 opening for the new bike park. Pittenger is optimistic that he can hit a revised July 5 opening date.

“I think we’re looking pretty good,” he said. 

Once the snow melts and the park opens, Pittenger hopes to turn Telluride into a mountain bike destination, in addition to being a festival and skiing draw.

Photo: Courtesy Telluride Ski Resort

Photo: Courtesy Telluride Ski Resort

“There’s a lot of folks putting a lot of time and effort into building trails down here, and we’re hoping to be another dot on the map for people taking mountain bike trips,” he said. 

The new bike park includes 15 trails and about 17 miles of bike terrain, much of which will be serviced from the Village Express chairlift from Mountain Village. This includes new freeride or “flow” trails, updated technical and cross-country trails, with options for all ages and skill levels, as wells as clinics and camps through the Telluride Adventure Center.

Pittenger described flow trails as “the new school of trails,” with wider tread and more machine-built features that naturally control biker speed, and are less intimidating for novice mountain bikers. He said even veteran Telluride ski bums will find something new at the bike park.

“Some of these newer trails we’ve built are going into some areas that haven’t had any trails and aren’t very accessible for skiers,” he said. “You kind of feel like you’re out in the middle of nowhere.”

Pittenger added that the original trails are also a fun challenge.

“We still really like those old trails and it’s kind of like a mix of everything,” he said.

Gravity Logic designed and helped build the new park. The company, based in Whistler, British Columbia, also worked on bike parks in Winter Park and Snowmass.

A one-day mountain bike pass with full access to the entire park will cost $36 per day, including a $1 donation to the National Forest Foundation (NFF). Another option is the season pass, which costs $199, including a $25 donation to NFF. Ski season pass holders would pay only the $25 donation. 

But anyone can check out a free training loop with wood features and dirt features before buying a daily ticket or season pass. 

And even season ticket holders will want to check out the new terrain next season.

“The goal is to continuously build every year,” Pittenger said. 

Photo: Courtesy Telluride Ski Resort

Photo: Courtesy Telluride Ski Resort