After choosing a trail, packing water and a granola bar and heading out the door, my typical thoughts while mountain biking tend to drift to the therapeutic effects of having the wind on my face and the sun on my shoulders. To be honest, I rarely give much thought into the building, preservation, or maintenance of the trail I am enjoying (aside from picking up the occasional wrapper I find).
On July 30th, my eyes were opened.
After spending a day on the trail with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, I learned about all the work, community outreach, and environmental awareness that goes into building a healthy trail system.
IMBA & Mountain Trails Foundation
IMBA, along with Mountain Trails Foundation (Park City, Utah’s local affiliate with IMBA), hosted the “Celebration of Trails” event with Deer Valley Resort. As a guest with Outdoor Women’s Alliance at the event, I was able to spend the day on the trail with members of IMBA, hearing about their experiences and their passion for the mountain biking community.
Kristy Kibler, a member of IMBA, first heard about IMBA in 2007 when its Trail Care Crew, a traveling grassroots educational program, rolled through her community in Tampa, Florida. Since getting involved with IMBA, her perception of mountain biking has significantly changed. Similar to my experience, Kristy remarked that she “…had no idea what it took to put trails on the ground. Not only the sweat equity, but the years of planning, fundraising, and building community support. IMBA has in some way touched every mountain bike trail in the nation.”
|Perfect skies meet perfect trails at Deer Valley Resort|
With the mission to “…create, enhance, and preserve great mountain biking experiences” in mind, IMBA members have worked with governments to enhance land access and protection, developed trail mapping programs, and consulted with fish and wildlife specialists to develop habitat-friendly trails.
Mountain Trails Foundation is emulating this mission by overseeing new trail development and maintenance. Because of their dedication, the trail systems in Park City were awarded IMBA’s “Gold Ride Center” status, the organization’s highest recognition in identifying world-class mountain biking facilities.
Testing Top-notch Gear in Deer Valley Terrain
Deer Valley plays a no small part in earning Park City this recognition—many of the town’s best trails are found at the resort. Chair lift access enables exploration of the vast terrain in a single day, of which we took full advantage during the Celebration of Trails event. Tour guides led us through their favorite trails and offered helpful pointers for all levels of riders to improve their skills, making the riding experience more rewarding. The widely varied terrain included narrow trails through aspen forests, challenging rock gardens, nicely buffed berms, challenging wood features, and open areas with sweeping views of neighboring Jordanelle reservoir.
While the terrain provided exceptional mountain biking, the Deer Valley’s high-end demo bikes made the riding superior. Our group tested the Diamondback and Jamis bikes. My model was a Jamis Dakar AMT 650; sporting 27.5” wheels, the bike has the benefits of 29” wheels—better traction, smoother ride, less rolling resistance—without the drawback of a higher center of gravity.
The bike rode like a dream. Shifting between gears was precise and very smooth, making the transitions to uphill climbs surprisingly seamless. In addition, the beefy suspension with six inches of travel absorbed the hit of every obstacle and made me charge downhill like never before.
Taking a break from the riding, riders were treated to a sampling from the gourmet menu at Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Lodge. Here, we enjoyed fresh shrimp spring rolls, delicious flat bread pizzas, amazing salads, and homemade ice cream sandwiches. My favorite item was a succulent buffalo burger with bacon, gouda cheese, caramelized onions, and guacamole. The delicious lunch refueled us and we were energized and eager to load the lifts for more riding.
The event was truly a celebration of trails. The community, the riding, the food, the sweeping views of the mountains from the lift all combined to make it a perfect day. I walked away from the event feeling more in love with mountain biking; not just the experience of shredding down amazing single track and enjoying the beautiful surroundings, but appreciating the community and the work that goes into maintaining these wonderful trails.
Before taking my leave from the mountain, I asked Kristy what riders can do to support their local mountain biking community. “Become a member
Ready to get involved? Receive updates about IMBA mountain biking in your area by signing up at imba.com/trail-love.
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To find Brooke, follow her photo adventures on Instagram.
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