Go With the Flow

We all know that Bald Mountain is one big playground and next summer, expect to see new, updated, state-of-the-art places to play.

New mountain bike flow trails on Baldy will make the downhill even more fun

New mountain bike flow trails on Baldy will make the downhill even more fun

Picture this: It’s a spectacular Sun Valley summer day. You load your mountain bike onto the gondola at the base of River Run and hop on the next car, enjoying the scenic ride up the hill. At the summit, you strap on your helmet, snug up your sunglasses, mount your saddle and prepare to go with the flow.

In the works on Baldy, are nine new “flow” mountain bike trails that will, in the next five to six years, provide nearly 20 miles of new buttery single track that promise to get riders into a groove unlike any they have ever experienced. The first is expected to debut early summer 2014.

 

Construction is well underway on the first flow trail on Baldy

Construction is well underway on the first flow trail on Baldy

Flow trails have become very popular in recent years, but have historically been hard to access for recreational bikers. Not anymore. According to Sun Valley’s Julian Tyo, an avid and accomplished mountain biker who is involved in the concept, design and implementation of these trails, Baldy’s new terrain developments are a game changer. Tyo explained, “flow trails optimize the mountain bike experience for riders of all ability levels,” and ours will be accessible by chairlift.

The concept sounds tantalizing — downhill trails that have an intrinsic, smooth rhythm, a “terrain-induced roller coaster experience,” according to the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). Pedaling and braking are kept to a minimum on flow trails. Instead, features including banked turns, rolling terrain, jumps and consistent and predictable surfaces are what transport the rider through wooded glades or under bluebird skies.

Sun Valley is already singletrack Nirvana and is about to get even better

Sun Valley is already singletrack Nirvana and is about to get even better

Like a skier or snowboarder, the mountain biker carves back and forth, flowing down the mountain without worry of abrupt corners, obstacles or drop offs. Riders can revel in this experience without concern to their fitness level or skill set. There are no logs to jump or rocks to navigate on the flow trails being built.

Tyo concurs that this is what people can expect on Baldy. “We envision riders of all ability levels using the new flow trails,” he explained. “The design of these trails is for riders of different ability levels to have a variety of experiences on the same trail. Our goal is to provide trails that keep all riders wanting to come back for more.”

A comparison to winter sports might be the popular Family Cross and Skier Cross courses offered on Dollar Mountain in the snow season.

On flow tracks, the terrain and gravity do the work. You have the fun.

On flow tracks, the terrain and gravity do the work. You have the fun. This one will be ready for action for summer 2014.

The first phase of construction on Baldy’s flow trails is underway, which will result in the scheduled opening of the first at the beginning of summer 2014. Phase one is a “four-mile, green rated flow trail (with ratings similar to winter ski trail ratings) on Forest Service land from the top of the mountain to Roundhouse,” Tyo said.

The new trails are user-specific and unidirectional, available only for downhill mountain bike traffic. In addition to the flow trails, two new hiking and uphill biking only trails will be part of this upgrade. The design maintains existing use patterns on the hill.

How vital is this project to enthusiasts who visit or live in the area? Very! “This project is important to the Resort to increase summer offerings on Bald Mountain consistent with the goal of year-round recreation on public lands,” Tyo enthused. “The addition of these trails completes the picture of Sun Valley and the Wood River Valley as the ultimate riding destination, with nearly 450 miles of singletrack, two pump tracks and now a contemporary lift-accessed bike park. Our goal is create a ‘ski season for the summertime’ on Bald Mountain.”

Lift accessed downhill mountain biking is a scenic experience in Sun Valley

Lift accessed downhill mountain biking is a scenic experience in Sun Valley

Next May, when the snow has melted, your skis are tucked away for the season but it isn’t quite nice enough yet to get on the trails, just remember, soon, very soon, you will be able to get your groove on.

For Tyo, “adding new downhill trails on Baldy has always been a dream.” A dream, that is about to become reality.

–RES

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

Bike paths are your road to adventure up and down the Wood River Valley

Bike paths are your road to adventure up and down the Wood River Valley

While Sun Valley is rightfully famous worldwide for its winter recreation, the Wood River Valley is also biking Nirvana. From the 32 miles of converted Rails-to-Trails that stretch from the south valley way past Ketchum, to the hundreds of miles of continuous singletrack, to endless scenic road bike rides and downhill on Baldy, everyone here, from fat tire to skinny tire enthusiasts, loves to bike.

This passion for peddling was in evidence last weekend when temperatures soared into the 80s, trees flashed fresh greenery and everyone was out enjoying spring. Up and down the bike path that hugs the tranquil Big Wood River, bicycle riders were out in force. Seen on one small stretch of rolling, paved path between the mid-Valley and Sun Valley: tandem bikes, toddler trailers, training wheels, skinny wheels, matching Lycra and Cruisers.

Your bike awaits at Pete Lane's in Sun Valley

Your bike awaits at Pete Lane's in Sun Valley

In-town mountain bike trails are quickly drying out, offering great early season riding. And mountain biking is almost an obsession around here. The area has been dubbed ‘Mountain Bike Heaven’ for good reason. To celebrate everything our mountain town has to offer, the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival rolls in for the third year from June 29 to July 7. This comprehensive event features everything from Enduro downhill courses to bike demos; from Pump Park parties to the Ketchum Criterium and, of course, the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships. There is an event for every ability and age group.

Local legend, mountain bike endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch, is also hosting an event this summer. The sixth stop of the 2013 Gold Rusch Tour will feature Rebecca’s Private Idaho, a gravel Gran Fondo style event to be held August 31 to September 1. This promises to be a lung-busting, Wild West ride covering 100 miles.

One young enthusiast shows how it's done in Ketchum's Pump Park

One young enthusiast shows how it's done in Ketchum's Pump Park

For a different perspective from behind the handlebars, both Hailey and Ketchum have free Pump Tracks open to the public. These popular amenities let riders work on biking skills (from absolute beginner to advanced) and have a great time utilizing features on the dirt track like rollers and berms to ride with or without pedaling by pumping for momentum on track contours.

Storied Bald Mountain converts from ski Mecca to biking (and hiking) Mecca in the summer months. Shaded and wooded trails wend up the mountain, often through fields of wildflowers. Needless to say, the views are spectacular. Downhill is also wildly popular. Many choose to let the lifts carry them, and their bikes, to the summit before enjoying an adrenalin-saturated ride to the base. No matter if you’re going up, or coming down, be sure to take some time at 9,150 feet to soak up the 360-degree vista. It will make your heart race, too.

Trails on Baldy often go through fields of wildflowers

Trails on Baldy often wend through fields of wildflowers

When you’re ready to get going, be sure to stop by both locations of the retailer Pete Lane’s to gear up for a great ride. The Village outpost is already fully stocked with bikes of every size and purpose, available to rent. With more than 300 bikes from which to choose, as well as helmets, clothing and hydration systems, you will be equipped and on your way to a local trail in no time. At the end of June, Pete Lane’s at the base of River Run will open, offering full suspension and downhill bikes, eradicating all excuses not to give biking Baldy a try.

The Wood River Valley is a two-wheeling kind of town. It’s not a Sun Valley summer (or spring or fall for that matter) without seeing our spectacular scenery from a bike saddle.

–RES

Idyllic doesn't begin to describe peddling around, Sun Valley style

Idyllic doesn't begin to describe peddling around, Sun Valley style

Boulder Bike Tour

Join the entire bicycling community for the annual Boulder Mountain Bike Tour on Sunday, September 16th, 2012. Mountain bikers will meet at the SNRA to ride up the Harriman Trail at 9am and road bikers will meet at Ketchum Town Square at 10am to ride up to Galena Lodge. Galena Lodge will provide a discounted lunch and specials all day as well as live music. Sag wagons will be cruising the road for safety and repairs. There will be a shuttle down for those who need it. No entry fee required. Come up and celebrate another incredible summer at Galena Lodge!  This is closing day at Galena Lodge for the summer season.

Call 208-726-4010 for more information or email erin@galenalodge.com

Sun Valley rocks, rolls and rides

 

Local rider and blogger (runjunkie.net) Hank Dart posted this picture of his Galena Grinder ride on Lockerz.com

The second annual Ride Sun Valley Mountain Bike Festival rode hard and fast into Central Idaho this weekend. Day 1, Saturday, featured the grueling Galena Grinder. One of the longest running gut-wrenchers in the country, the race has been a showcase of the area’s great mountain biking for over twenty years. A 45 mile cross-country marathon, the Galena Grinder Whit Henry Memorial was the official kick off to the festival, which runs through Sunday, July 8, culimating in the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships.

For those who couldn’t be here to join in Saturday’s fun VisitSunValley turned around this amazing video of highlights from the day, almost as good as being there:

And here’ another great video with the skinny on Sunday’s Super Duper D: Super Duper Downhill 7.1.2012 from Visit Sun Valley on Vimeo.

The big news on Saturday, according to Shannon Boffeli at MTBracenews.com, was the presence of California-based team Sho-Air at The Grinder. “Several of the Sho-Air riders chose the marathon event as part of their national championship preparation,” he wrote in his detailed review of the day’s riding and results. “The men’s race included Sho-Air teammates Brendon Davids and Eric Bostrom as well as other national-level big hitters like Jason Siegle (SDG) and Drew Edsall (Kenda/Felt).” Team Sho-Air posted some great pictures of the day on their Facebook page and USA Cycling also posted this review of the day’s race.

Team Sho-Air turned up from California to sweep the Grinder and posted this picture on Facebook

Grinder winner Pua Mata (of Team Sho-Air) broadcast her thoughts on twitter:
@moniquepua Just finished the Galena Grinder and was able to take the win! It was definitely a grinder…but such gorgeous country and great race! 

While Sun Valley locals haven’t been the quickest to jump on the social media bandwagon, there are some forward-thinking ladies and gentleman who are broadcasting the fun to the twitter-sphere and facebook-verse and the Festival picked up a fair amount of activity this weekend. Sun Valley’s unofficial social media maven and current Master’s XC mountain biking world champion, Rebecca Rusch (@TheQueenOfPain), kept her followers up with the details on The Grinder and Sunday’s Super Duper D on Baldy:

“Galena Grinder XC by rebarusch at Garmin Connect – Details:http://bit.ly/MmeLJ1  Our local XC race in Idaho. Hard and fun.”
“EPIC weekend planned with Galena Grinder and Super Duper D. Full suspension, Reverb and fat tires. FATE has the weekend off”
“Sun Valley Super Duper D by rebarusch at Garmin Connect – Details: http://bit.ly/MmeANV  Tall socks, Reverb seat post and baggies! So FUN”
“Smooth is fast! That’s my mantra for today’s super duper D in sun valley.”

We also got a glimpse of the Queen on her way up the mountain:

Pro mountain bike racer Yuri Hauswald tweeted "Hanging w/ @thequeenofpain on the Christmas Lift, on our way to ‪#sunvalley‬ Super Duper D." pic.twitter.com/9SZIDNyq

Facebook was busy after the day’s energies were expended, with competitors such as Matt McCourtney, Drew Edsall and Michael Shaw taking the site to dish on their day. See their posts and other tweets on this Storify I whipped up.

The Festival is well underway and there’s a slew of events and activities to keep competitors and spectators busy this week. The Sun Family will be diving in too. This evening we’ll check out the Idaho Pump Track State Championships at the Ketchum Bike Park. Mr. Sun might try his brand-spanking-second-hand mountain bike out at some Local Stoker Rides (starting tomorrow), and we’ll all head up for the Fat Tire Criterium Tuesday evening. I’m pondering signing Little Sun up for the Kids Race on July 6 (that is if I can teach him how to ride a bike with pedals by then). But the Sun Valley Shakedown on July 7 sounds like more my single-speed (and keeps me on two feet rather than two wheels).

For a complete rundown on everything happening visit Ride Sun Valley.

Happy trails!

Mrs. Sun

Bald Mountain Perimeter Trails open for biking

Bald Mountain Perimeter Trails open for biking

June 30

Trails include Warm Springs, Cold Springs and Broadway Trail.

Bald Mountain Traverse trail coming back to River Run!

2012 USA Cycling Cross Country Mountain Bike National Championships July 5-8

For the second year at its very own venue, the 2012 USA Cycling Cross Country Mountain Bike National Championships will be held in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Event dates are: July 5-8, 2012.
The event is organized by Breakaway Promotions and will include the Olympic-style cross country, short- track cross country and Super-D competitions.

In years past, the Cross Country Mountain Bike Championships, USA Cycling Juniors, U23 and Elite & Paralympic Road National Championships have been held in the same city, but beginning this year, 2011, USA Cycling and its members made the decision to split venues, allowing both gravity and cross-country athletes the best possible race courses, which can’t always happen in the same area. The venue for USA Cycling Juniors, U23 and Elite & Paralympic Road National Championships will be in Augusta, Georgia this summer.

The Monument Plant is out on Bald Mountain.

“The Monument Plant is a tall, narrow, cone-shaped plant with flowers clustered around the upper part of its stem. The plants live for many years, blooms only once and then dies. Flowering is unpredictable, but seems related to moisture,” according to Idaho Mountain Wildflowers – Earle. Some think it is on a seven year cycle.  This year, the monument plant seems to be everywhere. We are seeing it in the middle of the upper runs, such as Holiday, Exhibition and Olympic.  If you look out the window as you are riding up the Gondola, you can see this plant as you ride over Exhibition. Because of the cold temperatures in the spring, The mountain is still green and the mountain flowers are in bloom. This is a perfect time to go for a Gondola ride, lunch at the Roundhouse and a nature hike!

USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships are in Sun Valley!

The USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships racing continues through Sunday. Come down to River Run to watch the races, have a beer and check out the Expo! Racing starts Saturday at 7:30 a.m. and Sunday at 8:00 a.m. 

 

2011 USA Cycling Cross Country Mountain Bike National Championships July 14-17

In it’s first two years at its very own venue, the 2011 and 2012 USA Cycling Cross Country Mountain Bike National Championships will be held in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Event dates are: July 14-17, 2011 and July 12-15, 2012.
The event is organized by Breakaway Promotions and will include the Olympic-style cross country, short- track cross country and Super-D competitions.

In years past, the Cross Country Mountain Bike Championships, USA Cycling Juniors, U23 and Elite & Paralympic Road National Championships have been held in the same city, but beginning this year, 2011, USA Cycling and its members made the decision to split venues, allowing both gravity and cross-country athletes the best possible race courses, which can’t always happen in the same area. The venue for USA Cycling Juniors, U23 and Elite & Paralympic Road National Championships will be in Augusta, Georgia this summer and next.

Short Track Mountain Bike Race!

mountainbikeracer

Sun Valley Resort and Road & Dirt present

Short Track Mountain Bike Racing

When: Wednesdays, August 12th & 19th

      • Men’s B Race starts at 5:30 p.m.
      • Women’s Race starts at approximately 6:15 p.m.
      • Two Kids’ Races (FREE!)
      • Men’s Race starts at approximately 7:45 p.m.

Where: Base of Dollar Mountain, complete view of the races from the lawn at Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge!

What:

      • Short Track XC mountain bike racing for everyone from the kids to the Pros*.
      • Adult races 35 minutes plus a lap.
      • Entry fee for the adult race is $25 and includes one raffle ticket.
      • There will be a raffle each week, with tons of great prizes to benefit the Wood River Bike Coalition.

Sun Valley Resort will be offering items from the grill and cold beverages on the deck, so come out and join the fun!

Questions:  Call Greg @ (208) 720-3442 or email gbearce@sunvalley.com

*USA Cycling permit pending.