Snow Summit Bike Park Moving Forward
9 Mar 2014
This is a story often times heard from bike parks across the United States. It’s the story about big hopes, big dreams, and great plans, which get held up by red tape and regulations. I had a chance to speak with Wade Reeser, Assistant General Manager and Chris Riddle, VP of Marketing at Snow Summit Bike Park recently. I had the pleasure of riding at Snow Summit last summer and naturally I was curious to find out what they are planning for this summer 2014.
Snow Summit opened-up their two chair lifts to downhill mountain bikes for the first time in over 10 years last summer. The show of support from riders from all over L.A., Orange County, San Diego, and surrounding areas was tremendous! The time I spent there last year really stood out in my mind because for a bike park that only has two and a half trails, the amount of riders present was shocking! They had up to 800 hundred riders in one day last year. I have visited countless bike parks, but this small bike park easily stood out in my mind. Not just because of the amount of beaming loyal riders, but also because of the quality of the two trails that are lapped continuously during the day. The mountain bikers at Snow Summit can stand in line for up to 20mins. The lift lines in my opinion would not be so long if Snow Summit could put in place more trails and so the story goes, they want to!
Snow Summit Bike Park worked with Gravity Logic and laid out a proposed map of new trails to be built in the park. Wade stated that Snow Summit “had a full master plan, but had to take a full step back” because of important Environmental Studies requested by the Forest Service. Every bike park that lives and breathes on Forest Service land is subject to very lengthy and costly approval processes. Wade made a very good point, “you got to go through the environmental studies, that’s time, with a waiting period, and it’s an expense.” He also noted that, “Once you go though all of that [process] you have to build the trails” and that takes time too. Chris added that Snow Summit “intends to be an active participant in growing [the bike park] into the future” he points out “that it’s just going to take a little bit longer than [they] were hoping for”. Their big hope is to include the east side of the mountain, right now they only have trails on the west side of the mountain.
So what is in store for Snow Summit Bike Park? Well, they hope to put in at least one new trail. This new trail will be a beginner trail. Which is very important to the newer riders in the community at Snow Summit and the town of Big Bear. Right now, there are really only two completed trails, Miracle Mile and West Ridge, both of which are highly popular and built more for the “advanced rider”, according to Chris. An easier trail (green run) would help to round out their network of trails. Snow Summit would like to appeal to every level of rider. With a new green trail in place, it will be easier to hold things like clinics for people learning the sport.
Other plans for Snow Summit include the possibility of a mountain bike festival. They have had a lot of interest from multiple California based bike manufactures about having an mtb festival at the resort. No firm dates as of yet.
What Chris and Wade want every Snow Summit loyalist to know is that they are “in this for the long run [and] its only going to get better and better as [they move through] the approval process through the Forest Service”. Chris and Wade want to construct a high quality network of trails for every rider who visits the bike park. However, “its just going to take a little longer than [they] were hoping for,” exclaimed Chris.
The potential that this bike park has is enormous. I can’t wait to watch Snow Summit grow into a strong leading force in the future.
Keep your eyes open for an earlier than expected opening date. Because of the warmer than usual winter, it is possible that Snow Summit will be open Easter Weekend, April 19th and 20th!!
Thank you Chirs and Wade for taking time out of your day to speak me.
Photo credits to: Big Bear Mountain Resort
Words by Natty G