Vive At Valmont
4 May 2014
Q&A: Valmont Bike Park!!
Who are you and what do you do at Valmont Bike Park?
I am Skyler Beck, Valmont City Park Manager. I oversee all programs and operations at the park including the 42-acre Bike Park, Dog Park, Disc Golf Course, and a multi-use field.
How long ago was Valmont Bike Park developed? Who or what was the driving force?
The Valmont Bike Park opened in June 2011 and is Boulder’s crowning achievement. The bicycle community in Boulder is fairly strong. 95% of Boulder’s arterial streets are bike-friendly with a bike lane or nearby bike path. In addition, there are 45,000 acres of land in and around Boulder to preserve wildlife habitat, including 146 miles of trails.
The local cycling community was the catalyst for building the park and helping to push the concept to reality. There was a long-term interest in creating a place to ride, train and race on dirt that did not require getting into your vehicle. Boulder is home to a large number of cycling athletes and professionals. This group, coupled with the bike friendly Boulder community, businesses and Parks and Recreation staff began to collaborate on building the perfect park. Immediately after initial City Council approval to build phase I of Valmont City Park, the cycling community began to organize and fundraise for phase I to be a bike park.
Community fundraising helped to generate financial support as well as great ideas and concepts for the park. The process also generated volunteer days to clean and remove debris from the site. The City primarily paid for the design, plans, bids and construction of the bike park. Each year over 100 volunteers are trained to assist with patrolling the park to help supervise activities and report trail damage.
How many visitors do you get in a weekend/season at the bike park?
Valmont Bike Park is open year round. During the peak summer season an average of 500 visitors ride the park each day. Throughout the year, Valmont Bike Park hosts clinics for riders, individual coaching sessions, and race events both large and small. An estimated 30,000 pass through Valmont Bike Park each year.
What challenges do you face trying to keep Valmont open year round?
Weather is the biggest challenge with being open year round. When it rains or snows, the bike trails are damp and can sometimes take days to dry out. The good thing about living in a place where it is sunny 300 days out of the year, is that the trails do dry out fairly quickly after a storm; allowing us to be open during all seasons. We update our Facebook page fairly regularly regarding park openings and closings. You can follow us at Valmont Bike Park on Facebook and @bikevalmont on Twitter.
What is the most popular trail at your bike park?
Our features vary throughout the year in popularity. During the fall and winter, the cross country trails get heavy usage due to cyclo-cross season. The gravity features, such as slopestyle and dirt jumps are more heavily used in the spring and summer.
Will there be any new trails added this year or will you be re-developing any existing trails?
Our plans this year are to maintain the facility as is. We added a few roll and berms to our existing trails over the past several months. Our primary concerns are to keep the trails in a safe, rideable condition for all to enjoy.
Describe the predominant “style” of riding at your park? (Natural vs. Manmade, DH/Tech/Steep vs. Flow/Features) Typically, what kind of terrain do you have? (Rocky, Dry-dusty, Tacky, Roots)…
Here is a list of the rideable elements at Valmont Bike Park:
Log Rides – 5
Elevated Bridges – 9
Large Terrain Park Features – 2
Terrain Park Fabricated Lips – 8
Flat Wall Rides – 2
Curved Wall Rides – 3
Rock Rides – 21
Rock Causeways – 3
Various Rock Armoring – 1280 sq feet
20 foot wide pedestrian/vehicular ditch bridges - 6
What is the mountain bike scene/culture like at your bike park?
The great thing about Valmont Bike Park is that there is something for everybody. The park was designed similar to a ski resort in that there is a beginner, intermediate, and advanced lines. VBP users can progress in their riding skills and challenge themselves a little more each time they come. Bikers of all ages and abilities can enjoy themselves here and also work to improve their skills. On a daily basis, you’ll find little kids on strider bikes to thrill-seekers on the gravity features all the way up to the professional athletes who compete around the world. VBP is truly a unique facility where all bikers can congregate and enjoy doing what they love.
Tell me a little bit about Boulder Colorado’s town. Are there any restaurants or bars that mtb-ers like to spend their time?
Boulder has a population of over 100,000 people, which includes 30,000 students at the University of Colorado. One of the most popular sections of Boulder is the famous Pearl Street Mall, which is home to numerous shops and restaurants. This pedestrian mall is 4 blocks with unique restaurants and specialty artisan shops. On the weekends, many street shows and acts can be found throughout the mall. The Pearl Street mall also hosts a farmer’s market every Saturday morning and Wednesday evening. In addition, the Twenty Ninth Street retail district is located in central boulder, which is a popular shopping area.
Tell us about any big events that are happening this summer at the bike park?
We are kicking off the summer with a Weekend at Valmont event showcasing different aspects of this facility. On June 6th, we will have a Bike and Watch night where bikers and the community in general, can enjoy a movie in the park when it gets too dark to ride. The next day, June 7th, we will have a Pup and Exhibit Day at the Valmont Dog Park that will feature exhibits from the Animal Control and local rescue organizations. Both of these events are free to the public! To cap off the weekend, on June 8th will be the first annual Valmont Open disc golf tournament at the Valmont Disc Golf tournament. More information will be posted on our website on these events as we iron out the details.
In addition, the Boulder Parks and Recreation partners with the University of Colorado Cycling Club to host a weekly bike series that runs from June through August. This fall, Valmont Bike Park will host a few cyclo-cross races that are always popular in this community.
What does the future hold for Valmont Bike Park?
Valmont Bike Park is a bike playground for thousands of people each year. We look forward to hosting many more events with local, regional, and national impact. On a daily basis, we enjoy having pro downhillers catch big air alongside middle-school kids on the dirt jumps and slopestyle track while families and cross-country racers alike zip along singletrack trails of varying difficulty.
In addition, the Bike Park is phase I of a larger 120-acre City Park development. A consultant has been hired to work with City staff and the public to develop a concept plan. A public meeting will be held on May 1st in the Yards Conference Room to gather ideas on what the 90 acres of undeveloped land could be. We are eager to participate in this process and further develop amenities around Valmont City Park.