Category Archives: Mountain Bike Lifestyle

Family mopuntan bike riding in Snowmass, Colorado

New Discovery Trail Improves Family Mountain Biking in Snowmass

8-year-old Max likes to ride his his one-by mountain bike with his family in Snowmass, Colorado. No, its not the fancy carbon fiber frame single front chainring with an 11-speed cassette that his father rides. Its the old school six-speed 20-inch wheel handed down from his two older brothers. Not only is the bike older than he is, it weighs over half his bodyweight.  Anyone who rides bikes in the mountains knows that Max is not set up for most rocky mountain off-road riding.  But the addition of the new Discovery Trail in Snowmass has changed Max’s and his family’s mountain bike experience.  The trial is a mellow boulevard-wide climb that does not overly tax young lungs and muscles.  A rollicking roller-coaster ride on Village Bound trail is a fun way down from the Discovery Trail climb.

A mountain bike trail for the whole family

The Discovery Trail, added mid-summer 2017, is a two mile one-way uphill mountain bike trail gently climbing the lower Western side of the Snowmass Ski Area. A shaded rest stop with views overlooking the Ziegler reservoir and beyond is located at the  top of the trail. There are two routes down from the top of Discovery. The easiest of the two is the newly revamped Village Bound trail featuring mild rolling “whoop-de-dos” and banked turns. The other way down is the new Connector trail –  an intermediate trail winding through open fields and aspen trees.

The new beginner trail complements other family friendly trails in the town of Snowmass Village. After Max and his family descended Village Bound, they continued their journey down Tom Blake, Highline and Ditchline trails, eventually ending the ride at the swimming pool in the Snowmass Recreation Center.

Ready for more

Before the Discovery trail, Max’s cycling experiences have brought on a roller coaster ride of emotions. But now, with a new ride in the valley,  Max says he’s ready for more … and also wants a new bike for his ninth birthday.

Tom Blake

Who was Tom Blake?

We all know Tom Blake the trail. . . traversing from Owl Creek road to Snowmass Village with singletrack that is buttery smooth, and gently pitched, with perfect corners, and bursting columbines. In the fall the trail becomes a golden path to enlightenment as the aspens make their seasonal transformation.

But who was Tom Blake the person?  A simple Google search had it’s challenges. First, there is another famous Tom Blake. He was an early and iconic surfer and writer who created the California surf style that was brought to the mainstream by The Beach Boys. Nope, not that Tom Blake!

Then there is the trail we all know and love. There are lots of Google results providing trail information, but nothing on the man who was also starting to seem like a myth and a legend. After a few weeks of searching and asking around, an unfortunate event led us to our answer. About a month ago, Tom’s wife, Mary Beth Blake, sadly passed. An article about her passing in the Snowmass Sun shed some light on who Tom was.

“As a schoolgirl, she met her best friend and the love of her life, Tom Blake. The high school sweethearts grew up within 8 miles of each other and after Mary Beth earned her nursing degree from Saint Mary’s College of Indiana and began her nursing career in Chicago, they were married in 1965.

Together, they moved to Snowmass in 1969 after having skied often in Colorado, including attending the grand opening at Snowmass in 1967. They brought to Snowmass Tom’s gregarious nature and Mary Beth’s public-minded spirit, which helped to shape the town as it is today.

With Mary Beth at his side, Tom became general manager of the Snowmass Resort Association at its inception, which he ran for eight years, and their combined efforts helped kick start the resort business into high gear.

Always with Mary Beth’s support, Tom went on to serve as a Pitkin County Commissioner (1980-88) and Snowmass Town Council Member (1990-94). After Tom passed away in 1994, Mary Beth kept alive their community spirit, helping to carve out the popular Snowmass hiking and biking trail bearing Tom’s name in recognition of his advocacy for trail systems.”

So there you have it. Our deepest sympathies go out to the Blake family, and our deepest gratitude go out to Tom and Mary Beth for leaving Snowmass, and the world, a better place.

build trails

Build Strength. Build Character. Build Community. Build Trails.

Building and maintaining trails is at the heart of RFMBA’s mission. We’ve seen how both communities and individuals benefit from having accessible recreation experiences. Having an extensive trail network within your community encourages wellness, enriches value, and provides a meeting point for the community. Continue reading Build Strength. Build Character. Build Community. Build Trails.