Category Archives: Trail Information

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.

New Prince Creek Trails Need You!

Great news!  Trail building has begun on the new trails below Monte Carlo.  Thanks to the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Board,  we are now building a single track trail up and down along the new corridor.  Now its time for the Roaring Fork mountain bike community who love the Prince Creek trail system to come on out and dig some dirt!

Throughout the summer, every Tuesday evening RFOV will host trail building sessions.  Meet up anytime after 4 pm at the end of the Prince Creek Road pavement to join in the fun.  Don’t forget to bring a friend.  You can also sign up HERE to get on board.

After the dig, stick around for free dinner and great refreshments.

NOTE: These trail build evenings qualify you for the free bike drawing

Ute City Cycles is once again offering up an amazing gift to a lucky volunteer this year! This year’s prize is a CIMA RT-5, valued at $4,000! The bike will be in your size, and if you really need a road bike instead… they’ll help you out with a fast bike of equal value. The more you volunteer on RFOV & RFMBA trail maintenance and build sessions, the more chances you have to win the bike in September. Be sure to sign the waiver for each volunteer event you attend!

Congrats again to Mike Fowler our 2015 winner and Grant Henley our 2016 winner!

Introducing Grandstaff Trail overlooking Glenwood Springs

The Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association (RFMBA), with funding assistance from the City of Glenwood Springs, Alpine Bank, Garfield County’s LiveWell Program, Two Rivers Trails, Catena Foundation, and of course all of our supporting members and sponsors is spearheading the construction of 2.4 miles of new dirt trail that will make the trek a little less of a challenge than using the existing fall-line trails.

Continue reading Introducing Grandstaff Trail overlooking Glenwood Springs

Buckhorn Traverse Extension Trail to Open Late July

The highly anticipated Buckhorn Traverse Extension which will link the Lower Buckhorn Trail and Buckhorn Traverse with the Glassier Trail is slated for completion in late July 2017.   This 2.8 mile segment, added to two miles of the paved Rio Grande trail allows for an easily accessable 8-mile loop in the Mid-Valley.

Volunteers working on the new Buckhorn Traverse Extension on a recent spring evening.

The project is a team effort among the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, Pitkin County Open Space and Trails and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

“This  ‘jug handle’ off of the Rio Grande Trail will create a loop that’s perfect for after work on weekdays or as something to be incorporated into longer rides,”  said Mike Pritchard, executive director of the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association.

Currently, mountain bikers can link Glassier and Lower Buckhorn by navigating between the two trails on old ranch roads that include steep and loose climbs and occasional route finding challenges.

The new trail, which is already under construction, offers more rider friendly flow lines and mellower climbs.  Approximately half of the trail with be carved out by volunteers.  The other half will be machine built.

Mark your calendars!

Anyone who wants to be involved in building this great community asset can join up with the Aloha Mt. Cyclery trail crew  Sunday, June 11th for Buckhorn Traverse Extension trail work.  Building trails is a great way to have fun, meet other mid-valley cyclists and enjoy the great outdoors MORE INFO:

And don’t forget to stay tuned to RFMBA for more trail building action as we will be posting info on our Thursday evening ride-dig-ride sessions in June and July.

sunnyside trail

Five of the Best ‘Earned’ Descents in the Roaring Fork Valley

If you asked five mountain bikers “What makes mountain biking great?” you might get five very different answers.  One thing we can all agree on, everyone loves a fun descent! Whether it’s the wind in your helmet, the bugs in your teeth, the swooping turns, big jumps, sketchy technical sections, or mind-blowing vistas, it’s the rush you get when going down… that makes the climb up so worth all the effort.

We’ve compiled a short (and certainly debatable) list of some of the best descents in the Roaring Fork Valley.  All of these descents have one thing in common; none of them are lift-serviced. You’ll definitely have to earn these turns!  Every trail has a unique history, so in addition to some basic trail beta, we’ll include some background on the people that made the trail possible.  We welcome your feedback and comments!

Boy Scout Trail – Glenwood Springs – If you like sweeping views and fast technical descents, the Scout Trail should definitely be on your list.  Usually ridden by starting with Forest Hollow, Boy Scout Trail has fast flowy sections interspersed with some steep rocky sections, including a few harrowing switchbacks and some true exposure that will make sure you are always paying attention.  This ride can be enjoyed as both a shuttle from the top, or a big loop from town.

Of all the descents listed here, the Boy Scout Trail may be one of the oldest and may have the most unique history.  One story dates back hundreds of year, with the Ute Indians route to the sacred Yampah Springs.  Early Glenwood settlers led tourists up the trail to view the city below, and there was even a stone observatory that burned to the ground in the early 1900s.  At some point some decades ago, a local boy scout troop further improved the trail.  We’re not sure when two wheeled riders first enjoyed this classic.  Are you a long time local with some stories to tell on this one?

Father of Ginormous – Carbondale – This downhill specific trail is one of three sizeable descents at Prince Creek in addition to Skull Bucket and Buckhorn. After a long climb up Road 8320, you reach a saddle where you are rewarded with views across Crystal River, Prince Creek, and Roaring Fork Valleys. Definitely read the MTB Project listing as the trail can be a little hard to find on your first time out. Once you find it, just point the bike down because it’s a fast and flowy smilefest to the bottom. Huge roll overs, giant wall rides, and blazing banked turns are aplenty. There are even a few steep drops to keep things interesting.

The earliest roots (routes?) of mountain biking at Prince Creek stem from social trails that evolved over many years, some of them were first cow trails, some were moto tracks, and some were cut into the dirt with skill and purpose in mind. During the BLM’s Resource Management Plan which was completed in 2015, RFMBA helped play a critical role in this area’s trails becoming adopted as part of the official travel route system.  The biggest win came when this area, known as the Crown, was designated as a Special Recreation Management Area with an emphasis on mountain bike experiences.   The official trail status ensures that this type of trail experience can be preserved by the BLM, and even improved in the future.  Please note, this trail is closed seasonally to bikes, Dec. 1st thru April  15th.

Seven Star – Snowmass Village – This is the newest trail on the list, completed in the fall of 2016. Although it’s north of Brush Creek Rd., it’s actually part of the Sky Mountain Park trail system and connects to and essentially extends the classic Rim Trail in Snowmass. Nothing steep or technical here, just good ole’ (new?) fashioned flowy downhill fun with a few small hits and berms to add to the fun. We’re fortunate to have this trail because of the combined efforts and funding of Pitkin County Open Space & Trails, Town of Snowmass Village, and RFMBA. The trail was built by Tony Boone Trails with ongoing management provided by PCOST.  Only have time for a quick ride?  Start at the Snowmass Rec. Center (aka Rodeo Lot, aka Town Park), ride up the North Rim Trail, and zip down Seven Star back to where you started.  This trail is closed seasonally for wildlife, Dec. 1st thru May  15th.

Deadline – Snowmass – Like Father of Ginormous, Deadline trail is downhill only and for very good reason. Truly a boost master’s delight this trail is ripe with berms, big hits, and table tops, all of which are easily rolled over at slower speeds.  PCOST and TOSV funded this trail project that was built by Progressive Trail Design in 2014.   Find this trail at the top of the Viewline Trail or as part of a larger Skyline Ridge Trail tour.   Looking for a double hitter from this list?   Ride the North Rim / Seven Star loop first before finishing up with a Viewline / Deadline loop.   You’ll be back at Town Park (aka Rodeo Lot) before too long, fully satiated.  This trail is closed seasonally for wildlife, Dec. 1st thru May  15th.

Sunnyside – Aspen – This classic Hunter Creek descent is the longest on the list at 5.5 miles, and traces its origins to not only mountain biking’s earliest days in Aspen, some 30+ years ago… but likely many decades prior, and at least for some segments, possibly even back to the historic mining era of the late 1880’s.  Arguably the most technical descent on the list (at key moments & sections rather than throughout), this doesn’t have any of the features of some of the more modern descents (jumps, berms). However it makes up for that with some steep ‘shark fin’ rocky sections, and mind blowing views of all four local ski mountains and the majestic Elk Mountains that tower behind them. This is a great trail to hit in the fall as it passes through dense aspen groves that are bursting with color. The trail has been maintained over time by the Aspen Cycling Club with lots of help from the Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers. RFMBA worked with the WRNF during 2016 to reroute a short section of doubletrack to make the trail 100% singletrack.  This small project was approved as part of the Smuggler Mountain – Hunter Creek Collaborative Plan, and opens up opportunities for bigger projects like the Hummingbird Extension (a great climb that accesses Sunnyside) that will be built during 2017.  Keep in mind that parts of the Hunter Creek Valley will be wet and snow covered until early June.