With Colorado ski areas shifting into summer operations, resorts are opening trails to mountain biking — or will do so any day.
Many utilize their chairlifts for “bike hauls,” requiring the purchase of trail passes for access. Copper Mountain allows free mountain biking but charges for bike hauls. Trail access is free at Arapahoe Basin, where there is no lift-assisted biking. Most of the resorts with mountain biking operations also offer rentals, lessons and clinics.
Purgatory will host a major competitive and spectator event this weekend when the Big Mountain Enduro national race series visits July 8-9. Purgatory is the only Colorado resort hosting that tour this year.
Here’s a rundown of Colorado ski resort mountain-biking operations this summer:
Arapahoe Basin: Officials say they hope to open The Legend for mountain biking next weekend. A-Basin will offer riding from the base area at 10,780 feet to the summit at 12,456 feet, utilizing five trails. There are no beginner trails and no rentals. Some folks ride up the front side of the mountain and descend 2,000 feet down the backside on the Lenawee Trail to Peru Creek Road. Riders should be aware that the Lenawee Trail is not part of A-Basin’s summer operations, so it is not patrolled by ski area personnel. Another ride to consider: pedaling from the ski area to Loveland Pass, which is 8 miles round-trip with an altitude gain of 1,200 feet.
Beaver Creek: The Centennial Express chairlift/gondola will be running, serving more than 50 miles of mostly cross country riding. That will get you to mid-mountain at Spruce Saddle. If you’re up to it, you can pedal another 1,000 feet in elevation to the summit. A day pass costs $60.
Breckenridge: A dozen trails across Peaks 7, 8 and 9 are available. Bike hauls are available via the Breck Connect Gondola and the Colorado SuperChair. It’s possible to ride from Alpine Camp at the top of the Colorado SuperChair (elevation 11,272 feet) all the way down to Main Street Breckenridge (elev. 9,600 feet). A day pass costs $50.
Copper Mountain: Mountain biking is free for riders willing to climb the mountain by pedal power. Lift access is via the Woodward Express out of West Village, priced at $49 for the day. Copper has 20 miles of trails varying from downhill, cross country and multi-use roads. Another 22 miles of mountain-biking trails have been approved by the White River National Forest for addition to the trail network over the coming years.
Crested Butte: The roots of American mountain biking were planted in Crested Butte and Marin County, Calif., in the 1970s. The Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association, founded in 1983, is the oldest mountain-bike club in the world, and it maintains more than 450 miles of trails in a 20-mile radius from town. The ski area — Crested Butte Mountain Resort — boasts more than 30 miles of single-track trails. A single-day haul pass costs $60.
Granby Ranch: More than 40 miles of cross-country trails, single- and double-track, are available. The mountain is open for mountain biking seven days a week, with a lift operating Thursday through Sunday. The cost is $25 per day without lift access, $59 with lift access.
Keystone: The Keystone Bike Park has more than 30 trails of lift-served single-track. A single-day pass costs $70. An Enduro race for abilities ranging from first-timers to pros will be held Aug. 12-13.
Monarch: There is no mountain biking at the ski area, but last year the ski area’s owners acquired the Monarch Crest tourist area at the top of Monarch Pass, where there is a scenic tramway. There also is a trailhead for the Monarch Crest Trail, which follows a segment of the Continental Divide trail.
Snowmass: The Snowmass Bike Park has 16 trails totaling more than 25 miles with nearly 3,000 feet of elevation from the base village to the top of the Elk Camp chairlift. Lift access is via the Elk Camp Gondola and the Elk Camp chairlift. Single-day tickets cost $57.
Powderhorn: The resort operates a lift Thursdays through Sundays that serves 13 miles of downhill trails, charging $54 per day. But there’s more to the story here. Last year, Powderhorn opened a connector linking the Powderhorn Bike Park to the extensive Grand Mesa trail system and the Palisade Plunge. Recommended only for expert and advanced riders, the Palisade Plunge goes from the top of the mesa to the town of Palisade, a distance of 32 miles with a descent of 6,000 feet.
Purgatory: The Purgatory Bike Park utilizes Lift 1 to provide 1,500 feet of ascent, serving nine trails totaling 9 miles of riding. Full-day tickets are $49; half-day are $39.
Vail: Two gondolas provide uphill access to 28 mountain biking trails including the Grand Traverse, which takes riders into the Back Bowls. A day pass costs $79.
Winter Park: The Trestle Bike Park has more than 40 miles of trails with uphill transport via the gondola and two chairlifts. Single-day tickets are $74 if purchased 48 hours in advance, $89 if purchased fewer than 48 hours in advance.