Snowmass Bike Park helps riders author their own adventures

A mountain biker hits a jump on the Valhalla Trail on the Snowmass bike park’s opening day June 23.
Anna Stonehouse/Snowmass Sun |

A journey through Snowmass Bike Park is like tearing through the pages of an epic novel. Seriously. Only you’re the author of the experience.

With 25 miles of diverse trails — from beginner-friendly and flowing singletrack to adrenaline-inducing downhill — the Snowmass Bike Park extends almost 3,000 vertical feet from the top of the Elk Camp Chairlift down to Snowmass Base Village.

Seasoned riders can dive right into the challenging trails, but for beginners, fret not, as there’s a chapter for you, too. The all-mountain bike terrain at Snowmass opened toward the end of June with the Upper Elk Camp chairlift.

Looking for friendly trails that allow you to soak up the scenery or steep descents littered with rocky drops to get your adrenaline pumping? The bike park offers 16 purpose-built trails for every kind of rider — lift-accessed fun on some of the world’s best terrain and opportunities to learn from the industry’s best bike pros. The park is an IMBA Gold-Level Ride Center, one of seven in the world and the only Gold-Level Ride Center in Colorado. 

Snowmass has had lift-served mountain bike trails since the late ’90s. More modern professional trail building took another decade and a half.

The author reads the path ahead at the Snowmass Bike Park.
Courtesy photo

“Valhalla was built in 2011. There were one to three coaches to start. Now we are at 68.” said Kevin Jordan, the Snowmass Bike School coordinator; he’s taught at Snowmass since 2010. “Many people don’t often think of taking a lesson. Many bikers learned to bike at a young age. However, there are many tricks and tips that coaches can guide students to a more successful outcome.”

The anticipation grows as the Elk Camp Gondola steadily ascends, carrying you and your bike. A single-day ticket costs $57, while the more adventurous might opt for the three-day ticket at $142. These tickets grant you access to the Elk Camp Gondola and Elk Camp Chairlift, which serve as your gateway to all the trails.

Before embarking on your adventure, remember that the park is not just about the thrills. It’s also a trove of knowledge and learning, as well as a working mountain bike center where riders can hone their skills through clinics and camps.

For first-timers, the “Intro to Downhill Bike Clinic” for $99 is akin to the opening chapter of your mountain biking story.

In this three-hour clinic, coaches will introduce you to the essential components of downhill biking, including stance, braking, and bike control. They will guide you through the beginner-friendly terrain, where you can learn how to handle various man-made obstacles such as jumps, wooden features, and drops. Their aim is to build you skills and confidence as high as the peaks around you.

“My hike got canceled for today. And on a whim, I decided to mountain bike. I’ve been having a fabulous day,” said Susan Alon, a grandmother from Lawrence, New York. “It went great. I learned a lot, and I think I will be able to mountain bike some blue runs on my own.”

Would she encourage other grandparents to downhill.

“Some of them,” she quipped.

For those with a taste for more, the “Intermediate Downhill Skills Clinic” at $99 is the next chapter. Certified coaches teach cornering and jumping techniques. The plot twists in the adventure follow as the trails become more dynamic, the riding more dramatic.

Families and groups may seek “Private Bike Lessons,” which start at $450. These lessons are custom-tailored for groups of one to five people, catering to interests and ability level. Like a book-club discussion, it’s a shared experience in which your group can explore the trails and learn together.

The bike park holds its community close, offering the “Bike Locals Clinic” at $66 for adults over 18. It’s the book fair of biking with a range of clinics available, from downhill to cross-country, grouped by skill level.

There are the “Kids & Teens Bike Camps” and “Three-Day Kids Mountain Bike Camps” for young adventurers. Like the children’s section in a library, these camps focus on skill-building and fostering a love for mountain biking among kids aged 8-17.

The first production mountain bike came out in 1985, way before the infinite pages of the internet. To find the table of contents for your story on everything from bike rentals, bike clinics, camps, trails and more, go to the Aspen Snowmass website at

As the day draws to a close and the sun sets behind the towering peaks, ideally, you’ll descend the mountain with a sense of accomplishment. The park is not just a collection of trails but an anthology of experiences. Exciting downhill trails to the enriching clinics — it’s where stories are born, and and you can make your epic legend.

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