A Mountain Biker's Vision for a twelve-month mountain bike park

Our MTB Park logo

My wife and I spent each day of this past Memorial Day Weekend, 1996, mountain biking. We were lying in bed, going to sleep, and started talking about how much fun the weekend had been. We had covered 25 miles, all off-road, during the past three days. I had tested my new V-Brakes on the toughest downhill around (Mt Israel) and they had performed flawlessly, except for a mild squeal near the bottom of the descent.

Anyway, we were daydreaming about quitting our jobs and becoming mountain bike instructors. After all, we both have teaching experience (in computers) and several years of mountain biking experience. We calculated what we could earn and decided it would probably work, at least in a dream. Then she dropped the bomb: "But Ace, we could only work six months out of the year. The rest of the time, it would be a ski resort."

"It doesn't have to be that way!" I suddenly exclaimed. In an instant, somehow I realized that a twelve-month mountain biking park would have numerous advantages.

    Some advantages:
  • Most importantly, it would be designed strictly for mountain biking, so the courses would all be singletrack, tuned exactly to being fun for mountain bikers. Trails would be designed by superstar mountain bikers. They could include jumps, whoop-de-doos, parabolic curves in any direction, and so on. We would not be copying ski slopes--we would more be copying rollercoasters, with careful attention to playing with the bike's own momentum. This place would be a blast!
  • Because we could start at valley level, you would only have to drive to the bottom of a 4,000 or 5,000 foot mountain, instead of to the 7000th foot of a 12,000 foot mountain like you do with ski resorts. So, you can choose smaller mountains closer to population centers. This would mean people could get there in a half hour instead of four hours.
  • The park would not have to invest in two sets of rental equipment, two sets of tooling, two sets of talents.
  • No crossover seasons.
  • The park could have permanent booths by major bike and component manufacturers, as well as all kinds of instructional courses.
  • Reduce the antagonism mountain bikers have to put up with from other trail users by giving mountain bikers a large area with 'perfect' trails and no other users.
  • It could become a mecca for mountain bike racing.

I started calling manufacturers of mountain bikes. Then I called magazines for mountain bikers. Then I called one of my state's Senators and spoke to an aide. Everyone thought it was a great idea and want's to see it happen!

And it can happen, but it needs your support! Please link to this page for further details, and please contact me directly by phone, fax, email, or pony express (or on a mountain bike, of course) if you think you can directly contribute time, money, talent, land, or advice for this project.

But most importantly, please send us email to let me know that you, the mountain biking public, would support this idea. That way, I can present you as a viable group to investors, politicians, bureaucrats, pencil pushers, lawyers, equestrians, environmentalists, industrialists, and couch potatoes, because obviously, with something like this, some people will think it is a bad idea. So please show your support now! The first month this page was online, over 1000 people visited it!

A few dozen emailed me, which is thrilling: the emails are overwhelmingly enthusiastic. I found new friends and new rides--it's great! But if you want to stop war and have a cool place to ride I'm gonna need more feedback and a bigger show of support than that! Would you invest a couple million dollars on a few dozen emails? Our web server provides us with raw numbers. I need to see you as individuals. Mountain bikers are the greatest group of people in the world -- you know that -- and this thing's good for our community! So send us email! Puleez! From all over the world! THANKS

Why build it?

Statement of Purpose for the Mountain Bike Park Concept (sort of...)

Sampling of correspondences--pro and con (with answers)

A true believer like me, with some comments about football.
Has a 'wish list' of ideas.
A bunch of good suggestions.
Suggests several groups of users.
Demographics, Sponsorships, more...
Could become a meca for training.
Thinks it's not needed.
Thinks it just can't fly financially.
Doesn't think it's something he'd enjoy.
Various selected short quotes from incoming emails.

Thanks to these web sites for the support of this idea!

The Internet's mountain bike park. Full of links to all over the world.
GearHead Mountain Bike Cyberzine. Editor-in-Chief David Schloss. Hard information presented with cutting-edge style. They presented our MTB Park idea in the June [1996] issue (paperboy section)!

Thanks to MOUNTAIN BIKE for including a comment about our park plan in their October, 1996 issue! (Page 30)

Thanks to BIKE MAGAZINE for including a comment about our park plan in their October, 1996 issue! (Page 110)

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