Used to be that the mention of flow trails in Sun Valley, Idaho might have put people to thinking of spring run-off on the local singletrack. Nowadays, it brings to mind berms, drops, rollers, and skinnys. How did this change come about? Through the dedication and hard work of a group of land managers, riders, designers, and builders.
Renee Catherine, Trail Coordinator for the Ketchum Ranger District of the Sawtooth National Forest, and John Kurtz, Recreation Planner for the BLM Shoshone Field Office are two of the driving forces behind the development of free-riding in the valley. Catherine and Kurtz have spearheaded efforts to bring riders together to discuss what they are interested in seeing developed, and they have sought out the help of experts to better understand new trends in bicycling. This collaborative and front-loaded approach to recreation planning has made a huge impact on how trails are developed here.
Most recently, the BLM opened Punchline Trail in Croy Canyon - the second of two flow trails the BLM has built near Sun Valley in the last two years. In the nearby national forest, Catherine and her crew are putting the finishing touches on a new flow trail called Forbidden Fruit (it's in Eve Gulch). These trails signal that new riding experiences are available here.
The time frame for getting the Forbidden Fruit Trail from concept to finished trail has been brief. In the spring of 2010 this trail was just an idea. 15 months later it is built and just about to be opened to the public.
Local rider and trail advocate Greg Martin, representing the Blaine County Recreation District and the Wood River Bicycle Coalition, had the idea that Eve's Gulch would be a good place for a new flow trail. Whistler, B.C. trail designer Duncan MacKenzie was brought into the mix early in the design process. According to Catherine, MacKenzie was just the shot of adrenaline that the project required. “Duncan was the inspiration we needed whenever it looked like we were about to hit a wall – he was forever giving us a thumbs-up signal,” said Catherine.
Cooperation between agencies was again evident when the construction was about to start on Forbidden Fruit. The BLM was just wrapping up construction of Punchline. One of the machine operators on the project was the BLM's Tom McCown (Tom is one of the best Sweco operators around). Kurtz helped arrange to make Tom's services available to the Forbidden Fruit project. The project still needed a skilled mini-excavator operator. Catherine knew of an expert trail builder/machine operator on the Payette National Forest – she was able to get John Groom to come to her district to work on the trail.
Randy Spangler (IMBA Trail Solutions Trail Specialist and free-rider extraordinaire) was brought in to do the final design and help lead the construction team. Ketchum Ranger District Trail Crew boss Blake Everson led the hand work on Forbidden Fruit. He was kept busy overseeing his own crew, two Northwest Youth Corp teams, and a slew of volunteers on digging, raking, packing, bridge building, and log-ride construction.
Two National Forests, the BLM, the Northwest Youth Corp, the Wood River Bicycle Coalition, IMBA Trail Solutions, and various other groups, agencies, and individuals contributed to make these new and exciting developments happen in Sun Valley.
by Lamby - IMBA
All files on the above map are downloadable as .gpx file format. They are free to download and use on your device. Please keep in mind, trails change so confirm the information with the local official agencies before heading out on the trail.
Professional bike racer and one of the world's top endurance athletes Rebecca Rusch (known as "The Queen of Pain") is celebrating her hometown with the 4th Annual Rebecca's Private Idaho, an event of her own invention to take place over Labor Day Weekend on September 2nd and 3rd, 2017.
It's a bike event that borrows from the gran fondo trend, but with Idaho style. It's a long-haul gravel grinder meant to showcase the beautiful scenery and quad-cracking climbs of her chosen home turf. She's putting this event together to brag a little, to show how good we have it here and to demonstrate a little western hospitality. She's laid out two route offerings for Rebecca's Private Idaho: The Big Potato and The Small Fry. One goes the distance, deep into the Pioneer Mountains; the other takes in Wild Horse Creek Canyon a bit closer to town, 94 and 56 miles respectively. Both leave Ketchum together and both take you over the hotly contested Trail Creek Summit segment. Those of you showing up on your skinniest-tired rig with a gear range that can be counted on two hands may be disappointed. Like the glaciers that formed these valleys over 10,000 years ago, you too will glide between the mountains on a layer of grit and rock, on a road bed that might just chew such a bike into a few hundred pieces. The only smooth pavement you'll see is on the first and last couple of miles inside the city limits of Ketchum.
The inaugural Rebecca's Private Idaho, proved to be a spectacular event with few hundred of Rebecca's friends and bike industry leaders. 2016 will be opened up to all cyclist interested in seeing the spectacular beauty unbeatable trails that Ketchum-Sun Valley has to offer. Registration will open in January 2016! Grab your bike, get in some training time and come join us over Labor Day Weekend in the mountains surrounding Sun Valley.
It's a for a good cause...or three if you're counting. Rebecca's Private Idaho benefits three great organizations that mean a lot to Rebecca: The Wood River Bike Coalition, our local voice for trail-building and bike policy; PeopleForBikes.org, the nation's top-shelf all-around bike advocacy group; and World Bicycle Relief, an organization bringing practical bikes to villages in Africa in order to provide independence and improve quality of life.
In conjunction with Wagon Days, the post race celebration will be unbeatable amount of fun! Roll across the finish line and get ready to party! Back in Ketchum, we'll be ready to hand over some great food, a cold beer and treat you to some heel stompin' music. So, if you're up to the challenge and want to experience all the fun that was had last year, we hope you'll join us to participate, volunteer or just take part in the festivities.
For event specifics, please visit here.