The Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA), Aspen Snowmass, Basalt Chamber of Commerce, Carbondale Chamber & Tourism, Visit Glenwood Springs, and Snowmass Tourism, together with the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association (RFMBA) and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), have announced the designation of the Roaring Fork Valley as an IMBA Gold-Level Ride Center™.
With more than 300 miles of high quality singletrack to explore, the Roaring Fork Valley provides an incredible breadth of experiences for both local and visiting riders seeking beauty and exhilaration. The IMBA Gold-Level evaluation criteria is comprised of key aspects that make for an amazing mountain bike destination and include: variety of trail types, overall trail mileage, quality of trail experiences, destination best practices, and local services. The Roaring Fork Valley’s system of trails scored high marks in each of these categories, contributing to the IMBA Gold-Level designation.
With the growth of mountain biking and its evolution into a broadly appealing sport, the communities of the Roaring Fork Valley have developed singletrack trails to satisfy user demands while increasing sustainability. The Roaring Fork Valley’s public and private land managers, including the White River National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management, Pitkin County’s Open Space & Trails, Snowmass Village’s Parks & Trails, Aspen’s Parks, Open Space & Trails, Glenwood Springs Parks, Trails & Open Space, and Aspen Skiing Company’s Snowmass Bike Park, have each studied, approved, and built additional mileage and made countless improvements to the Valley’s singletrack trail system in order to achieve this award-winning distinguishment. Each of these trail approvals was carefully considered in the context of their particular location.
“Ride Center designations are as much about the process as the award. IMBA’s Trail Solutions team partners with the community to guide and educate on creating and enhancing amazing places to ride mountain bikes. For the Aspen Snowmass / Roaring Fork Ride Center to grow from Bronze-Level to Gold-Level is a remarkable achievement, and a testament to the community’s dedication to mountain biking,” says Dave Wiens, IMBA Executive Director.
“Aspen and Snowmass have long been known as elite ski and snowboard destinations and now, with IMBA Gold-Level Ride Center status, they also have world-class mountain biking to match,” says Wiens. “I cut my teeth racing on the Government Trail 30 years ago and got a taste of some of the new offerings at the inaugural Aspen Fifty. I’m stoked to ride the Sky Mountain Park trails and keen to explore Hay Park and Arbaney-Kittle, backcountry Colorado classics that have defined mountain biking for so many riders.”
The Roaring Fork Valley offers incredibly convenient and connected access between the five communities. The Rio Grande Trail, for example, is a surfaced pathway that connects trail users from Glenwood Springs, through Carbondale, Basalt, all the way to Aspen, 42 miles away. As riders traverse the Rio Grande Trail, they can choose from over 300 miles of easily accessed scenic terrain, from mountainous slopes and peaks, down to the valley floor. Favorite rides near Aspen and Snowmass Village include classics like the Government and Sunnyside Trails, with newer trails at Sky Mountain Park offering a way to link the upper valley trails together into loops ranging from an hour or two, to all-day adventures. While Snowmass offers beauty and challenge in all directions, the Snowmass Bike Park’s gondola and chairlift deliver riders above 11,000’, and offer descents of over 3,000’ to arrive back at Snowmass Town Park. Exploring the middle of the valley in Basalt and Carbondale, riders can find red rock terrain and desert cactus at Red Hill, or endless aspen tree groves and massive views of the Elk Mountains range on the Hay Park Trail. Red Mountain, one of Glenwood Springs’ new favorite trail systems, includes the Grandstaff Trail where grand views of Mount Sopris meet fun flow, big vertical drops, and optional airtime.
In addition to the Gold-Level trails, the Roaring Fork Valley is home to more than 10 bikes shops that are recognized for quality service and product, and some of the best restaurants, bars, and post-ride hangouts in the state. After a post-ride drink, enjoy an evening at one of the Valley’s world class lodging options, or go for a soak in one of several natural hot springs in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. For a post ride meal, the options are endless with everything from burritos in Glenwood Springs, pizza in Carbondale, farm-to-fork freshness in Basalt, to sushi in Aspen. Close out the day with a sunset ride in Snowmass, followed by a live outdoor concert under the stars on Fanny Hill or on the lawn at the Aspen Music Festival.
For more information, please visit RFMBA.org/Ride-Center. Watch the video here.