In The Flow

If you were to visit Snyderville Basin Recreation District in Park City, Utah, you would find a bike-skills park, flow trail, pump track, and slopestyle trail, all unsupervised, wide-open, and available for your enjoyment. Just grab a bike, take your turn in line, and enjoy the ride. If you fall, get up, dust yourself off, and continue. Learn your limits. Push your limits.  And, increase your skill.

But, if you were to travel back in time, say 10 years, you would discover a different environment. One slightly more, shall I say, cautious?

“We built a bike-skills park 9 years ago—it was the first thing,” says Bob Radke, Trails Department Manager for Snyderville. “Our board


Elevated arches are wide enough to be safe, but narrow enough for the rider to pay close attention.

Photo Courtesy Of Brian Finestone

direction (at the time) was ‘Don’t spend too much time or money on it. It’s an experiment.’”

This was a compromise Radke was happy to make. “It was my dream,” he says, “because it’s what I like to do. I like the free-ride stuff.”

Radke had a hunch that if he built it, the bike-skills park would become popular and well-loved.

“I really wanted to have success with the project to show that it’s a viable component of our trail system, and something we should have,” he explains. “At first, most riders were afraid of even the smallest jump or smallest drop in the trail. So, I built everything small. We have berm turns, and it’s kind of flowy.”

The bike-skills park, which cost less than $3,000, was met with much enthusiasm by the community, and the board quickly learned it wasn’t any more dangerous than the other amenities it offered. Five years later, intermediate runs—Halle’s Trail (slopestyle), Aidan’s Trail (flow), a skills track, and a pump track that opened in the area—were in use, with even more “expert” expansion to follow.

Meanwhile, In Canada

About the same time that Radke was introducing the bike-skills park, Lorne Russell, Supervisor of Operations for Parks, Trails & Lost Lake Cross Country in Whistler, British Columbia, was pushing the envelope as well.

“Essentially, the municipality had taken the initiative, on its own, to create a pocket park that was a skills-developing area for young and intermediate mountain bikers,” Russell explains. “The elements were all hand-made from log and some cedar-dimensional material. It was pretty rudimentary.”

Well, maybe rudimentary now, but not when it was built. The park quickly became a fan favorite—used by families, bike groups, youth

One of the benefits of bike-skills parks is that they don't require high obstacles to build confidence and improve ability.  Courtesy Of Progressive Bike Ramps

One of the benefits of bike-skills parks is that they don’t require high obstacles to build confidence and improve ability.

Courtesy Of Progressive Bike Ramps

groups, and others. And—like all popular park projects—the bike park was being thoroughly enjoyed. However, a combination of heavy use and homemade elements with moving parts led to maintenance issues.

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