| VailDaily.com

Open for Business: Peak Performance Footwear

Name of business: Peak Performance Footwear

Physical address: 137 Main Street C 103 W, Edwards, CO

Phone number: 970-835-0340

Website: www.ppfrun.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

We opened the store on May 1 and we are limiting in-store traffic.

How have you adjusted to serve your customers during these unprecedented times?

We have adjusted by offering free in-valley delivery and curbside pickup.

How can the community support you?

The community can support us by shopping in-store or online.

What’s the best source to keep up to date with your offerings?

Our Facebook page is the best way to keep up to date with Peak Performance.

What’s the response been?

We have an amazing community and have received excellent support.

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves?

We will see where the dust settles. In the meantime, we will be limiting in-store traffic, employees will be wearing masks, sanitizing frequently, offering private shopping and limiting contact. 

Summer recreation season starts May 21 on local national forests

The White River National Forest summer motorized travel season begins May 21 and ends Nov. 22.

There is no motorized vehicle use or wheeled travel allowed on National Forest System roads until May 21, unless those roads are shown as open in the Winter Motor Vehicle Use Maps. These same dates apply to bicycle use. Some higher elevation roads and motorized trails are not scheduled to open until later in May or June due to snowpack and wet road conditions. In the Eagle River Valley, call the Eagle Holy Cross Ranger District, 970-827-5715 for site-specific information, and check current conditions before heading out.

All forest visitors are responsible for knowing when and where they can drive or ride. Visitors using motorized transportation are asked to obtain and adhere to routes shown on the Summer motor vehicle use maps. The maps show which routes are open to motorized vehicles, which types of vehicles may be used, and season opening and closing dates. Paper maps are free and available at all forest offices. Motor vehicle and bicycle maps are also available online at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/whiteriver/landmanagement/?cid=stelprdb5328670

It is important to note that e-bikes are currently considered a form of motorized transportation on all national forests across the country. E-bikes may only be ridden on designated motorized routes including National Forest System roads open to all vehicles, and National Forest System trails open to all motorized vehicles. Traditional (non-e-bike) bicycles are allowed on designated trails and roads where mechanized use is permitted. Off-road and off-trail travel is prohibited. 

In mid-May, snow levels are typically at around 9,500 feet. Many gates are still buried in snow and many open gates lead to roads that are extremely wet and muddy. Travel in muddy conditions creates deep ruts that damage roads and trails. Please be patient and find alternate locations to recreate and give muddy areas time to dry out and harden.

Please remember to give wildlife a break. Some road and trail closures remain in place until late spring to protect elk calving areas and mule deer migration rest areas. These closures help protect deer and elk during periods that are critical to their survival.

Please be responsible by following these tips to ensure you protect Colorado’s wildlife and the places you love to play:

  • Stay on designated roads, trails and areas identified on the motor vehicle use maps.
  • Adhere to site-specific opening dates to protect our wildlife and other natural resources. 
  • Be respectful of other visitors.
  • Be respectful of property boundaries and know what uses are allowed if you enter non-Forest Service property.
  • Do not widen trails by going around obstacles and do not create shortcuts.
  • Avoid wet, muddy trails.
  • Cross streams only at designated fords.

For more information, go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.

TransRockies Run reaches Eagle County

The TransRockies Run is a multi-day, point-to-point trail running race spanning six days and 120 miles. Stage 1 was from Buena Vista to Railroad Bridge on Tuesday. Stage 2 on Wednesday took the runners from Vicksburg to Twin Lakes.

Stage 3 on Thursday brought the runners through Eagle County from Leadville to Nova Guides. The third stage was the longest stage of the race at over 24 miles, featuring 2,700 feet of elevation gain.

Stage 4 stays in Eagle County on Friday, taking runners from Nova Guides to Red Cliff, over 14 miles and 2,800 feet of elevation gain.

Stage 5 on Saturday sees the runners starting in Red Cliff and ending in Vail, covering over 24 miles and 4,100 feet of elevation gain.

The TransRockies Run ends Sunday, when runners will start in Vail and end in Beaver Creek, covering over 22 miles and 5,200 feet of elevation gain to close out the race.

For more information, visit www.transrockies-run.com.

Riders hit Lost Lake and further challenges

VAIL — Lost Lake isn’t lost because the Vail Recreation District Westin Athletic Club Mountain Biking Series has a race there every year.

But do racers ever find Lost Lake?

“On this course, in particular, you have to be focused because it’s so technical,” women’s pro racer Gretchen Reeves said. “If you’re just not watching the whole time, there are rocks and roots. It’s my favorite kind of riding. I dig it. But you definitely have to keep your eye on the trail.”

Bobby L’Heureux and the rest of the field at the Lost Lake Loop tackle a stiff climb up to Lost Lake and, once up there, a technical course with rocks and tree roots on Wednesday. (Kelly Getchonis | Special to the Daily)
Kelly Getchonis | Special to the Daily

And that means that racers aren’t looking at Lost Lake, south of Red Sandstone, which means it technically can still be lost. It’s sort of that tree falling in the forest and whether it makes a sound.

Yes, that’s too deep for the Tour de Wednesday.

Eco-Challenge bound

Like a lot of pro racers in the series, Reeves uses the Wednesday races to warm up for bigger things. She’s teaming up with Mike Kloser, Josiah Middaugh and Gordon Townsend, of New Zealand, for the 2019 Eco-Challenge.

Yes, folks, it’s back after a 17-year hiatus, in September in Fiji. Reeves is understandably pumped about it.

As for Wednesday’s race, Reeves felt she “popped” during the climb of to Lost Lake.

“I feel like I got a little bit lightheaded,” she said. “I went a little hard. So I just relaxed and tried to flow it. It was good. It went well.”

Reeves and Marlee Dixon are competing for the season-long title in the division. The good news is that Dixon doesn’t plan to go all Tonya Harding on Reeves.

Keely Hendricks competes in the women’s beginner category on Wednesday during the Lost Lake Loop in Vail. (Kelly Getchonis | Special to the Daily) 

“That doesn’t get you anywhere,” Dixon joked.

Wednesday’s Lost Lake Loop was pushed back two weeks because the late-season snow needed a little more time to melt.

“It’s really technical. It was pretty loose, and that made it more difficult,” Dixon said. “It’s a great course and one of my favorite because of technicality and the downhills. It was worth pushing it back.”

He’s done

Yes, the series continues with the Berry Creek Bash on Aug. 14 and Beaver Creek Blast, but Weston Sawtelle celebrated his final race of the season.

The beginner said the Camp Hale Hup was his favorite race of the year because “there’s not as much uphill. I’m kind of big for those climbs.”

Implicit is that Davos Dash was his least favorite race of the year because who really likes 3-plus miles straight uphill?

Sawtelle does have a good excuse for ending his racing season.

“I’m done. I’ve got surgery next week, my right ACL,” he said.

Lost Lake mountain bike race rescheduled; still snowy above 10,500 feet in Vail

The U.S. Forest Service says the snow line is currently at about 10,500 feet in Vail, which means many trails at 10,000 feet and above are still too muddy to enjoy.

That includes Forest Service Roads 734 and 786 in the area north of Vail near Piney Lake, where Wednesday’s Lost Lake race was set to take place. The race, which was a new addition to the Vail Recreation District’s annual summer mountain biking series in 2017, takes riders up Vail’s North Trail to the Son of Middle Creek Trail, to Lost Lake Road (Forest Service Road 786), ending at Red and White Mountain Road (Forest Service Road 734).

As of Monday, Red and White Mountain Road, a popular 4-wheel drive access area in the White River National Forest, was still closed for the season.

The Lost Lake race was scheduled to be the fifth race in the East West Hospitality Mountain Bike Race Series presented by Bloch & Chapleau Attorneys at Law and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Instead, the Camp Hale Hup will take its place on Wednesday, with the Lost Lake race rescheduled for July 24.

With the theme “muddy trails are always closed trails” in mind, Vail Rec District organizers checked out the course recently and said while a couple of people might be able to ride it without doing too much damage to the trail, to put 200 people up there would be a disaster.

The Camp Hale Course, on the other hand, which was scheduled to be the sixth race in the series, is looking much better.

The start/finish will be at the intersection of East Fork and Resolution Creek Road, half a mile east of the Nova Guides lodge at Camp Hale. The Vail Rec District has asked riders to note the fact that there are sheep currently grazing at Camp Hale.

“However there are no livestock protection dogs on-site,” the Rec District added in a release sent out Monday.

The races will begin at 4:45 p.m. with the Yeti’s Grind Youth Series for riders ages 8 to 17. The East West Hospitality Adult Series will kick off at 5:45 p.m. View a course map here

Trust Our Land: Waiting for wildlife and hiking with friends

Wildlife are one of our community’s most treasured resources. Deer, elk, and our other furry friends inspire and give us a reason to tread lightly in the backcountry.

Protecting wildlife is a responsibility that unites all of us. Trail closures are one of our community’s most important tools for giving wildlife the space they need during times of the year when they are most vulnerable. Elk and deer are in survival mode; even the slightest disturbances can have significant cumulative impacts throughout winter and spring. As our community grows, so too must our respect for wildlife and their needs.

Fortunately, awareness about the importance of trail closures has been growing in our county. This awareness, combined with efforts like Adopt A Trail’s Trail Ambassador Program, has resulted in a significant increase in trail closure adherence. Not only are local trail users increasingly willing to comply with closures, many have voiced support and volunteered their time and energy to spread the message.

To be a true friend of wildlife, give them space year-round. A rule of thumb is to measure your distance using your thumb. If you are lucky enough to encounter an animal on an open trail, extend your arm fully, close one eye, put up your thumb, and try to block the animal with it. If your thumb fully covers the animal, your distance is adequate. If you can’t cover the animal with your thumb, slowly give it more space until you can.

After a long winter, many of us are bursting with excitement to get out on our favorite trails throughout the county. Please remember that many trails around the county are still closed, so do some research before you go. Fortunately, Eagle Valley Land Trust’s Community Land Connection Series has you covered.

Join EVLT and partners all spring, summer, and fall for programs on protected land throughout the county. The series kicks off this Earth Day, April 22, with a nature break at Eagle River Preserve in Edwards with the Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement and Nurtured By Nature Forest Therapy. The hike will explore Eagle River Preserve’s natural elements and the benefits of slowing down to recharge in nature. The Eagle River Preserve is permanently conserved thanks to a partnership between Eagle County Open Space and the Eagle Valley Land Trust.

Other hikes in the series include the Horn Ranch Historical Tour and the Harrington’s Penstemon Hike in May and June, respectively.

Back by popular demand, the Community Land Connection Series will also include two restoration projects (July and August) to assist landowners in improving and restoring their conserved lands.

To RSVP for EVLT’s Community Land Connection Series hikes and restoration projects, email community@evlt.org or call EVLT at (970) 748-7654.

Jessica Foulis is the stewardship and outreach manager at the Eagle Valley Land Trust. She can be reached at jfoulis@evlt.org. EVLT is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For more information about the Eagle Valley Land Trust and how it is conserving land and benefiting the community, visit http://www.evlt.org.

East Eagle the only area of county to see new trail openings on April 15

EAGLE — The Pool & Ice Rink trail is now open, although it was still a little wet near the top as of Monday, an annual trail opening day in Eagle County.

Pool &and Ice Rink is among a group of trails in the area known as east Eagle, which was the only area of Eagle County to see new soft-surface trail openings on Monday.

Closures in the West Avon Preserve, Hardscrabble Mountain and other areas of the county that usually celebrate trail openings on April 15 have been extended indefinitely.

Even in east Eagle, which would appear to be ride-ready, closures on the Haymaker trail have been extended, as well. Elk have been spotted in the areas surrounding the Haymaker Outer Loops trails, so while that area seems ready to enjoy (and indeed you might see people hiking and biking it), trail users have been asked to stay away for the time being in deference to the county’s dwindling elk population.

Waitig on elk in Eagle

The Haymaker Outer Loops are on town of Eagle property, and the town can choose to deem the area open or closed as it sees fit.

Acting Open Space Manager Jeremy Gross said the Haymaker Outer Loops will remain closed until the elk move on.

“They’re a good quarter of a mile past Haymaker,” Gross said of the elk in the area. “We’re going to continue to observe day by day, and we’ll make a decision.”

In the east Eagle area, the Lower Boneyard trail, along with Redneck Ridge, are also open as those trails aren’t subject to seasonal closures. The Dirt Surfer trail in east Eagle is technically open, but, as it leads to the Haymaker trail, people are being asked to stay off of it or turn around and head back up once you get to Haymaker.

The upper portion of the Boneyard trail is closed, as well, so trail users are being asked to get off the trail and onto the road at the green gate about halfway up the trail.

“We really want to encourage people not to ride muddy trails,” said Charlie Brown, of the Hardscrabble Trails Coalition. “And Upper Boneyard is still a mess, it probably won’t be rideable for a week or two.”

Visit eagleoutside.com/explore/trails for up to date info on trail closures and conditions.

Mud in Avon

Like Eagle, the town of Avon also owns an area of land that contains trails that can be closed and opened at the town’s discretion outside of the normal wildlife closures, which occur between Dec. 15 and April 15.

This year, the town of Avon has decided to extend the trail closures in the West Avon Preserve due to muddy conditions.

“After evaluating the current state of the trail system and the current storm cycle, it was decided to keep the lower portions of the West Avon Preserve closed until further notice,” Planning Director Matt Pielsticker wrote in a press release. “Physical barriers and signage will remain at the closure points until the trails are opened. Signs will also be posted at the trailheads alerting trail users of the extended closure.”

The Avon closures affect the popular Lee’s Way Down trail, along with Avon Singletree Connector, PB&J, Saddle Ridge Loop, Wyse Way, Carroll’s Cutoff, BLT and Wild West Ridge.

Trails not subject to seasonal closures that are still open in the West Avon Preserve include Our Backyard, Playground Way and Beaver Creek Point.

Snow in Vail

And while some areas of the county celebrate trail openings on April 15, other areas see spring wildlife closures going into effect.

The North Trail in Vail closed on Monday, a closure expected to remain in effect until June 20.

Renewed efforts by the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Association to remind potential users of closures — an undertaking known as the trails ambassador program — has been effective in educating trail users of the closures.

Fences were put in to help enforce trail closures on the North Trail in Vail last year.

The formation of the ambassador program also included the erecting of gates in some areas as a more tangible reminder to stay away.

Elk were spotted in the area near the North Trail last spring just days before the closures went into effect.

“The trail ambassador program was pretty impressive in its ability to educate people, make contact with people, and keep stats on those contacts,” said Vail Valley Mountain Trails Association Executive Director Ernest Saeger.

Ambassadors focused on the North Trail and the Two Elk trail in Vail, and the Stone Creek trail in Eagle-Vail. They made 897 encounters with people over 176 hours of volunteer time.

“The information collected was added to a master digital logging system that will help (the U.S. Forest Service and the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance) better understand what is happening on these trails without relying on cameras alone,” wrote Michelle Wolffe, who helped manage the program last year.

Leading up to the launch of the trail ambassador program, the Forest Service used cameras to document 200 people on a closed trail over a 10 day period.

“Eagle County has a strong biking community and having a dry trail is tempting to people wanting to ride or hike,” wrote Wolffe. “What they might not understand is that the closure isn’t always about the trail condition. Deer and elk that have struggled to survive all winter, need access to specific familiar regions to refuel their depleted bodies and safely raise their new young. Closing some trails allows them a familiar safe zone to refuel and give birth.”

Gore Valley Trail through Dowd Junction now open

The Gore Valley Trail through Dowd Junction will be reopened for a new season on Monday.

Users are asked to use extreme caution during or after additional snowstorms due to snowplowing activity on Interstate 70. In addition to sweeping, cleaning and other repairs, reopening the trail requires the installation of a fabric screen near the Mud Springs Gulch wildlife underpass, which will be taking place the week of April 15. The screen hides trail users from migrating deer and elk, and allows the trail to remain open during the spring migration season.

Regarding other pathways, the recreation trail from Sunburst Drive to East Vail will be plowed and opened the week of April 22; avalanche danger may be present near Aspen Lane. Other sections of recreation trails in Vail will also reopen the week of April 22.

Following spring snowstorms, the pathways will be plowed back open after all other priorities have been serviced.  

For more information, call Gregg Barrie in the Vail Public Works Department, 970-479-2337. For ECO Trails updates, go to http://www.eaglecounty.us/Trails/News/.

Avon won’t open trails on lower West Avon Preserve until after April 15

AVON — Town officials have announced that the seasonal closure for the majority of the West Avon Preserve will extend beyond April 15 due to snowpack coverage and adverse muddy conditions.

After evaluating the current state of the trail system, and the current storm cycle, it was decided to keep the lower portions of the West Avon Preserve closed until further notice. Physical barriers and signs will remain at the closure points until the trails are opened. Signs will also be posted at the trailheads alerting trail users of the extended closure.        

Residents and guests can still enjoy the upper trails that remain open through the winter, including Our Backyard, Playground Way, and Beaver Creek Point. For more information, call Avon Planning Director Matt Pielsticker, 970-748-4413 or mpielsticker@avon.org.

Vail Valley trail stewardship group starts season with new name, executive director

It’s true that the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance could probably use a few full-time employees, but it’s going to start with just one.

Ernest Saeger

Newly-hired Executive Director Ernest Saeger hit the ground running on Wednesday, his first day on the job, discussing the full docket of trails activity the group will manage over the coming months.

Trails in open space areas in the town of Avon and the town of Eagle open next week — assuming they’re not too muddy to ride — and a robust Adopt-A-Trail program, which performs maintenance activities on many of those trails, is just one of the many groups the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance oversees.

Saeger was a longtime volunteer before becoming the executive director.

“The programs we’re managing, the grants we’re receiving, have grown exponentially over the last few years,” Saeger said. “It’s always been the goal to get to this point, but the Adopt A Trail program, for example, is just one of the programs we oversee and has grown from 30 trails to 40 trails, to 46, to 50 trails and now it has expanded to include a trail ambassador program to help with education on trail closures and how to respect wildlife.”

Soft-surface specialists

Formerly called the Vail Valley Mountain Biking Association, group president Jamie Malin said the growth of the group prompted the name change.

“On 20 percent of the trails we manage in the Adopt A Trail program, mountain bikes aren’t even allowed,” Malin said. “We wanted to communicate what we’re more about, which is soft-surface trails in general.”

Saeger said the many volunteers the group attracts probably won’t be surprised to hear about the name change.

“Trails are for everyone,” Saeger said. “Whether it’s biking or running or dog walking, a lot of people love to go out on the trails. And they’re a big economic driver, as well, for all the visitors that we have coming to the valley.”

One of the group’s main goals was something few thought was possible — new trail construction on US Forest Service land.

After the Forest Service closed the popular Whiskey Creek trail which helped connect Eagle-Vail and Minturn (cutting through sections of non-Forest Service land, making management difficult), the group sprung to action, asking what it would take to reroute a trail through Forest Service land only, allowing the valley to remain connected through an Eagle-Vail to Minturn nexus.

Forest Service officials said first someone would have to relieve them of their normal trail maintenance responsibilities, which had fallen behind due to a lack of resources.

The Adopt a Trail program was formed, and that hurdle was cleared.

Next, a $26,000 mini excavator, along with a full-time operator of that machine, would be required to get a new trail built in that area.

Funds were raised, the machine was purchased, and a new position was created to run the mini excavator.

Trail construction began last summer, and a grand opening of the new trail — known as Everkrisp — is expected to occur in the coming months.

“We hope to have it open in early July,” Saeger said. “We’re going to try to have a big party.”

Upcoming events

That party is just one of the many events Saeger will help organize through his new role, which will be as much an event planner position as a political figurehead at council meetings and other gatherings where trails are being discussed.

Volunteers work on the new Everkrisp trail between Eagle-Vail and Minturn in October. Volunteer numbers on the trail during 2018 were the highest the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance has seen in the four years the group has been tallying volunteer figures.
Hailee Rustad | Special to the Daily

Currently, Saeger is planning an annual spring kickoff party for May 7 at the Vail Brewing Company.

After that, a “FunDuro” race on June 1 as part of the Eagle Outside festival will raise money for trail work this summer and also introduce people to the discipline of mountain biking known as “Enduro,” which has grown in popularity in recent years.

The Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado will collaborate with the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance on June 29 and 30 in a final push to get the Everkrisp trail ready; anyone wanting to help work on that trail is encouraged to join that group at https://www.voc.org/project/everkrisp-trail-construction-minturn.

The Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance will also kick off its regular Wednesday night trail work sessions in May, where a revolving cast of local trail enthusiasts puts their talents to work with hand trail construction efforts — this year the main priority will be the Everkrisp trail until it’s ride ready.

“We’re hoping, through this role, I’ll be able to help everyone take on these already successful programs and push them even further,” Saeger said.