April 15 marks both end of ski season and beginning of bike season in Avon
As the ski season comes to an end, the mountain biking season begins in Avon.
Sunday, April 15, marks both the Closing Day for Beaver Creek Resort and the Opening Day for the mountain biking trails that it faces in the West Avon Preserve.
Located between the two areas is Nottingham Park, where a party was held on Saturday, in celebration of the start of the biking season.
Local favorites were in attendance — Bonfire Brewing was serving beers; Rocky Mountain Taco was among the food vendors. Venture Sports was helping get bikes tuned up while Mountain Man Nut & Fruit Co., City Market, Fiesta Jalisco and others chipped in prizes. Lauren Merrill with Alpine Arts Center painted and auctioned a beautiful rendition of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” during the event, using bike chains and gears to enhance the swirling stellar turbulence of the sky.
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The party began with a scavenger hunt on bikes, where participants visited local businesses. Avon resident Meighen Lovelace was one of the winners.
“I met lots of different people at the businesses, they didn’t know a scavenger hunt was happening and they were so happy people were coming into their businesses,” Lovelace said. “I took selfies with all of them.”
Lovelace said she plans on visiting Ein Prosit in Benchmark Plaza after seeing it on the scavenger hunt.
“It looked like an interesting place,” she said.
Lovelace is an avid biker who said the idea of the scavenger hunt appealed to her because it took place on bikes. The event attracted several avid bikers — Lovelace’s friend Nicole Abrams also came out to Nottingham Park to celebrate the beginning of the biking season. Abrams participated in Rob Greenfield’s Good Deeds on Bike program last summer where she rode her bike across the country planting small gardens in communities, planting fruit trees, setting up compost bins and rain water harvesting units and randomly beautifying rundown places.
Abrams also participates Eagle County’s bike to work day every year, and said she wanted to come out to Saturday’s Gears ’N’ Beers event as another celebration of biking.
“I heard about it through the town of Avon,” she said. “It’s great that they do this.”
PUMP TRACK PARTY
The town of Avon brought in a modular pump track for the day, which was the highlight of the event for many in attendance. Kien Denton, who just turned 2, was starting to ride unassisted on his Strider bike over the track’s berms on Saturday while following his brother, 4-year-old Saige.
Working up to that point, Kien was getting a lot of help from his mother, Edwards resident Nikki Denton, who jogged numerous laps around the inside of the track assisting Kien.
“He was really starting to get it,” Nikki Denton said between breaths. “He just likes to follow his brother.”
Saige is already able to ride his pedal bike on trails similar to the beginner areas in the West Avon Preserve, Denton said Saturday.
“Saige just took to it without a lot of influence from us,” Denton said of her and her husband, Kyle Denton.
“It’s so nice to have events like these where they can chase each other around, I wish the pump track was always here,” Nikki Denton added.
While Nikki insists it was Saige’s natural inclination toward biking that kept Kien interested on Saturday, she also proved a theorem involving toddlers on pump tracks — the kids who get the most help from mom and dad pick it up the fastest.
Edwards resident Melanie Hulse also ran multiple laps around the track on Saturday. Her daughter, 2-year-old Mila, was not only pumping her Strider on the rollers, she was using her feet as breaks when a traffic jam occurred.
“It was definitely a workout for me as well,” Hulse said.
ELK CALVING CLOSURES
In addition to the West Avon Preserve trails, the Nob Hill trail in Edwards will also open on April 15.
However, while some trails will open on April 15, others will close. In Vail, as the mountain closes, so does the North Trail system, the Son of Middle Creek trail, and the Buffehr Creek trail, which will reopen on June 20.
The closures are to aid in protecting elk calving areas, which nearby residents say is becoming more important now than ever.
Vail resident David Ruttum lives near the North Trail and the Buffehr Creek trails, and said he saw two elk cows with eight calves on the North Trail on Wednesday, April 11, just four days before the closure is to go into effect.
“I will respect the closure rule and hope everyone else does, as well,” Ruttum said.
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It’s fitting that Eagle County is proceeding through its reopening phases of COVID-19 in an analogy to ski run difficulties — green to blue to black. Monday marks the transition from the green beginner phase to the blue intermediate phase.