Construction kicks off at the Eagle Bike Park, with 9 jump lines taking shape
The project is expected to open to the public in Spring 2024
After just three weeks of work, the Eagle Bike Park is starting to take shape near the Haymaker trail system in Eagle.
Weather permitting, the bike park’s nine jump lines are expected to be completed in the coming week, with the official opening expected in Spring 2024.
The initial vision for the Eagle Bike Park came from the Mountain Recreation Haymaker Trailhead Master Plan, which was completed in 2020. A bike park and more trail bike amenities topped the list of requests, according to Ernest Saeger, executive director of the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance.
With a large amount of youth and bikers in Eagle, Saeger added that creating the new amenity will be a huge asset to the town — especially due to its location.
“We’re trying to relate it and connect it to the trail system and it already does that just by itself being where it is at the Haymaker Trail,” he said. “It’s such a haven for the community and the trails community — bikes specifically — there, that I think it’ll be an awesome amenity just connecting everything there together.”
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Building the park
On Tuesday, Oct. 24, VVMTA took a small group on a tour of the bike park’s progress while it’s still closed to the public.
The bike park will have two primary areas: a jump zone and a skills zone. The park was primarily designed by Avon resident Tim Halbakken, who works for IMBA Trail Solutions. Halbakken also helped design the Minturn Bike Park, Saeger said.
Currently, the construction crews from Momentum Trail Concepts — and local resident and trail builder Matt Thompson — are focused on building out the jump zone, which will contain nine jump lines of varied difficulties. The jumps feature progressive features including ladder drops, cannons, step-up boxes, hip jumps, kickers, a wall ride and more.
Passing through on Tuesday, the shape of each line was nearly finished.
“It’s kind of a work of dirt art,” said Nicky Asselin, VVMTA’s development and engagement manager.
Asselin added that the importance of this progression and variety was something learned from the Minturn Bike Park, which opened in 2020.
“Part of the feedback that we got from the Minturn Bike Park was that the locals, especially the local kids, got out there and had it mastered in a couple of days,” Asselin said, adding that the lessons were: “Make it bigger, make it better, make it changeable.”
“So say a line gets a little bit tired or a line isn’t flowing very well; then we can come out here and reorder the dirt, we can scrape it down, we can rebuild it and so there’s this constant evolution and progression that we can integrate into a facility like this” she added.
With the initial difficulty and variety, Asselin said the hope is it takes the local kids at least five days to master the park’s features.
The skills zone currently looks like a large pile of dirt. However, It will ultimately contain numerous features — including those that mimic a tricky section on the Boneyard trail uphill and the Haymaker downhill berms — for riders to practice mountain bike skills.
“You lose perspective so quickly what it’s like to be a beginner and so to be able to come here and learn all the skills — the cornering, the hopping, the turning — before you get out on the trails, that’s the goal of the skills area,” Asselin said.
The plan is for the trail crews to begin on this area once the jump lines are complete, so long that the winter weather stays away.
To build the park, the town of Eagle budgeted $200,000 in its 2023 budget and the VVMTA has been fundraising to reach the ultimate amount needed to complete the park: $350,000. The organization recently received a $30,000 matching donation to hit this mark, and it is $7,500 away from hitting the match.
VVMTA is also hoping to secure additional funds for a second phase, which would likely include landscaping and a shade structure.
In addition to bringing a new amenity to Eagle, the Eagle Bike Park also connects to VVMTA’s mission of making trail access more inclusive and equitable, Saeger said.
“Through our Soul Dirt program we go out with Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement a lot and we’ve been going out to the Minturn Bike Park with 15 to 20 participants for that program often for the past few years, he said. “And a lot of those folks and participants live down valley and this Eagle Bike Park will give them a much closer to home opportunity to come out for our Soul Dirt events, but also to come out and use on their own time.”
This, he added, will create access for down valley residents and provide an opportunity to “be introduced to the Eagle Trail system that we’re working to build up and grow right there at the Haymaker Trailhead.”
The future of the Eagle trail system includes not only the bike park but also work to re-route and better maintain existing trails, create trail hubs and system connectors decommission some trails and build new ones — all with the goal of enhancing the current system while protecting wildlife habitat and increasing stewardship. To learn more visit, VVMTA.org.
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