Web site displays hiking, mountain- and road-biking, and paddling routes in the mountainsBy Veronica WhitneyDaily Staff WriterWhen she goes hiking in Eagle County, Britta Zack searches for water. “I’m from the East Coast so I miss the water,” said Zack, 23, of Avon. “I would like to know more trails close to rivers and lakes. Most of the trails I know are usually word of mouth.”
Locals and visitors to the Vail Valley now have a new tool to help them find the right spot for their outdoor activities. It’s a just-launched online trail mapping guide to Eagle County. Ecosports.com is a free service with information on more than 100 trails on earth, rock, ice and water.”We’ve heard from local bike shops and concierges at hotels that they didn’t have a way to help customers when they asked about trails,” said Eagle County Commissioner Arn Menconi, an avid outdoorsman and one of the forces behind the Web site, which is a partnership between Eagle County and different sports marketing groups in the valley.The site includes displays than 35 hiking trails, 25 mountain- and road-biking trails, 10 rock and ice climbing routes, six to eight paddling runs and 10 trail running paths. Users of the site can also upload pcitures, videos footage and information about their favorite hideaways in the Vail Valley. “I just started road biking, so the Web site will be very useful,” said Bruce Hlavacek, 60, of Cordillera.More than 100 trails could be added this summer to the Web site, which will grow as users increase, said Jack Ingstad, Eagle County administrator.The site combines online active maps with descriptions of trails for beginning, intermediate and advanced athletes, as well as detailed information such as location, length of trails and elevation gain. There’s also a section dedicated to camping with tips for beginners and intermediate campers.”The ecosports Web site grew out of my own frustration at not being able to find new trails for the sports I liked and wanting everyone to know about the level of athlete who lives and trains in the Vail Valley,” Menconi said. “It’s a great project that shows what we can do with technology and using GIS.”
GIS – which stands for Geographic Information System – is a computer system that matches and stores data with specific locations. Those intending view the Web site will need Macromedia Flash technology, which can be downloaded for free from the Internet.”We also wanted people to know that we are the high adventure sports Mecca of the world and that we have world-class athletes,” Menconi said.A number of local athletes who compete internationally are also profiled on the ecosports Web site, including world mountain bike champion and adventure racer Mike Kloser, professional kayaker Brad Ludden, adventure racer Dan Weiland and trail runner Anita Ortiz.”We have some of the best trails to ride and hike, rivers and streams to paddle and fish, mountains to climb and ski,” said Kloser. “We have incredible horseback riding, motorcycling, ATVing, jeeping, parasailing, golfing, snowmobiling, ice climbing and the list goes on.” The site also has information on events, restaurants, shopping and lodging in the valley.
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at email@example.com. ==========================================At a glanceTo find information on more than 100 trails on a new free online trail mapping guide log on to http://www.ecosports.com. ====================================