Colorado Fun in Grand County

8 Апр 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
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The events are open to professionals and amateurs. They are all exciting to watch. If you think you’re a downhill biker you might want to compete in the Super Downhill. I wouldn’t recommend the Slopestyle as a starter – when you find yourself upside down and thirty feet in the air you might realize you made a mistake!

Even though I had lived at the edge of a mountain in New Mexico, we didn’t have anything like the downhill rides at Winter Park The Fraser Valley – billed as Mountain Bike Capital USA. There are plenty of single track trails through the foothills, but nothing like the Winter Park Resort downhill reached by ski lift.

Excited about the events, I wanted to learn more about downhill biking and signed up for Trestle 101 – the downhill biking introduction course. It’s a great package for $69 that includes a 2 ½ hour lift ticket, bike rental and instructor/guide. I was suited up in what my friends called the “Iron Man” outfit complete with shoulder and rib pads, shin guards, helmet, gloves – the works. The first thing you learn is how to operate the bike – it’s a bit different from your typical mountain bike, but not at all complicated. Then you learn to load the bike onto the ski lift and hop on yourself. At the top they remove the bike for you, the downhill instruction begins and you head downhill. I won’t try to give you the instructions here – better take the Trestle 101 course yourself and learn from a pro. But, I can tell you it’s a real bargain and gives you the opportunity to try out a whole new adventure on a high quality bike. My only regret is that I don’t have a great downhill run outside my door like I had at Winter Park Resort.

Some of the bike trails are even open in the winter, but the main activities run from June through early September. There are two terrific bike parks with connecting multi-use trails that cover hundreds of miles with a wide variety of terrain from cross-country to downhill. There are paved trails along the Fraser River and extreme single track trails throughout the Fraser Valley.

Of course, there are open highways for road bikes and, thanks to the heightened biker awareness of the area; these roads may be a bit safer than your roads back home.

Winter Park Resor t is in reality a small village with shops, restaurants and living accommodations surrounding the base of the mountain. You can rent a great little apartment for your visit that will allow you to fix a few meals “at home” if you like or simply walk out the front door, cross one street and be in the village for lunch or dinner. If you want pancakes for breakfast at Doc’s Roadhouse or crepes at Goody’s it is only two minutes from your front door when you stay at Fraser Crossing/Founders Pointe.

On the short walk you’ll pass a pond, site of the newest addition to the Crankworx weekend and, I believe, destined to be a fixture for years to come. The InterGalactic Pond Crossing event was riveting – I think everyone at every venue showed up for this event and stayed till the end. They laid out a course across a 30/40 meter pond with inner tubes from truck tires and then lashed 8” boards on top. The goal was for bike riders to cross from one side to the other for some great prizes. I think one young boy actually made it across. Most of the others managed indignant, embarrassing and usually very sudden trips into the pond. The water wasn’t deep, but they did have kayak rescue teams ready for emergencies. Most wounds were to the pride .

But, Crankworx is only a part of the Fraser Valley. If you like being outdoors you will love being in Grand County, Colorado. It really doesn’t matter what time of the year you arrive because it is a year round paradise for those of us who would rather be outdoors than sitting in front of our computers and television sets.

On the western edge of Rocky Mountain National Park you’ll find a variety of lodging choices. Winter Park Resort is a wonderful place to start, but the lovely Village of Grand Lake also offers lodges, cabins, motels and resorts to suit your needs. The Western Riviera Lakeside Cabins is right on the shore of Grand Lake and provides a pleasant opportunity to just sit and watch the boaters on the lake. If you happen to be there during one of the sailing clubs’ regattas it’s even more fun. And, you can take a boat tour from the Grand Lake Marina. The views are outstanding and you’ll learn some of the history of the area while you’re on the water. It’s a great way to spend a few hours relaxing if you’ve been burning calories on one of the biking or hiking trails. Hint: Watch closely when you pass some of the boathouses along the shore. Grand Lake boaters have a penchant for classic Chris Craft wooden boats and they are beauties.

And, speaking of hiking, Grand Lake is the perfect base for exploring the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a beautiful drive into the park and you may reach an altitude of over 12,000 feet. Watch for elk, moose, deer, bears and other critters. I spotted a fox in the middle of one of the ski runs at Winter Park Resort and saw a few of the larger animals in the National Park.

Stop in at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center for information about the park. Ask about the trail to Cascade Falls. If you have the time and ambition you may want to consider the Green Mountain Trail leading into the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. It joins up with several other trails and offers plenty of opportunities for back country exploration on foot. You can actually walk all the way across the Rocky Mountain National Park from Grand Lake to one of my favorite hikes – the climb up Long’s Peak at an altitude of 14,259 feet.

Chris-Craft Continental boat

From your room at Grand Lake you can do plenty of hiking as well. An easy hike is to Adam’s Falls with several impressive viewpoints along the way. Just walking around the village is a treat in itself. Find the ice cream shop along the waterfront for a delicious homemade treat. If you’re seeking an evening’s entertainment you might want to check out the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre to see if there is a production in process.

There is a public swimming area near the ice cream stand and close to the marina. I won’t even try to give you directions. Grand Lake is a small town and friendly – if you need anything, or just directions, all you have to do is ask – anyone!

O.K. so you’re not a biker or a hiker. That’s fine, too. If you’re a driver, or just a passenger, be sure to traverse the highest major highway in North America. The drive from Grand Lake up to the Alpine Visitor Center goes all the way up to over 12,000 feet. You can drive all the way, get out of your car and watch the backpackers who have trudged up to this elevation with 40 pounds on their backs. Take a nice little stroll, enjoy the view, the birds and probably a yellow-bellied marmot or two, explore the exhibits in the center and coast back down the hill to your cabin on the lake in time for supper.

Another approach to the easy way is to take a ride on one of the friendly horses at the Winding River Ranch. A two hour ride into the Rocky Mountain National Park may be the perfect way for you to enjoy your time there. Maybe you’ll get lucky and see an elk or a moose. They can be anywhere. This is their home and be sure to keep an eye out for them while driving the roads.

One more suggestion. Whether you’re a hiker, biker, horse rider, backpacker, boater, or just visiting for an easy relaxing vacation, be sure to check in at Adventure in Whitewater. An easy float trip down the Colorado River will have you watching for eagles in the treetops and humans jumping off boulders into water holes. If you’re a fisherman, you can arrange for a half-day or full day of gold medal trout fishing.


When you check out the Grand County and Winter Park websites you’ll discover that the area is a winter paradise as well.

I want to leave you with a special treat. If you’re a hiker/biker/backpacker I discovered a super surprise for you at the Crankworx event. A couple of young men with a great concept. If you’ve had your fill of cardboard granola bars you have to check this out – I even took them on a 140 km trek in the Himalayas. Try Hulee Super Cookies. All natural, lots of protein, fiber and calories and low sodium and no trans fat. Best of all, they are delicious. If you can’t find them in your local shop ask them to order them or do it yourself at the website and. Keep on Traveling!

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