‘X Games of mountain biking’
Ranchstyle Festival a feast for action sports fans
With maybe 15 riders and 40 spectators that first year, Matt Bollig’s creation sprouted from modest beginnings.
The Ranchstyle Mountain Bike Festival sure has grown since its inaugural iteration in 2008.
“We wanted to have an event to kind of let everyone know who we are, that we have a new shop,” said Bollig, owner of Grassroots Cycles. “We wanted to have a grand opening party, I guess you could say. ... I mean, when we started that first year, it was a very small affair with only local Colorado guys and me cooking on the barbecue. Kind of a jump jam.”
These days, the festival is a stop on the Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour and regularly draws between 100 and 150 high-profile athletes and several hundred spectators to The Ranch, Bollig’s 36-acre plot of land in Glade Park that houses the festival venue.
The Ranch’s renowned courses will be busy with action this weekend.
Saturday’s slopestyle competition is the entree item on the schedule, which features a Pinkbike trick throwdown event today as an appetizer and Sunday’s super slalom racing as dessert.
The Ranch’s slopestyle course is packed with dirt jumps and wooden features. Tricks are the name of the game as racers strive to rack up style points.
“Large jumps, big landings,” Bollig said. “It’s kind of like the X Games of mountain biking.”
Unlike in Ranchstyle’s inaugural year, expect to see racers this weekend from throughout the United States — and beyond.
“We’ll have athletes coming in from Canada, New Zealand,” said Bollig, who struck up Ranchstyle’s affiliation with the Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour in 2011.
Today’s Pinkbike trick competition brings the Internet world into the mix, with riders throwing down their best and most creative tricks. Video clips will be posted at Pinkbike.com, where voters decide the winner. Victors will be announced at Saturday night’s awards ceremony at Rockslide Restaurant and Brewery.
Sunday’s dual slalom closes the weekend out. As with more traditional slalom courses, there are no gates — just trees.
“Our slalom course is considered to be one of the best in the country,” Bollig said. “It’s long for a slalom course. It runs through the trees. It’s really like two paralleled singletrack trail rides with jump features. Things like that aren’t typical of a lot of slalom courses.”
With more than just racing, Ranchstyle is a festival in every sense of the word.
Competitors and spectators often camp, making The Ranch their weekend home. A skills clinic with Eric Porter is on the slate for today.