Mountaintop experience

Addition of mountain bike trails makes Powderhorn a year-round destination

The new downhill mountain bike trails at Powderhorn Mountain Resort drew plenty of two-wheel enthusiasts, including Darin Carville, who soars over a jump during a race in August.



QUICKREAD

Looking back

Another year in the book, and another handful of memorable chapters from the world of sports.

Of course, here in Colorado, there was no story bigger than the Denver Broncos winning the Super Bowl and sending Peyton Manning into retirement a champion.

As usual, there were plenty of great stories locally. Besides the usual memorable stories from area high schools and Colorado Mesa, there was some controversy in the local sports world as well.

Over the next two days, The Daily Sentinel will look at the stories that were selected as the Top 10 of 2016.

Today, will be No. 6 through 10 with the top five coming out Saturday.

Enjoy taking a look back at some of the special local sports stories from 2016.



It’s been quite a year for Powderhorn Mountain Resort. Back in December 2015, the resort cut the ribbon on the new Flat Top Flyer, a high-speed quad chair.

Then snow pummeled the mountain for most of the season, which led to a fantastic ski and snowboard season. When the resort closed for its winter season in late March, the resort had a 45 percent visitor increase over the previous season. It was also the best season since the new owners took over in 2011.

The new chair lift, along with additional snow-making equipment, was part of the $5 million capital improvement project for the resort. Construction of three new downhill mountain biking trails was also a part of the project.

The improvements were all part of the plan to make Powderhorn a year-round resort.

That became official on June 24 when Powderhorn opened the mountain to mountain biking.

Cyclists of all levels flocked to the resort throughout the summer to zip down the trails. The Flat Top Flyer was equipped with bike carriers and a rental shop was opened with bicycles and all the gear needed for the downhill mountain biker.

“The Grand Valley has always been a major mountain biking and tourism destination, so this will be really good for Powderhorn and the community,” Powderhorn General Manager Sam Williams said in June.

The three trails offer about 12 miles of downhill fun with two being specially built singletrack trails with jumps, berms and lots of fast two-wheel fun.

When the Flat Top Flyer was opened in December 2015, Ken Gart, one of Powderhorn’s owners, was already looking ahead to the resort welcoming cyclists.

“(Powderhorn) really has the potential to be one of the top (mountain biking) destinations in the country,” he said last December.

Additional trails are already being planned, but 2016 was a splendid start at making Powderhorn a downhill mountain biking destination.

As far as this year’s ski and snowboard season is concerned, the resort is off to a great start with another early December opening, plenty of snow and packed slopes.


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