Sunday, June 5, 2011

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program...

... to share some AWESOME new developments at the Elko SnoBowl... now the SnoBowl Ski & Bike Park.

The SnoBowl hosted its first National Trails Day event June 4th, with a goal of constructing brand new lift-served mountain bike trails at the resort. For the first 20 years of its existence, SnoBowl depended on natural snowfall to generate skiing fun, and largely sat unused for the rest of the year.

Not any more.

SnoBowl mountain manager Roche Bush invited several long-time SnoBowlers to join the somewhat moribund committee that had operated the SnoBowl for the last couple of decades, and this new shot of energy is changing everything up there.

The first change, and it's a big one - SnoBowl will now open on weekends in the summer so that people with mountain bikes can enjoy lift-served riding just outside of town. This will be one of the first - if not THE first - lift-served trail systems in the state of Nevada.

It's exciting, and that excitement is contagious. More than 50 people showed up for National Trails Day, and worked hard all day to get the beginner trail on the ground.

There's still plenty of work to be done. The beginner trail is going to need more work to be sustainable... the intermediate trail still needs some benching... the advanced trails haven't been started yet. But, oh how fun it is to see what's going on up there! Best of all, while SnoBowl's biggest attraction as a ski area is its funkiness and proximity to town, the terrain is apparently extremely suitable for both downhill and cross-country mountain biking. David Todaro, a former professional downhill mountain bike racer, has been working with the SnoBowl Foundation board to develop this project, and he's beyond enthused about the potential here. He's put in trails all over the country and says we have the means of developing something really special in the hills north of town.

Cool to hear.

Because SnoBowl will be one of very few places in the state where mountain bikers can enjoy lift-accessed terrain, Todaro envisions Elko becoming a stop on the mountain biking race circuit once the trail system is established. Pretty cool plan if you ask me. Elko continues to be blessed by the contributions the mines make to the community, and especially by the incredible talent pool of people like David who move here for good mining jobs.

It's funny,.. people who don't use the SnoBowl often dis it because it isn't one of the towering Western resorts that populate this part of the country. I'm thinking those folks don't spend much time at SnoBowl. I've enjoyed powder days there that would surprise you... good people, good skiing, an excellent vibe. And now SnoBowl is getting even better, with year-round fun and even the potential for snowmaking in the works.

Don't look now, but our little town is starting to get awfully fun for non-motorized recreationists of all stripes.


A few folks deserve a big hearty THANK YOU for making the 2011 National Trails Day event possible:

- First and foremost, the SnoBowl volunteers for putting in so much time and effort
- Greg & Gina Kronenberg, Albertsons, Maggie Morgan and Kennedy Ranch Custom-Fed Beef for sponsoring lunch
- Event Source for providing the tents, tables and chairs
- The Elko Fire Department, Nevada Division of Forestry and Bureau of Land Management for providing trail-building tools
- Elko's media for helping us get the word out about the project

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