Stowe Reporter
June 8, 2009

Mountain bikers are ramping up efforts to make the Waterbury-Stowe area a
major haven for their sport.

Two major initiatives are under way: building a comprehensive new trail
system, or ride center, between Waterbury and Stowe, and expanding the
Vermont Mountain Bike Festival in Waterbury.

Local organizers hope both projects will improve biking in the area and
increase the sports visibility.

The Vermont Mountain Bike Association and Stowe Mountain Bike Club, with
help from other local businesses and supporters, are working on the
ambitious projects. The Waterbury-Stowe ride center project aims to improve
and expand trails in an area already rich with options for bikers.

Ride centers, according to the Vermont Mountain Bike Association, are model
trail systems that showcase the state of the art in sustainable trail design
and mountain biking experience for users of all levels.

The center which would be the first in Vermont will go through Little River
State Park in Waterbury, the Cotton Brook area of the state forest, Bolton
Valley Resort, Trapp Family Lodge and to the top of Mt. Mansfield. While
many trails already exist in the region, on public and private land, the
goal of the ride center is to improve, connect and expand them.

Only five other states have ride centers, according to the Vermont Mountain
Bike Association.

Organizers are also open to further expansion into Jeffersonville, the Mad
River Valley and Underhill, said Rick Sokoloff, president of the Stowe
Mountain Bike Club.

Parts of the plan are already coming to fruition, Sokoloff said. It is still
a work in progress, but the town has allocated money, as has the town. We
are already starting to build some trails.

When complete, there will be close to 70 miles of trails, he said.

Mountain bike projects have received support from the Stowe town government.
This spring, Stowe voters approved $5,000 to develop a mountain bike
trail-system master plan for the 513-acre Adams Camp property, wedged
between Trapp Family Lodge land and Stowe Mountain Resort. The town has
allocated $10,000 more for other bike trail improvements, according to town

Further, about 75 people showed up at an informational meeting last week to
discuss the mountain bike plans, which Stowe Town Planner Tom Jackman called
a bigger crowd than any hes ever seen at similar meetings in Stowe.

Patrick Kell, executive director of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association,
said enthusiasm for the project in Stowe and Waterbury has been impressive.

Kell said he expects the first 40 miles will cost about $500,000. The money
will come largely through grants, and there is no specific timeline for
completion, Kell said.

Festival in July

The second annual Vermont Mountain Bike Festival will be held in Waterbury
July 11 and 12. The festival will begin Saturday morning at 8 and end Sunday
at 3 at the events field outside the Ice Center of Washington West in

The festival sponsored by the Vermont Mountain Bike Association, Stowe
Mountain Bike Association and several local businesses is expected to draw
250 and will include overnight camping, Sokoloff said. In the past, the
festival has been able to accommodate only about 100 people.

The expansion was possible because organizers have had more time to prepare.

Last year, we really only had a week to put it together. This year, we have
had more time and we anticipate a bigger draw, Sokoloff said.

Last year, more than $1,000 was raised at the event, which included mountain
bike rides, music and food. The proceeds go toward improving trails in the

Vermont Mountain Bike Festival at a glance

When Saturday and Sunday, July 11-12

Where The Ice Center of Washington West events field, 546 River Road,

Cost $30

Registration deadline Thursday, July 9

What The festival is a non-race event to raise money for local trails and a
new ride center. Guided and unguided rides will take place in Waterbury,
Stowe, Waitsfield, and Hinesburg.

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