Corral trail opening draws strong Tahoe crowd

The rad new jump trail got dozens of local volunteers out of bed early on Saturday morning

Photos by: Dave Clock

Max Fish, 4, and Zane Fink, 9, handled the ribbon-cutting honors.

Max Fish, 4, and Zane Fink, 9, handled the ribbon-cutting honors.

South Lake Tahoe’s first-of-its-kind Corral trail officially opened to great fanfare on Saturday morning with 70 local volunteers on hand to pitch in on final trail work, celebrate with beer, brats and a raffle and, of course, shuttle a run on the newly built section of the 3-mile flow trail.

The trail is unique not because of what it is–a rad mix of tabletops, berms and jumps–but because of how it came to be. It’s the first jump trail in the Tahoe Basin, and perhaps anywhere in the U.S., of which the Forest Service spearheaded the design and construction.

The Corral trail, which is open to both motos and mountain bikes, was rerouted about a decade ago to decommission an old, rutted, sandy fall-line mess. The upper section was paid for by the Forest Service to the tune of $25,000, and descends through multiple rock gardens that are technical, but rideable, and winds around banked turns.

Working to play.

Working to play.

Saturday’s celebration was in recognition of the lower part of the trail, a short, but ridiculously fun succession of huge berms, low-consequence tabletops and jumps that flow through a well-ridden section of the Tahoe Basin National Forest about 7 miles outside of town. On Saturday, wide range of riders were grinning as they rode down the trail, everyone from a 4-year-old who just started pedaling to a 60-year-old whose entire life has been shaped by bicycles.

Kris Morehead, one of TAMBA's trail crew leaders, samples the fruits of his labors.

Kris Morehead, one of TAMBA’s trail crew leaders, samples the fruits of his labors.

“It’s not even a trail that has amazing views, it’s just an amazingly built trail,” said Ben Fish, president of the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association, or TAMBA, speaking to the crowd gathered to put in a few hours of trail work on Saturday.

TAMBA raised $25,000 over the last year to pay for the construction of the trail, which the Forest Service paid Hilride Progression Development to design. More than 100 local riders also gave their input on the design. Most of the construction was completed last month by crew leaders from TAMBA and the nearby Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, the nonprofit best known for organizing the Downieville Classic.

Ben Fish, TAMBA president, fills in local volunteers on the background of the Corral trail before sending them into the woods.

Ben Fish, TAMBA president, fills in local volunteers on the background of the Corral trail before sending them into the woods.

The day capped with beer, brats and burgers cooked and poured out of the Sierra Buttes’ “Rolling Thunder” trailer.

A third phase of the Corral trail is planned for next year.

Corral Trail: Mountain Bike Community / Forest Service Partnership from First Tracks Productions on Vimeo.

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