Words by Natty and Trey
Photos by Devon Balet
We packed up the camper and left the sparkling dirt of Winter Park, Colorado and headed 30 miles north to the quaint, little mountain town of Granby Ranch, Colorado. Our hearts beamed thinking about the hidden oasis that we fell in love with last year on the tour. It's so close to Winter Park, yet feels so far away, as if you're in another part of the country. The terrain is soft sand with a lot more loose rock on the trails, and the resort vibe is slow-paced and quiet. You'll need to make your own party at Granby. We didn't have any trouble getting creative and rambunctious with our time on the mountain.
Granby Ranch, formally known as Sol Vista, was a hidden gem where only bike ninja's would come and practice their big bike tricks. They had huge gap jumps and large wooden (drop) features. Although, they had alternate routes (go-arounds) on all their monster mega stuff; there were still features that were ultra intimidating. These gaps would have made the average mountain biker pucker at just the thought of riding some of the stuff there. However, for better or for worse, Granby is making some changes.
Not everyone likes the changes that are happening at Granby. In fact, these are similar changes that we are seeing at every bike park that we have been to this summer (including Whistler!). The reason for this growing trend is to make bike park features less dangerous with more opportunities for safe progression. Some of the reasoning has to do with insurance requirements, but the other reasons have solely to do with "appealing more to the demographic of users". In the case of Granby, it's more of a family affair. We were very surprised to hear that most all the gap jumps had been filled in with dirt, and the one huge ladder drop now has a ramp. Mere mortals can now go for a first attempt without the fear of coming up short.
The bike park is now more user friendly. There are mixed feelings about the changes that have occurred at Granby and other bike parks around the states. Downhill mountain biking will always be dangerous, but making bike parks more user friendly can help keep the danger in check. The bottom line for us is, are we having a good time or not? We definitely had a great time at Granby. Safe progression is the key phrase that comes to mind when thinking about the changes we experienced on the trails here, and that's always a good thing. It was fun to be able to hit the big jumps without the huge consequence if we didn't quite make the transition. Our motto is: Live to ride another day. And, the changes at Granby will, no doubt, help riders do that.
We had a chance to ride their new trail Strawberry Jam. A green trail, It's loaded with small jumps, multiple berms, and lots of vert. Cruising through the aspen trees, if we had stopped to look around for a minute, we might have seen the strawberry patches along the trailside. We also got to ride our faves from last year: Silky Johnson, Tron, Drifter, and many more.
Nature was in full bloom during our Granby visit. The wildflowers were going off, and the Aspen trees were the way they are…awesome! Our dog "Dude" even got in some trail shreddin' with us. A soak in the hot tub with some Alaskan (freeride) APA topped-off our day. We all slept well that night, no doubt, dreaming of "big air" jumps and drops with perfect take-offs and landings.
Natty's pick: Silky Johnson (blue diamond)
Trey's pick: Bucnasty (black diamond)