Creating the Keystone Bike Park
Check out what it takes to dream up, design, and build the Keystone Bike Park. Plus, video of what your handlebars see.
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To Lloyd Morsett, the Keystone Bike Park Supervisor, building a mountain bike park isn’t about how many super-hard runs he can cram into one mountain. It’s not how fast he can get people to go or how high he can make riders jump, or how complex the runs are. It’s about building something fun with a group of close friends, and challenging the convention of what a bike park should look like.
“Riding and working with the guys is the best part of my job,” Morsett said. “They are an amazing crew. Each person we hire brings something different to the table. We all have the same long-term goal in mind—to build an awesome park. Of course, the riding is always where your heart is.” The Keystone Bike Park offers a large variety of trails and features to all riders, from beginners to hard-core experts. But the varied terrain and well-crafted trails don’t appear out of nowhere; Morsett and his crew work tirelessly to make the park as perfect as possible.
“Nowadays when you build a bike park you build it around your core riders first and foremost,” Morsett said. “Here we have riders from Denver and the surrounding communities, so we focus on them.”
Because many of Keystone’s bike clientele are expert riders, they concentrate on the most rigorous trails for experts first. “Then you expand trails for everyone,” Morsett said. “That way you don’t limit your financial success in the long-term. You want to offer something for everyone.”
One of their primary responsibilities is to be stewards of the land they love to play on. In order to keep the area pristine, Morsett goes through a rigorous approval process to establish new trails.
“We first flag where trails go, and depending on the stability of the area and how difficult we want to make the trail, we have to work around various environmental obstacles,” Morsett said. “Then the US Forest Service comes through and conducts an environmental impact study.”
Members from the USFS look at flora and fauna of the area and make sure the impact of a new trail won’t be too serious. Morsett and his crew then come into the area with either small bulldozers or mini-excavators to rough-cut the trail before they fine tune it by hand.
“The green trails take the most amount of time. We have to manicure them and smooth them because they are geared towards the beginner biker,” Morsett said.
Regardless of whether Morsett is cruising a green run or flying down an expert trail with a double-backed corkscrew bridge he’s is content. “The downhill is the fun part and being able to do that all the time brings the whole job to a different level.”
Got a question for the Keystone bike crew? Email them at KeystoneBikePark@vailresorts.com. To learn more about bike rentals, lift tickets, and lodging, call 800-354-4FUN (4386).