Today IMBA announces three new Silver-level Ride Centers: Roanoke, VA; Eagle County, CO; and Steamboat Springs, CO. The first two are completely new to the Ride Center list, while Steamboat Springs moves up from Bronze-level — first awarded in 2012 — to Silver thanks to an influx of funding for new trails like Flash of Gold.
The selection of the Roanoke Area as a Silver-level ride center is notable as being the first on the US East Coast. While Virginia already has two ride centers — Richmond and Harrisonburg — both are Bronze-level. Currently there is not a Gold-level ride center on the East Coast.
Notable trail systems in the Blue Ride mountains surrounding Roanoke include Carvin’s Cove, Mill Mountain, and Explore Park. The IMBA announcement notes, “Virginia’s Blue Ridge is centered around the “Star City” of Roanoke, bordered on all sides by forested public lands, scenic parkways, and municipal parks. There seem to be singletrack trails wiggling through every plot of public land, in addition to major attractions like the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway.”
Eagle County, CO
The Eagle County Ride Center essentially refers to the Vail Valley, home to famed ski resorts Vail and Beaver Creek, plus hundreds of miles of singletrack. Mountain bikers can choose to ride lift-accessible trails at the resorts, explore trails within the towns of Avon and Eagle, and venture out into the backcountry.
Rich Carroll, president of the Vail Valley Trail Connection says, “Our community is making great strides to ensure that our [natural-surface] trail network is world-class and on par with the Vail Valley’s renowned winter recreation experience.”
Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboat Springs brands itself as “Bike Town USA” and continues to improve summer mountain bike offerings. The town was designated a Bronze-level Ride Center in 2012, and in 2014 IMBA held their biennial World Summit there. Based on mountain bike infrastructure development over the past few years, Steamboat has moved up to Silver-level.
According to the IMBA release, “Most rides begin and end in town and feature long climbs, big views, “rugged flow” and incredible fall color. […] All-day adventures are easy to come by on adjacent Forest Service trails, while family members can relax at local hot springs, pedal paved bike paths or explore the charming shops and restaurants of downtown.”