By Rob Quinn
The Colorado High School Cycling League has become an economic breath of fresh air at the end of the summer season for these destination locations that have to create their own activity in the summer to keep the locals employed and the business owners in business.
The weather was perfect and the racing was off the charts with Varsity boys Riley Amos from Durango and Evergreen’s Robbie Day showed why they were both invited and raced at the World Championships in Canada.
On the other end of the spectrum you had kids rolling into a hero’s welcome after grinding out a few tough laps showing both grit and self-empowerment …two key assets in today’s game of life. Everybody who races wins.
For many of these kids it’s the first team they have every been a part of and you can feel the respect, love and good vibes. The fastest kids hang with the not so fastest kids who might be really good at other endeavors. This league is void of pretense and cliques…and nobody sits on the bench. Everybody races. After 7 years of coaching I can attest to that statement.
It might have taken a couple of years with a few starts and stops in Snowmass. But the inaugural Colorado High School Cycling League’s 1st race using the newly competed Discovery trail which treats riders of all abilities with a switch “backy” ascent into the Snowmass single track candy…which is what we all came for!
Huge congratulations to the team at Snowmass Tourism. Lot’s of moving parts with this baby. Camping in the Lower Village by the Rec center came off with military precision with the folks from Roaring Forks Cycling who ran the logistics. Bear activity is a huge concern this time of year and these guys had the sites nailed down with an array of bear proofed storage and waste management that would foil Yogi and BooBoo all night long.
One of the great selling points for Snowmass (aside from the World Class riding ) is during the year…many of the race venues are better known for Elk Hunting or River Running and these awesome rustic venues can lack the creature comforts that many of us love. In this category Snowmass simply crushed it.
I heard more than one Mountain Biking mom say “When I saw we are racing in Snowmass I said we are staying in The Village at the Westin”. Since this is the shoulder season the hotel rate’s were very reasonable and the food and beverage costs in Snowmass are always a good value after my extensive, never ending research. There was something about watching the race warm-ups from the slope side deck of the trendy Mexican place Venga Venga, that really summed the experience up. In Snowmass you can have your cake and eat it too. In my case I could have my Queso and eat it too.
Two weeks ago the bad weather in Leadville did not allow for the race awards ceremony. That was handled Friday at the Upper Village in Front of New Belgium Brewery’s O&O owned Ranger Station pub that kids and parents rotated in and out of with equal ease as the never-ending parade of happy dogs. I think you get the picture.
In a related article in Aspen Times go HERE
Snowmass was a reward for the parents but the ultra-safe and semi structured set up in the village made for cool exploring without the parents for the high school racers. Key element if you are 16 and just spent 7 hours in the SUV with the rents…nuff said.
This was not the Town of Snowmass’ first Rodeo. That’s actually every Wednesday night during the summer. With a world class resort you get used to providing world class service to a pretty discerning clientele. The absolutely perfect logistical execution of The Snowmass Event Staff and The Colorado High School Cycling crew left no stone unturned on or off the course and it was noticed and appreciated.
No warmup years required in Aspen folks, this was a lead-off home run shot that set the bar. No cupcake course either. This was the real deal at altitude and if you had any soft spots in your bike racing game…it was challenged. Nothing but dirt caked smiles and some skin loss that was tended to in the medical tent. The pit areas were perfectly situated next to The Upper Village so the action and things to do on and off the bike were nonstop.
Snowmass always shows great value and the hotel rates for anybody associated with the league or a team were greatly discounted. This is an outcome of a great relationship between Snowmass Tourism and their lodging partners. These folks showed some real value to these hardworking families of all walks of life who might not be in the economic situation to frequently stay in that area.
Another interesting conversation I heard more than once were a few parents eagerly talking about skiing a few days at Aspen-Snowmass this Winter as a result of the Ikon pass purchase.
I guess they call that a “Full Cycle” ROI. Get it …Full cycle…
It shows that you can connect the dots from bike to ski. From event to a return visit. A self-perpetuating cycle of great branding and business. And man did everybody crush it last weekend!