Crown Mountain Park is already well known for its BMX park, which every year attracts thousands of users covering the age gamut from two to 55. That park, located on about an acre of land tucked into a corner of the park near the tennis courts, was first constructed in 2013 by Heath Johnson and Paul Viola, with help from dozens of volunteers. It was upgraded in 2016 by Eric Bress, who builds tracks all over the world, including the facility used in Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Those upgrades, according to Nate Grinzinger, CMP’s park and recreation manager, have resulted in one of the top-five BMX parks in Colorado.
Not to rest on their laurels, Grinzinger and CMP executive director Rebecca Wagner are looking to expand their bike-related offerings in a significant way.
On the drawing board is a wide-ranging progressive bike park that, when complete, will add an all-ages pump-track, a kids’ beginner zone, a dirt jump park and a mile-long cross-country single-track trail.
It is an ambitious project.
Wagner and Grinzinger hope to break ground in November, with the fingers-crossed goal of having the park open in time for next summer’s riding season.
“We would need a lot of things to go right, particularly local support, as in in-kind donations, private donations and help from local construction companies,” Grinzinger said.
Cost for the entire project would be about $450,000, according to Wagner, but a significant chunk of that will consist of donated labor and materials. Already, $150,000 of dirt has been donated for the project.
“We have also received a donation of $2,500 for machine rental and $5,000 to pay for professional digital renderings from Jessica Phillips and local bike pro Tejay van Garderen,” Grinzinger said. “That’s in addition to all that dirt, which came from John Blatz and Peter Dolan of Valley Luxury Properties and Franz Stone of Aspen Diggers.
Given that the land upon which this project will be constructed is basically flat, it will require substantial earth work to build the new park.
Each of the features is represented in a conceptual design prepared by Bentonville, Arkansas-based Progressive Design.
According to that document:
- The cross-country trail, which will be as long as the paved walking path that currently circles the interior of CMP, will consist of blue- and green-level single track that will traverse the undeveloped field on the back end of the park.
- The pump track will be a closed-circuit track consisting of rollers, mounds and berms shaped and spaced to allow riders to generate and maintain speed without pedaling. The pump track will be mirrored — meaning two people can race next to each other.
- The session zone — aka dirt-jump park — will consist of multiple dirt jump lines and manmade features of varying skill level all in a row. The session zone will be designed for intermediate to advanced riders to learn and enjoy jumping in a controlled environment. There will be three lines — intermediate, expert and pro.
- The beginner zone will be a purpose-build course designed specifically for kids. It will consist of a variety of elevated features, such as rollers, mounds, berms, log rides and rock features, all designed to teach balance and technical bike-handling skills.
In addition to designing and constructing a bike park that will challenge riders of all abilities, Grinzinger expects the new facility to add to the economic vitality of the area.
“This new bike park will help bring some vibrancy to the Mid-Valley,” he said. “We will be able to have statewide events that will draw all ages, all abilities to the bike park.”
That is not an unrealistic goal. With the current BMX park, CMP holds numerous events.
According to Grinzinger, CMP’s BMX park hosts local races every Thursday night throughout the summer. In addition, he said, the Crown hosts a state race in early August.
“We had 230 riders at the state race this summer,” he said. “This was one of the largest races in the state, and it was due to our most-recent upgrades. With the new progressive park, we will be able to host even more events.”
Grinzinger added that CMP BMX racers compete for points that are turned in to USA BMX.
“Some local kids have sponsorships and compete at the state and national level,” he said.
Those kids are: Campbell Maybon, Finn McDermott, Brody McDermott, Ian Westerman, Max Gunning, Reed Russell, Josh Eakins, Grafton Merriam, Ames Dallabetta, Nick Searles and Rafe Spears.
According to Wagner, fundraising efforts for the new park are already underway.
“We will be applying for Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund grants and will be looking for more private donations,” she said. “We want to start working on it this winter. Our vision is to provide year-round, multi-generational health and recreation opportunities that stimulate the local economy. This bike park will do all of that.”
A seasonal full-time position will be established to oversee the new bike park, Grinzinger said.
“This individual will program the track and run events,” he said. “Events and programming will cover bike park salary and we anticipate netting revenue. Net revenue will go toward track improvements.”