Kudos for Sky Mountain Park | AspenTimes.com

Kudos for Sky Mountain Park

Mountain bikers have gushed about Sky Mountain Park all year, so the trail network certainly doesn't need more accolades, but what the heck — why not one more?

I had a mellow Halloween, so I thought I could get out the door quicker than fellow riders who were nursing hangovers. I waited until the temperature climbed a bit and the first wave of showers had passed before I headed up Cozy Line. I was rewarded by not seeing another soul until I completed the climb and was making the traverse on Skyline Trail.

That's when I was struck with another of Sky Mountain Park's benefits. Usually at this time of year, riders either need to leave the friendly confines of the Aspen area to find dry trails or risk causing damage to their favorite routes. That's the beauty of Sky Mountain Park. The eight-trail network in the park and around its base is well exposed to the sun and wind. The singletracks dry out quickly after precipitation. The network opened earlier this spring and it's staying open later in fall than most other uppervalley trails. I'm willing to bet that Aspen and Snowmass Village riders stayed put a lot more than normal early and late this season.

A second benefit of Sky Mountain Park might be the easing of pressure on trail networks at the Crown and Red Hill in the midvalley. It's impossible to tell if riders at Sky Mountain would otherwise venture further downvalley, but one acquaintance noted Monday that it felt like he had the Crown to himself Saturday. I know I would have been there the past two Saturdays if I wasn't at Sky Mountain.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, thanks Pitkin County Open Space and Trails for great work at Sky Mountain.