Shred metropolis: 5 world class out of doors recreation facilities constructed within the Vail space within the final 5 years

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Three-time Olympic gold medalist Tommy Ford trains on Vail’s Golden Peak before heading to the Beijing 2022 Olympics.
SSCV/Photo courtesy

The upper portion of the Golden Peak Competition Arena opened for the season on November 20th and offers ski racers a dedicated training area to practice in Vail.

When the competition arena has enough snow to allow top-down access for ski racers, it is one of the few places in the country that offers a full-length downhill course that ends in a village near a highway.

Completion of the Golden Peak Competition Arena required a special permit from the US Forest Service and the construction of a new lift that would allow ski racers access to a higher portion of the slope at Golden Peak. Opened in 2019, it is one of several new world-class recreational facilities in the Eagle County area. Here are a few others:

Ken Hoeve surfs a standing wave at the Eagle River Whitewater Park in the town of Eagle in 2019.
Scott Cramer/Photo courtesy

White Water Park in Eagle

One thing Eagle County was always missing was a place to surf.

In 2016, Eagle voters approved a new tax for the construction of Eagle River Park, an idea originally featured on a bar napkin at Bonfire Brewery.

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Rapid blocks were installed in the Eagle River, creating features known in the whitewater world as “holes”. These features can now be surfed by boarders when the water conditions are right, or used as locations for freestyle kayakers to practice tricks.

Improved parkland was built around the facilities with bathrooms, changing rooms, a fire pit, seating and a judges platform for competitions.

Construction took place in 2018 and the park opened in 2019.

The GoPro Dual Slalom, a first-ever dual slalom competition in Eagle County, was held at Minturn Bike Park in June.
Logan Robertson/Photo courtesy

Bike park in Minturn

While mountain biking is one of Eagle County’s top recreational activities, the mountain bike trails themselves aren’t necessarily a good practice arena for banked turns and jumps.

The Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance started raising money for the Minturn Bike Park in 2019 to build proper dirt jumps and kids skills areas.

The group was able to raise $50,000 from the community and $47,000 from the City of Minturn, and also provided $75,000 of their own reserve funds to complete the project. Construction began in 2020 and the first phase opened later that summer.

The bike park also included a parking lot, restrooms, a shed with tool/equipment storage, and a large paver gathering area with picnic tables built by the Gallegos Corporation.

The park is also home to the county’s only dual slalom mountain bike race course, which was completed last year and hosted its first competition in 2022 at the GoPro Mountain Games.

The 160-acre Dry Lake Motocross Park in Gypsum has become known as one of the top dirt bike spots in Eagle County.  (Photo courtesy of City of Gypsum)The 160-acre Dry Lake Motocross Park in Gypsum has become known as one of the top dirt bike spots in Eagle County.

City Gypsum/Courtesy

Motocross track in plaster

There are many trails on Colorado’s western slope and many places for dirt bikers to ride, but not many motocross tracks.

Those are the words of pro rider Sam Greenawalt, who discovered the Dry Lake Motocross track in Gypsum in 2021 on his way to the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in Lakewood.

Greenawalt was surprised to see how complete a setup was offered to motocross riders at Gypsum.

“This place has everything,” Greenawalt said. “There’s big jumps, small jumps, whoops, rolls, tight corners, big wide open corners, you want a good variety of everything and this place has it, I’m impressed.”

After a decade-long search for a place to build a track in Eagle County, the late Paul Miller of Rocky Mountain Sport Riders helped secure a deal to lease the Dry Lake property from Eagle County Open Space, and the track opened in 2018. Miller was then battling brain cancer and died less than a year later.

In 2021, the Dry Lake motocross track hosted a Rocky Mountain Enduro Circuit race, the first major event on Dry Lake’s open space.

Eagle Climbing and Fitness aims to build community strength by creating and delivering responsible classes, workshops and camps. His goal is to keep the community healthy, happy and strong.
Photo courtesy of Eagle Climbing and Fitness

Climbing hall in Adler

One thing Eagle County was always missing up until a few years ago was a large indoor climbing facility.

Vail has a small indoor facility at the Vail Athletic Club and the Avon Recreation Center also has a small indoor facility, but neither the extra tall climbing walls nor the large footprint required to host rock climbing events.

Locals Larry Moore, Rick Patriacca, and Dave Dantas knew the area had a demand for climbers for such a space, but finding one was difficult. After years of searching, Dantas and Patriacca found and built the facility in Eagle while Moore provided the concept.

Eagle Climbing + Fitness opened in 2018, a 10,500 square foot space with 8,500 square feet dedicated to rock climbing.

The smallest space for climbing, an area known as the Jungle Gym, where children as young as three can take classes, was larger than the space occupied by Moore’s climbing team at its former training location in Vail.

Today, Eagle Climbing + Fitness hosts high school and college teams from across the state and region in climbing competitions and accommodates locals who want to climb indoors. The space can accommodate hundreds without feeling cramped.