Sweet looking switchback at copper harbor- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Sweet looking switchback at copper harbor

    Gracing the cover of the Fall 2011 IMBA Trail News magazine was a sweet looking chicane/double switchback at the Copper Harbor trails in northern Michigan. While many magazine covers feature scantily clad models to get a reader's attention, it's beautiful trailwork like this that really catches my eye. I've caught myself staring longingly at that photo numerous times since it arrived in the mail a couple weeks ago. Figured I'd post something to see if I could learn more about it.

    The picture is also here on the IMBA coverage of Copper Harbor

    I have to say that's one awesome looking swatch of trail! That thing has a little of everything (woodwork, a big 'ol crib wall, berm sculpting, etc.) and it appears to be a rather steep and rocky hill to be building on. I'd love to hear the "behind the scenes" story about the design and construction of that switchback.

    Was this a local club or did they contract any of that out?

    Is this trail open for winter use by foot/xc skies/ snow shoes? Multi-use or off-season considerations?

    Did the final product match up with the initial vision/design for that segment?

    What machines were used for which tasks? You didn't move and compact all that dirt by hand did you?
    Abba Zaba, you my only friend....

  2. #2
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    sexy!
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  3. #3
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    That corner is even better in person. All that work for a few seconds of riding on seemingly endlessly flowing downhill.

    Here's another image from that same trail section. Awesome work.

    Last edited by Loren_; 12-01-2011 at 07:44 PM.

  4. #4
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    Really nice work.
    .~...|\
    ...~.|.\
    ..~..|..\
    .~...|...\
    ~....|....\
    ...~.|.....\
    ....~|____\
    _____||_________
    .\....FAILBOAT..../

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren_ View Post
    That corner is even better in person. All that work for a few seconds of riding on seemingly endlessly flowing downhill.

    Here's another image from that same trail section. Awesome work.

    I understand the the need for a wood ramp on the magazine cover shot, but this pic looks like there is plenty of good dirt there? Was this a feature, sensitive plant area, or just trying to make a sharp switchback more sustainable???

  6. #6
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    First, I''m not at all involved in this trail - these are the musing of a trail building enthusiast admiring someone else's work during a ride...

    This is a very steep ravine on a gorgeous hillside. It would have been challenging to build any sort of sustainable trail here, and it would have disturbed a lot of trees. Lots of bench cutting in rock, or tons of fill over tree roots. This was obviously a lot of work, but was probably the easiest and least invasive way of getting mountain bikes up and down that ridge. I had the sense that you could just pick it up and cart it away, and never know there was a trail there at all.

    When I build berms out of dirt, I always have to tweak them after riding to fix the flow and feel. Here, these guys were able to get the lines just right, the first time, building in wood. Math, experience, a good eye, luck- however they did it, I'm envious of the skill.

    Here's another perspective, looking up:


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