Freeride in Jackson Hole- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Freeride in Jackson Hole

    Hey all,

    I just got back from Jackson Hole, where some interesting things are afoot. There is an organization up there called the Teton Freedom Riders that has been working with the Forest Service since 2004. Their website is here (http://www.tetonfreedomriders.org/) but there isn't much information there. The group seems very similar to WAFTA, although they're a few years ahead of us. I learned about this group on Saturday, and in a serendipitous coincidence, we found ourselves riding with one of the board members of that organization on Sunday. So I pumped him for information...

    The group formed in 2004 as a result of user conflicts - equestrians vs. downhill bikers on illegal trails. The equestrians complained, and the bikers ended up talking to the Forest Service. The managers up there were open to suggestion, and they realized that some approved DH trails were needed. Otherwise, there would just be more pirate trails built and the situation would worsen. Sounds strangely familiar...

    They worked out an arrangement. Two of the more erosion-prone DH trails were closed, and two were given over to the Teton Freedom Riders to work with and bring up to "code". I'm not sure exactly what "code" this is (Whistler trail-building code, as Basin Recreation is using? IMBA code? I don't know). The materials have to be natural and blend with the forest environment (constructed from rocks, deadfall, etc.) Apparently they're allowed to do some limited clearing work as well.

    Three years later, they have a growing network of DH-specific trails off the Teton Pass road. On Sunday we saw tons of cars and trucks loaded up with big bikes heading up that road and stopping at various turnoffs. The guy we were riding with said that the DH/FR scene was growing like crazy and that there were "Whistler-quality" trails up there now, all approved by the Forest Service, built and maintained by TFR. I was the only one on this trip with a big bike, so we didn't end up riding any of the serious DH trails (so I can't say if they're truly Whistler-quality or not!). On Saturday we rode Black Canyon, a 15 mile trail with 800' vertical to climb, followed by a 3000' vertical descent. It had a very similar feel to the upper half of the Dark Hollow trail at Brian Head - fun for both 5" and 8" travel bikes.

    The trail we rode on Sunday was an XC trail on the Idaho side. The Teton Freedom Riders don't just do DH trails, they also build and maintain XC trails in the area. They have monthly trail work days - and they get a big turnout. Last month, they had a trail work day on the one we rode - and 60 people showed up. They have worked out sponsorship deals with bike shops, a local microbrewery, and Grand Targhee resort to provide incentives of various sorts to trail volunteers. They've also designed a full-on DH trail network for Grand Targhee resort (apparently the owner is a strong trails supporter) which is currently going through the approval process.

    So... something to think about!

  2. #2
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    Reputation: SingleWhiteCaveman's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
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    Definitely something to shoot for. It's encouraging to know it can be done.

    Any suggestions on joining WAFTA? I dropped my info to them a few weeks ago but got my mail bouncedback. I need to get off my ass here, your posts are shaming me!

  3. #3
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    ...

    Try the WAFTA site again. If that doesn't work, shoot me a PM with your info and I will get you on the list. As for me, I have one more day of the bar exam (tomorrow) and then hopefully I will never have to do this again. Brutal!

  4. #4
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    Reputation: SingleWhiteCaveman's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
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    Nice, I just tried again.

    Good luck on the bar exam, once it's over you can ease up!

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