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  1. #1
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    John's axed

    Hi,

    Ten years ago, I rode John's Trail at PCMR, and I remember it being a beautiful trail. I returned to PCMR this week, and I wondered if John's Trail had been ridden into a triple track and ruined. To my delight, John's Trail seemed just as beautiful as I remembered it. It is one of the most spectacular trails I've ever ridden, and I enjoy the tight twisty challenge it provides. The aspen grove is extraordinary, and one day I rounded a corner to find two moose laying on the trail. I've been enjoying John's trail so much that I've been working it into all my loops this week.

    Yesterday, I rode down John's Trail at around 2pm. Today, I rode down John's Trail again at around 5pm. Between those two rides somebody chopped down about 8-10 aspen trees on John's. It was sad to see the raw stumps on the side of the trail. It's hard to imagine someone taking a saw to such beautiful aspen trees to dumb down the trail.


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    Quote Originally Posted by happyriding View Post
    Hi,

    Ten years ago, I rode John's Trail at PCMR, and I remember it being a beautiful trail. I returned to PCMR this week, and I wondered if John's Trail had been ridden into a triple track and ruined. To my delight, John's Trail seemed just as beautiful as I remembered it. It is one of the most spectacular trails I've ever ridden, and I enjoy the tight twisty challenge it provides. The aspen grove is extraordinary, and one day I rounded a corner to find two moose laying on the trail. I've been enjoying John's trail so much that I've been working it into all my loops this week.

    Yesterday, I rode down John's Trail at around 2pm. Today, I rode down John's Trail again at around 5pm. Between those two rides somebody chopped down about 8-10 aspen trees on John's. It was sad to see the raw stumps on the side of the trail. It's hard to imagine someone taking a saw to such beautiful aspen trees to dumb down the trail.

    most likely some Endurbro that felt the trees were killing their flow. because evidently that's all that matters now-a-days. if you can't do a skid turn and roost through the corner, then it isn't mtn biking. watch ANY promo video on this site, and that's what you'll see. sad to hear it.

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    That is a shame.
    I have listened to riders complain about that trail for a long time but like you I have enjoyed it for even longer.
    It was nice to ride a trail that was actually different and required you to pay attention. I feel like the majority of PC trails could be ridden with a blindfold.

  4. #4
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    Say it ain't so!

    John's is basically the only worthwhile trail on the whole front side of PCMR.

    You might like Aspen Slalom over at DV. Not quite as twisty, and a bit steeper, but a similar kind of old-school fun. And I guarantee you'll have it all to yourself!

    -Walt

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    Quote Originally Posted by slcpunk View Post
    most likely some Endurbro that felt the trees were killing their flow. because evidently that's all that matters now-a-days. if you can't do a skid turn and roost through the corner, then it isn't mtn biking. watch ANY promo video on this site, and that's what you'll see. sad to hear it.
    ^pbbffff xc bigotry at its finest

    haha riiiight, like anyone who rides like that is going to waste their time descending Johns when there are way better descents to be had a few trails over.

    I enjoy the climb on Johns and Sweeneys fun squeezes through trees and good technical fun, but IMO the descent is lame . IMO this thread is useless without pics of the trees that were chopped...bunch of senseless knee jerk reactions.

    Theres a DH trail that intersects parts of Johns and Sweeneys thats more fun to descend with some steep technical bits and some doubles....great for skidding and roost shots. Nice because theres never slow xc traffic on it.

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    that's horrible! I love John's because it's so DIFFERENT than anything else in the area! Why some clown would do that to make it just like the dozens of trails they are trying to turn it into, is a shame

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    Mountaintrails says via FB that they have been "proactively clearing dead trees". Maybe that's what you saw? Dead stuff is just going to fall over, might as well cut it now and save trouble in the spring.

    -Walt

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    I'm no arborist, so I'll let the stumps speak for themselves. The cut wood looked pristine to me.

    You might like Aspen Slalom over at DV. Not quite as twisty, and a bit steeper, but a similar kind of old-school fun. And I guarantee you'll have it all to yourself!
    Okay, I'll check it out. I don't ride the lifts, so I don't know if I have the legs to get up there.

  9. #9
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    If you have the legs to get up to John's, you'll be fine climbing up to DV.

    They have one $17 twilight lift day left this year - on Tuesday. You could check it out then, too.

    FWIW the bottom of an aspen can look ok when the entire top is dead. I have one in my yard right now, as a matter of fact. 7-10 dead aspens removed from "the side of the trail" won't change the character of John's, I'm thinking.

    -Walt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    If you have the legs to get up to John's, you'll be fine climbing up to DV.
    I looked at my trail map, and all the trails in the area around Aspen Slalom are downhill only. I went into Jans and asked for advice on how to ride to the top of Aspen Slalom, and they told me the only way was to take a lift.

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    It can be done. Actually very easily. Trailforks/UtahMountainBiking.com and/or a sense of adventure are your friend.

    -Walt

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    Oh, heck. I'll just take pity on you.

    Tidal Wave bike trail at Deer Valley

    Just follow the directions to Tidal Wave and turn off after the first berm or two onto Aspen Slalom.

    -Walt

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    The very first section of Aspen Slalom is a significant step above Sweeny's/John's and well worth the effort. I'd drop the $17 in a heart beat to ride it over and over. As you get down to the single black diamond section of Aspen Slalom, it becomes more like John's. When I want a short but challenging ride, one of my go-to's is up Sweeney's/John's to the top of John's, back down John's to 420, cross the road (the final 50 feet there was dumbed down, but still fun) to Gravedigger, up the first half of Speedbag across to the road toward the tanks (Daly Grind?) and up that road to get onto Trapper's Gate (I think that's the name?) and out over to the bottom of Sweeny's again. Also over at DV is a classic off of Tidal Wave - Twist and Shout. The lower 2 sections are many years old and still a hoot to ride.

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    Yeah, the first part of AS is quite a bit steeper than John's. But it's still very ridable for a capable rider on an XC bike. Lots of options for twisty (or not so twisty) fun lower down too, of course.

    Sadly I have babysitting duty on Tuesday (wife's turn!) and then we'll be out of town. But OP, the $17 lift ticket is a screaming deal. Even if you hate riding lifts, I guarantee you'll have a grin on your face (and probably have made some new friends) by the end of the evening.

    -Walt

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmar123 View Post
    ^pbbffff xc bigotry at its finest

    haha riiiight, like anyone who rides like that is going to waste their time descending Johns when there are way better descents to be had a few trails over.

    I enjoy the climb on Johns and Sweeneys fun squeezes through trees and good technical fun, but IMO the descent is lame . IMO this thread is useless without pics of the trees that were chopped...bunch of senseless knee jerk reactions.

    Theres a DH trail that intersects parts of Johns and Sweeneys thats more fun to descend with some steep technical bits and some doubles....great for skidding and roost shots. Nice because theres never slow xc traffic on it.
    fair enough, at least we agree John's is good for climbing and makes a silly descent. I have no idea who did or why the cutting was done. Maybe i'm wrong, and it wasn't for the endurbros, you're right that it really doesn't make sense. but still, I have to guess it was to improve downward momentum, and in any event it is still a poor idea. as others have said, we have precious few trails like that, and if you take it away, it is always replaced with machine-cut groomers.

    HappyRiding: Other old school tight twisty trails tend to be low down, the machine cut has taken over most other things. Take the singletrack from daly over to DV ( rossi hill zone ), that's got the same feel. Also the way out perimeter of lost prospector where it overlooks US40. Fatlip remains a favorite, and needs traffic. Black forest tips it a bit stepper, but is definitely not machine cut. The old T&G2 (what's left of it) is still good. I'm sure you know Johns 99 still has some good tight trees too, while also letting you get your speed up depending on the direction you ride it.

    dmar, I promise to try to be nicer to my enduro-bretheren.

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    According to their Facebook page looks like it was the Mountain Trails Foundation clearing out dead trees

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    huh. Well, normally I'm a MTF fan, so let's hope they did it for a good reason. Could be dangerous deadfall type situations really ... some of those aspens are not that healthy given we've been pretty much in a drought for quite some time. haven't had a chance to ride it yet and see if it really makes that big of an impact or if you might hardly even notice.

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    Last edited by dmar123; 08-23-2016 at 07:38 AM.

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    John's has been getting "dumbed down" for years. It has been several years since they re-routed the trail away from the crux move over the bigger aspen roots. Also several of the tighter trees have been removed or the trail re-routed around them because they were too hard for some people. I am old but I love to ride tight trails. lets stop making things easier, learn to ride what is there or ride another trail,

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    I rode John's again yesterday, and it was all marked up with fluorescent orange paint for a race. I'm guessing that the aspen trees were chopped down for the race.

    Could be dangerous deadfall type situations really .
    I'm pretty sure that wasn't the case. I do not believe any of the aspen trees that were chopped down were going to fall over within the next five years. Their trunks were all smaller than the thickness of someone's leg, and the stumps looked healthy.

    Does anyone know if John's is on forest service land or private land?

    Thanks for the link Walt. I've done Team Big Bear to Flagstaff and Road to Ruby, so I'll go back up there and see if I can find the cutoff to Deer Camp.

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    There was a lot of orange paint on MM also. I was also noticing some blue paint. Not sure what that was about.
    '18 Scalpel Si Carbon 2 Eagle
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  22. #22
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    Paint was for the PCP2P. They have never cut down any trees there for the race before, so I would assume they are unrelated.

    John's seems fine to me. If only we had more trails built like it. Did some XC rides on Atalaya in Santa Fe last week and their XC is harder than anything on a double black at DV... really puts the tameness/sameness of the riding in PC in perspective!

    -Walt

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    The directions to Aspen Slalom at that link had me bushwhacking through the forest climbing over lots of downed trees only to find myself back at the start of the Flagstaff loop.

    For any one that is interested, if you get on Mid-Mountain at the Silver Lake Lodge, then take Team Big Bear to the Flagstaff loop and just ride the Flagstaff loop, then at the top of the Flagstaff loop, in the middle of big open grassy area, you will come to an intersection, and there is a sign that says Deer Camp. Simple.

    Deer Camp will cross Tidal Wave (there's an orange fence with warning signs that you have to go through), and from there you need to get to the top of Tidal Wave, so just take whatever trail you find that will keep you close to Tidal Wave. I ended up walking up a steep cat track on the downhill side of Tidal Wave, but I noticed some other riders cutting over on a trail above Tidal Wave.

    At the top of Tidal Wave, I asked a couple of downhillers how to get to Aspen Slalom, and they suggested I try going down Naildriver (it starts at the same spot as Tidal Wave) and work my way right whenever I could. Shortly, I came to a trail branching off to the right that was signed Sunset, and Sunset eventually intersected Aspen Slalom.

    I don't know if I was too far downhill at that point, but Aspen Slalom was way too short. Aspen Slalom dumped me out at the top of three or four signed trails, and I finished the descent by going down Plumber's Inn. A sign said it was a "freeride" trail, and I was curious to see what that meant. I thought Plumber's Inn was more interesting than Aspen Slalom--although it was too short as well.

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    You basically missed all of Aspen Slalom. Doh!

    -Walt

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    Well, how do I get to the top of Aspen Slalom? I thought I was at the top of Tidal Wave but maybe not. From where I was, I could see all the riders from the lift riding down from the top of the mountain down some switchbacks, and they all stop where I was sitting to get their GoPros ready and wait their turn to go down Tidal Wave or Naildriver.

    I gather I need to find a route up to the top of the lift.

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    Or take the lift, yup.

    -W

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    Quote Originally Posted by happyriding View Post
    Well, how do I get to the top of Aspen Slalom? I thought I was at the top of Tidal Wave but maybe not. From where I was, I could see all the riders from the lift riding down from the top of the mountain down some switchbacks, and they all stop where I was sitting to get their GoPros ready and wait their turn to go down Tidal Wave or Naildriver.

    I gather I need to find a route up to the top of the lift.
    If the lifts are running, the only decent way to the top of Aspen Slalom is the lift. On off-hours, you can ride up those switchbacks to the dirt road and go up it to the top of AS. As was said earlier, you missed most of, and all of the good parts, of Aspen Slalom. It gets easier and less fun the farther down you go. The top part is a hoot; steep, twisty and tech. Twist and Shout (aka Twitch and Pitch) would have been a better alternative from where you were coming off of Naildriver. I don't live there (wish I did) but I spend 2-4 weeks there a summer riding all those trails.

    And I think you were talking about Pedaler's Inn? Down at the junction to lower Fire Swamp, which would have been more fun.

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    I'm not sure if there's a good way to get to the start of AS without taking a lift. Last week I rode up team big bear to Flagstaff and (I think) Deer Camp Rd. I got pretty close to the top of Tidal Wave, but everything I saw above me was directional DOWN. If you can get on Ontario Canyon Rd, you should be able to make it. But I was never close to that one.
    Check out this map.

    map

    Another recommendation, install the Trail Forks app on your phone. I used that all week. They don't have every trail in their database, but they have most. And it's so easy to use compared to the huge paper map I carried last year.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post

    John's seems fine to me. If only we had more trails built like it. Did some XC rides on Atalaya in Santa Fe last week and their XC is harder than anything on a double black at DV... really puts the tameness/sameness of the riding in PC in perspective!

    -Walt
    That's cuz Atalaya is really a hiking trail. Sure, some people ride it, but it'd be about like riding the Silver Lake hiking trail at DV. A lot of it would be fun, a lot of it would be walked, and it'd for sure be the most tech trail in the area. But that's not apples to apples. The PC/DV single track is damn good for the amount of traffic it gets.

  30. #30
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    Okay, I got a run in on Aspen Slalom. The day after Labor Day there was nobody in the Silver Lake Lodge parking lot nor anywhere on the whole mountain. I didn't realize that the lifts only run on weekends(?).

    In my opinion, John's is a much higher quality trail than Aspen Slalom. The drops on Aspen Slalom require more technical skill, but the trail is just an ugly gash of loose dirt and rocks.

    I found a better way to get to the Tidal Wave/NailDriver entrance(below the switchbacks to the summit). After reaching the top of the Flagstaff loop, turn onto Deer Camp(well signed). Deer Camp then enters an aspen grove, and shortly after entering the aspen grove(less than 100 yards) look for a 180 degree turn to the right. If your mind wanders for a minute, you will miss the trail. It's a well worn trail, though, so if you are looking for it, and you are riding slowly, you will see it. After making the 180 degree right turn, the trail climbs up through the aspen grove, and then exits the aspen grove into a big open area above Tidal Wave--you can see the big table top jumps. The trail then traverses until it intersects Tidal Wave/Naildriver. If the lifts aren't running, you could walk your bike up the hikers trail, which is to the right as you look up at the summit. Or, take one of the trails up and aim for the prominent brown fence, which is an access road.

    Or, turn around and go back the way you came this time taking Road to Ruby(signed). There are some table top jumps along the way--but be careful, the trail is narrow, so you have to land precisely on narrow single track. Road to Ruby will take you back to the Flagstaff loop, and then you can complete the other half of the Flagstaff loop.

    They don't have every trail in their database, but they have most. And it's so easy to use compared to the huge paper map I carried last year.
    You forgot to mention that every time you open the paper map it tears on one of the seams. In my opinion, the map isn't worth the $5 donation. I'd rather pay $12.99 for one of those adventure maps that is made of waterproof paper that doesn't tear and includes descriptions of various loops with both aerobic and technical ratings of the loops.
    Last edited by happyriding; 09-07-2016 at 10:15 PM.

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    ^^^ Too bad Aspen Slalom wasn't "happyriding" for you (pun intended). But I think with the lack of rain the trail is a mess now. In normal conditions (more rain) it stays decently packed and is a pretty fun trail. Still tends to be loose and rough though. Old-school fun.

    And I've used that paper map all summer before and then used it again next summer without any problems. The 5 bucks is not so much for the map, but for the Mountain Trails Foundation, which does an outstanding job of maintaining/building most of the trails around there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    And I've used that paper map all summer before and then used it again next summer without any problems. The 5 bucks is not so much for the map, but for the Mountain Trails Foundation, which does an outstanding job of maintaining/building most of the trails around there.
    You mean I contributed money to the people who chopped down the trees on John's?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by happyriding View Post
    You mean I contributed money to the people who chopped down the trees on John's?!
    Yeah, shame on them for being proactive as opposed to letting them fall all over the trail and/or preventing other trees from flourishing. That trail is an abomination going down anyway, much better trail going up.

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    It sounds like you maybe should have picked "unhappyrider" as your username...

    Seriously, that's a metric ton of whining at this point. If you don't like the tree chopping, call up Charlie Sturgis (he'll talk to you, I guarantee) and maybe actually make a positive change.

    -Walt

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