“From an elevation standpoint, from a topography standpoint, from an access standpoint, from a weather standpoint, basically, all the things that you would look for in a development like this, the property meets those criteria.”– Phil Bouchard, Co-Founder of Full Send Bike Ranch.
The Full Send Bike Ranch in Conifer, Colorado could create a mountain bike haven in the Centennial State. Co-Founders Phil Bouchard and Jason Evans are aiming to create the first chairlift serviced mountain that is used solely for mountain biking. While resorts like Winter Park and Steamboat Resort have mountain biking, they serve skiers and riders during the winter. The bike park will include a base lodge, chairlift, sixteen miles of trails, and an eight hundred and thirty-foot vertical drop.
According to the Denver Gazette, locals aren’t too keen on the proposal though. One reason is that the bike park will be accessed by a narrow two-lane road that saw one death and twenty-six car accidents from 2011 to 2013. Secondly, there is concern about the number of injuries from the park that would overload local health care services. A direct comparison is Highland Mountain Biking Park in New Hampshire, which saw “256 medical incidents were reported and 53 ambulance transports” in the 2020 season. The bike park is planning on having a medical facility and personnel on-site, as well as a helicopter landing pad. Thirdly, there are concerns about the risk of forest fires, but the bike park is planning on extensive fire mitigation projects. Another concern that I’ve found is it’s extremely close to Denver, with it being less than an hour away from what will be the majority of its customer base. On the other hand, the bike park is planning on limiting ticket sales.
A petition from Change.com has over three thousand signatures requesting that the bike park not be built. The creator of the petition, Stop Full Send Ranch, LLC, said their opposition “is about environmental concerns and safety concerns. We totally understand that there might be a need and a desire that the developers have to build a downhill bike facility, nobody objects to that. But what we’re very concerned about, and our opposition, is based on the fact that it would be an incredible safety detriment to us, and it would ruin that beautiful meadow.”
The bike park is submitting their formal zoning application soon and will have meetings with the Jefferson County Planning Commission this summer. Traffic and environmental studies will be done to see if they are legitimate concerns. If they get approval from Jefferson County and the State Land Board after public hearings, the Full Send Bike Ranch is hoping to open in late 2023 and be fully developed by 2024.
Here’s a video detailing some of the concerns of the opposition:
Image Credits: Full Send Bike Ranch