Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Duluth, the new Whistler?

Ok maybe that is a stretch but it definitely has the potential of being the true hot spot of the Midwest, the epicenter of MN/Midwest mountain biking. With the Duluth Traverse getting under way and when that is finished they will have over 100 miles of single track in side the city limits. Then there is Spirit mountain that currently has two completed runs (closed to the public till spring) and will be the first and only full time lift access bike park in the Midwest. It will most likely run Friday afternoon through Sunday night once they open. There are big plans for expansion, however it is kind of up in the air right now on total runs I've heard 5 to 25 so who knows but if they get 10-15 solid runs they will be very successful in my opinion as there will be nothing on that level around here. They are working with 700ft of usable vertical and a high speed quad lift.
I know it is technically not in Duluth but Mont du Lac, just south of Superior WI is very close and they are moving very quickly to offer the area an alternative to Spirit Mountain. As of right now they are not lift access but are offering shuttle runs. They are working with something just north of 300 vertical feet so a fair amount shorter but to my understanding the terrain is steeper and they are on private property so are really only limited by the owners and how much insurance they want to pay. The bonus for them is that they are in WI and WI has much looser insurance regulations. I have also heard the rumor that they may be moving to lift access in the near future for sure.
Either way, two legit down hill/gravity/free ride areas with in a short trip from each other and 100 plus miles of single track can make for a great mountain bike scene. Through on top of that one of the strongest dirt jump scenes in the state and a rather large college you have a good mix for potential growth. There is a great organization in COGGS backing this program and the regional IMBA rep is located in Duluth and is supporting this project with all his might.
There are other rumors of a new bike park being built in Duluth loosely modeled after Superior Bike Park in CO and my very own creating the Lexington Street Bike Park.
Exciting things are to come so stay tuned in and help support the local bike shops and organizations MORC, IMBA and COGGS, they are really what make it happen, so if you aren't a member join IMBA or your local club.
Tides are changing and soon very soon I think you will see some seriously bad ass trails developing!

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