For all the joy I get from riding the trails around Crested Butte, I should be out doing trail work every day. Alas, I never do as much as I should … but this past weekend’s trail workday on sections of the Lower Loop and Budd Trail provided ample opportunity for the community and myself to pitch in.
With busy season in the Butte approaching, the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association and Crested Butte Land Trust collaborated with volunteers from the community to buff out what can be a high-traffic recreation area. Neither of these trails was in terrible shape per se, they just needed a little love. Erosion was taking a toll and rider-created spurs had appeared in low and shaded areas where water and snow lingers into spring. Roots were exposed in places, forming web-like, tire-eating obstacles. Rock gardens renowned for causing pinch flats and pedal grabs had grown spikier over the years and harder to navigate for the beginners and intermediates that often frequent the Lower Loop.
By 10:30 a.m. crews were spread out along the trails, tools in hand and a mission in mind. I worked with a large crew of folks to build a berm and install a new crossover on the Budd Trail. We moved a lot of rock with less tech than the Egyptians had when building the pyramids. We hacked at the rocky terra firma to excavate soil from “borrow pits,” shoveled it into buckets, ferried it to the trail and then layered the dirt along the berm’s belly and upper wall like chocolate frosting on a boulder cake. The downhill bank-turn got some love too, adding a little more flow with the new crossover installed. About five hours after dirt started flying, the after-party kicked off. Beer from New Belgium, pizza from the Brick Oven, live music and a mega raffle capped off the day.
24 hours later I rode the Lower up to the Budd; for the most part the trails remained the same but they rode fast and a bit smoother after a tune-up. Carving the fresh berms felt like railing a powder turn—soft-yet-supportive, fast and fluid. And when you had a hand in building said berm, the sense of satisfaction runs a little deeper. [words + photos] Mike Horn