Mountain Trails Foundation debuts new home in old clinic and Pulp Friction trail
August 9, 2018
In April, the Mountain Trails Foundation moved into its new headquarters at 1665 Bonanza Dr. after a nine-month period without a home base. On Monday, the nonprofit, which builds and maintains trails around Park City, hosted a group ride to introduce one of its new trails and gave attendees a tour around the new facility.
The ride started at the foundation's Bonanza headquarters, crossed Kearns then rode to the Matt's Flatt Trailhead, and up Cammy's Trail to Rademan Ridge trail and the top of the new directional downhill trail, called Pulp Friction, a play on Quentin Tarantino's 1994 crime drama classic.
It was finished in early July, but trail builders didn't want to open it until it had been packed down by rain.
"One of the worst things you can do with a brand new trail is have a few hundred people ride it with no moisture in it," said Rick Fournier, Mountain Trails' field manager.
But word had gotten out.
A series of rainstorms had helped compact it by then, Fournier said. Someone from TrailForks, an online mountain biking trail database, called Mountain Trails asking about a phantom trail showing up on a mountain biking app's map showing where cyclists were riding.
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"Next thing I know, Utah Mountain Biking has a video with drone footage with someone riding the trail," Fournier said. "After that it was a done deal. It was official after that point, which is fine."
But not everyone on the ride on Monday had ridden the trail before, so at the top of the Pulp Friction, Fournier answered a few questions about it. He said the directional downhill trail was about a mile and a half long, that he had no idea what the elevation drop was (Mountain Trails' website says more than 400 feet), but the trail was built to make a loop with the nearby Happy Gilmore and Tin Man trails. Fournier also said the trail was one of the projects he was most proud of in the area.
"There was a lot of handwork involved," he said, adding that the elbow sweat expended would be apparent in the ride, which sends riders around high banked turns and berms while looking out over the Snyderville Basin.
At the bottom, Fournier and the organization's trail building crew were met with applause.
"I thought it sets a new standard for fun at Round Valley, and I already love the trails at Round Valley," said Linda George, a longtime rider. "I like that it's similar to the new Downward Dog, but it's steeper, with bigger berms, but also some nice cruiser flow and some bumps, and just really fun."
Devrin Carlson-Smith, another avid mountain biker on the ride, concurred.
"It just flowed, created weightlessness and felt like a perfect addition to the whole Round Valley ecosystem," he said.
When the cyclists got back to 1665 Bonanza, Executive Director Charlie Sturgis gave a tour of the facility, which used to be an Intermountain Instacare clinic near the Maverik gas station on Bonanza. Most of the old medical signage still hangs inside, including labels for each doorway. Exam rooms were filled with boxes of maps and race prizes.
"This is the first time we've ever had 95 percent of our stuff under one roof," Sturgis said, showing a group of visitors through the building. "We have had (storage in) Wanship, Promontory, Quinn's, and our homes. That's the way Mountain Trails has been running for 25 years. Now, people can come find us easily instead of trying to find where our homes are. Also, we didn't 100 percent know what we had because it was in various places."
As he passed the former exam rooms, Sturgis, a mountain biker and rock climber, commented that he had probably been in every one of them at one time or another for various injuries he's sustained.
He led the group into the room that leads out into the ambulance bay, which Fournier said was one of the best assets of the building because of the loading and unloading ease it allows.
"This is the stitch 'em up area," Sturgis told the group. "(Where clinicians conducted) X-rays and set breaks."
Now it is full of race equipment and tools. Buckets of loppers, racks of rakes; chainsaws and hardhats hanging from the wall in an interior room.
"With easy access to all our equipment, being able to load and unload, it's hugely different from what we were working with before," Sturgis said. "We had (stuff) everywhere. That's all you can say about it."
Mountain Trails was previously housed in an old fire station on Woodside in Old Town, which was leveled to build affordable housing last year. Before that the foundation has operated out of the Miners Hospital Community Center and the Park City Recreation building. For nine months over the past two years the organization has operated out of storage units and its members' houses, until the city granted Mountain Trails use of the old clinic starting in April.
The situation isn't permanent – at least, not on paper. The building is zoned for arts and culture use, and eventually the plan is to clear the plot for that purpose. But Sturgis is betting that the wheels of bureaucracy will turn slowly.
"I've been through the building of the Montage and that whole deal, and Main Street and whatnot, and it all just takes a long time to get everyone to agree to certain things," Sturgis said, referring to several projects around town.
He's hoping that the Foundation has at least a semi-permanent home, and with no sign of action on zoning, and a 90-day notice agreement with the city in case the Foundation needs to move, Sturgis thinks he has found it.
"I joked about it years ago saying, 'We've got to bring 25 years of couch surfing to an end,'" Sturgis said, "And we are."
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