#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 8

One Finger On The Brakes

Last week we talked about the merits of learning to use both your front and rear brake together. This week we’d like to remind you to use only one finger on the lever while braking. Just like you wouldn’t use two feet to brake in your car, you don’t need that much lever pressure to slow your bike. Braking with one finger allows for better modulation and allows you to brake smoothly without locking up your wheels. With today’s bike technology and hydraulic disc brakes, you’ll have better braking sensitivity using only one finger. The key to feeling comfortable using only one finger is to move your levers in so that your one finger lines up on the end of the lever. This creates maximum leverage, giving you the confidence and power to use only one finger.

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We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 7

Don’t Fear Your Front Brake

Maybe you’ve come out of a corner, overusing your front brake, and washed out. Maybe you’ve had the dreaded “over the bars” crash – you decided then and there to never touch your front brake again. It might be tempting to rely solely on your back brake for stopping power. However, not utilizing 100% of your stopping power can create an out of control sensation and encourages skidding. Your front brake accounts for approximately 70% of your bike’s stopping power. If you’re only using the back brake, you’re not taking full advantage of all of the control that your bike has to offer. The key is using both brakes together with a smooth touch as well as making sure to shift your hips and bottom back under braking. By moving back under braking you make it safe to use the front brake and make the back brake work better. Practice this out on the street and down gentle hills to get more comfortable and then start trying it on your favorite trails.

LB2015.08.13.frontbrake1Many riders fear the front brake

LB2015.08.13.frontbrake2However, if you learn to use your front brake together with your back brake, your bike (and riding) will thank you.

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Doug demonstrates riding back under braking. This position provides a secure place from which to counter the stopping power of your front brake. Practice getting here from cruising in neutral position by slowly applying pressure to both brakes and bringing your hips and bottom back.

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You’ll feel the same after mastering this simple and powerful skill

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

Passion and Energy Produce Great Music

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It often takes a leader filled with vision, passion and dedication to make something big happen and this is why Mountain Town Music (MTM) is shining such a bright light over the entire Park City Community. The man behind this wonderful story is Brian Richards, MTM’s Executive Director, who prefers to be called “Community Conductor of Musical Affairs.” I recently caught up with him to understand how music rocks all of us, from Deer Valley Resort to the most remote corners of Summit County.

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JF: How was Mountain Town Music started?

Brian Richards: It was originally started by Randy Barton, around the 2002 Olympics, under the “Mountain Town Stages” name. At first, the organization literally built stages that fitted perfectly with their surroundings. Most of them were set on Main Street, near bars and restaurants, working as self sustaining outdoor music patios. Eventually, theses stages spread to surrounding rural communities.

JF: What caused you to get involved?

Brian Richards: I owned Orion Music Shop, a record store and was also involved with the Park City Film Series as one of the original founders and board members. I saw a great, untapped potential for Mountain Town Stages. I became interested and after a few years, and felt that I should get involved so I stepped in and took the lead.

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JF: When was this?

Brian Richards: I think around 2009. When I realized how low my first paycheck was, I became motivated to grow the little nonprofit organization so it could reach out beyond Park City, deep into Summit County. Mountain Town Stages was a grassroots organization from the start. People loved it because they felt it was something that they owned. In 2011 we decided to change the name from Mountain Town Stages to Mountain Town Music. We were no longer just building stages, but focused on providing the community with live music.

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JF: How much has MTM grown since then?

Brian Richards: This year we have programmed 197 community musical performances. Each one of these events is not a big concert like the ones we have every Wednesday night at Deer Valley Resort. Some of them are smaller, like the one in Peoa, or when solo performers are involved on Main Street. About 80% to 90% of our performances take place between June 10 and September 30. We’ll have a few more events scattered during the fall and the winter season at various venues.

JF: My favorite venue is the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater at Deer Valley Resort, on Wednesdays. How is that free concert series working out for you?

Brian Richards: That venue is absolutely fantastic! The popular Wednesday night concert series was moved in 2008 from City Park to Deer Valley’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater. This natural amphitheater is awesome; you see everybody there. Whether you come on your own, as a couple holding hands, a family or a 70 person group, it’s Park City’s gathering place! You see people dancing, hula-hooping; it embodies everything Mountain Town Music is all about. The hill lends itself perfectly for music and creates that beautiful vibe. This beautiful setting epitomizes everything we want to accomplish. We want to program live music that is happy, fun and makes you feel like you want to dance and get personally into the act. In fact, it’s all the energy from the people around that fuels me, keeps me happy and rolling all summer.

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JF: Whenever possible, I attend this show and am amazed at its growing popularity. How many people generally attend a typical Wednesday night concert at Snow Park?

Brian Richards: It can range anywhere from a crowd of 1,000 when the weather is threatening, to 4,000 when the sun is shinning. I think we had 4,500 people for the “Changing Lanes Experience” concert, earlier this summer. Crowds can be huge!

JF: Does it get to you when the audience is socializing more than listening to the music?

Brian Richards: It’s not just about the music. Some people get discouraged because there’s so much talking and distractions but at the end of the day, we’re here to put on a show for everyone. It’s the community’s local gathering, the music is the bonus. The concert is the place where people can meet and chat with their friends. This an opportunity to decompress, play with your kids and enjoy a glass of wine. I see it as a social gathering that just happens to feature some music. The music will eventually get to you, set you free, pull you in and you’ll end up dancing!

JF: What has changed in your concerts this year?

Brian Richards: This is actually the first year that we’ve tried to feature some artists that aren’t necessarily locals. For the past 15 years, it’s always been all local artists but now we’re sprinkling a few non-local bands to broaden the quality of the experience. We’ve debated a lot about this. The town has grown so much that there’s room for more musical diversity and for some extra growth by staying true to our roots.

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JF: With so many free concerts, how can you sustain your organization?

Brian Richards: Again, we’re a true community organization. It takes a village to do what we do. We’re sustained by grants, like the Summit County Recreation Arts and Parks tax, the Restaurant tax, the Park City Foundation, Promontory Foundation and Rotary Club to name just a few. We’re also supported by other entities, like the Park Silly Market or the Arts Festival that pay us to promote our free concerts. We have sponsors and of course we have the public donations that support us. When I say we’re a community organization, we truly are supported by everybody, which is very cool!

JF: Are there other ski towns that come close to what you do?

Brian Richards: I have seen nothing in the Rocky Mountain region, or in the country, that does as much as we do on the scale of what we accomplish per capita. Until someone proves me wrong, we’re unique!

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JF: With the end of summer rapidly approaching, do you have some advice for our readers?

Brian Richards: Go out and enjoy all of what Mountain Town Music has to offer. Beginning with the Wednesday concerts at Deer Valley Resort, go on a Thursday to Newpark and enjoy that venue, on Fridays you can go out to Peoa, UT and listen to some country music and on Saturdays stroll to the Miner’s Park and discover a solo singer-song writer.

On Sundays you can  join us at the Park Silly Market on Main Street. Mondays go to City Park to hear some world-class chamber musicians. What’s really cool with our offering is that everything is different and all of the venues are amazing, each one with something special to offer!

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 6

Soft Pedaling

Soft pedaling is what we refer to as making your feet feel light in order to pedal into a clean gear change. When approaching a steep incline we want to make as many gear changes prior to the hill. However, when that inevitable gear change happens on the hill you want to focus your weight onto your seat and bottom and not mash down hard on the pedals while shifting to an easier gear. Clean gear changes are important in maintaining your bike’s longevity and not wearing on its drive train. You shouldn’t hear harsh noises or gears jumping around while shifting, keep it light and smooth.

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Here Doug exaggerates mashing all of his weight onto his pedals by standing while biking uphill. Soft pedaling as a concept is more of a feeling, which is hard to illustrate through a photograph. It’s a tool you’ll find useful in correcting that awful crunch sound of an abrupt gear shift. You know the one I’m talking about, the sound that makes you cringe thinking you’ve just broken your chain.

LB2015.08.06.soft.editAgain, it’s hard to describe this week’s concept with a photograph. Here Doug bikes uphill and focuses his weight on his seat and bottom, making his feet feel light, like a feather. This allows for a smooth gear shift, one that’s music to your ears.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

Glade Skiing at Deer Valley Resort

If you ever skied the X-Files or Triangle Trees, you have experienced the impressive glading work performed by Deer Valley Resort over the last two decades. For those not familiar with glade skiing, it means roaming freely through sparse trees in what used to be a denser forest. Many love glade skiing for its serenity, its fun, its challenge and for its fresh powder caches that remain shaded and sheltered for weeks.

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To measure the resort’s commitment to glading, I met with Chuck English, Deer Valley’s Director of Mountain Operations. “It all began twenty years ago after we built the Northside Express chairlift; we wanted to create more powder opportunities,” recalled Chuck. At that time, the Utah State Forester came to Deer Valley to evaluate the entire mountain. After dividing it into specific sections, he shared his assessment about the forest stand that, in his view, was too tight. He called the excessive treed areas “dog hair stands”, and offered to paint the standing dead, or sick trees that needed to be pulled.

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This is how glading began at Deer Valley. Not only did the prescribed cut improve the health of the forest, but Chuck and his associates immediately realized that they could easily ski through the openings they had just created. The work began with an area located skier’s right off Solid Muldoon ski run, where the stand of trees was particularly thick. The next summer saw the turn of the Sunset Glade and some of the Black Forest, off of Perseverance Bowl, that needed some serious clearing too.

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In subsequent summers, as the State Forester could no longer work directly with the resort, a crew of several year-round employees who knew the mountain inside-out, who were all very good skiers and chainsaw experts, was formed to continue the glading work. Over the years, that sawyer’s team evolved. At some point, the resort’s top level ski instructors were part of it and today, it’s made of a couple of snow making supervisors and snow grooming supervisors. Deer Valley’s snow grooming manager currently heads the group.

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The planning begins in the spring when Chuck English and the sawyers ski around the resort to spot where more glades can be added. A considerable amount of time is also spent taking input from Ski Patrol who probably know the mountain better than anyone else. Glading is a whole summer project. The team begins to work at the beginning of June and continues until October. The workday is 10 straight, long hours, four days a week, as work sites are generally difficult to access.

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Sawyers do more than just glading, though. They’re also responsible for cutting the lift line when a new chairlift is installed, they may be called to cut or maintain ski trails, clear trees and branches fallen by windstorms and also perform maintenance on existing glades, just to keep up with new growth. The process is quite involved, demands a sound knowledge of the forest and of the skiing terrain.

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Sawyers need to keep a meaningful variety of trees of all ages. Remarks English: “Once trees aren’t too tight, they tend to do very well and flourish. Glading is an opportunity to remove trees infested with parasites and protect healthy ones from contagion. Trees are one of our best mountain amenities!”

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There is a conscious effort to identify different areas with the best glading potential. Each Deer Valley mountain has its prime spots; for example, Empire has the X-Files and Anchor Trees. Lady Morgan has Centennial Trees, Flagstaff has Ontario Bowl, Bald Mountain has Sunset Glade, Triangle Trees, and so on. Deer Valley’s sawyers try to keep most of their work above 8,000 feet. On steep and less accessible areas, the wood is left on the ground, cut into rounds small enough to lay flat, creating habitats for many animals. The dry fuel is removed to minimize fire hazard and, where accessible, the timber is pulled out and used for firewood in the Deer Valley lodges.

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Unlike most western ski areas, Deer Valley Resort is located on private land. Glading wouldn’t be as easy to perform if the resort were on National Forest land. It would be possible, but would take significantly more time due to administrative rules and regulations. The sawyers have gotten skilled at knowing how to open things up. “Glading is as much as an art as it is a technique”, said Chuck. “A glade that is too open promotes moguls, something you want to avoid. Straight-line clearing isn’t desirable either. A ‘maze’ pattern is preferable to create a much more diverse and interesting skiing experience.”

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While glade skiing generally requires more skills than open-terrain, Deer Valley wants more of its intermediate skiers to enjoy tree skiing. This is where some areas like Sunset Glade or the X-Files get a lot of its sawyers’ attention. They are on moderate grade and can be designed to be very user friendly and accessible to most skiers skills.

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One great benefit of Deer Valley’s 930 acres of glade skiing is that they act as a reservoir of powder, as snow stays fresh longer in these sheltered areas. In addition, tight glades retain most of the snow on tree branches and requires twice as much snowfall to accumulate as much cover as that of open meadows.

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In the fall, sawyers are asked by ski instructors and eager skiers wanting to know where the brand-new powder stashes will be found. Very little information percolates out of these early-season queries, as a shroud of mystery traditionally hang upon any new “powder lode.” Eventually, the secret gets out. As Chuck concludes, “our Mountain Hosts do a great job broadcasting these secrets, especially those assigned to the expert mountain tour.”

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 5

Low

Rounding out the “Four Ls” is remembering to ride low through corners and technical terrain. You give yourself a more stable platform when riding with your ankles, knees and elbows bent as opposed to standing tall and rigid. Think about how high off of the ground your bike already is – adding height by standing too tall can lead to tipping and general instability. Keeping your chest down low with your elbows out creates a stable, low center of mass. Remember to corner like a Porsche, not a monster truck.  LB2015.07.30.lowcropped

Doug demonstrates how the neutral position is a good starting point from which to get low.

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Here Doug gets low from turn initiation through it’s belly, keeping his center of mass closer to the ground, which allows for stable steering.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

 

 

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 4

Level

The third of the “Four Ls,” “level,” refers to keeping your torso and shoulders relatively level to the ground and not letting them dip into the turn and/or inside the bike. You want to move your bike laterally under you, leaning your bike, not your body. Riders often get into trouble when they lean their bodies into a flat non bermed turn causing a loss of traction and/or balance. Remembering to stay level will help you avoid this pitfall. Of course, there are times when leaning your body can be useful, but in general there are few negatives in staying level.

LB2015.07.73 goodlevelcroppedIn the above image Doug is letting the bike move laterally under him, keeping his torso “quiet.”

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The image above is an example of tipping into and being inside of the turn. Doug is demonstrating incorrect technique in this image.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 3

Loose

Our second “L,” “loose,” is all about letting the bike work under you. As in any athletic endeavor, it’s important to keep your body loose while biking. In allowing your arms and legs to move long and short you gain more suspension than just what’s on your bike. Having a death grip on your handle bars and riding rigid will only leave your body fatigued and you will constantly get thrown off balance. The looser you ride, the more fun you’ll have moving with the terrain, not bracing against it.

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Doug allows his body to work with the terrain, flexing and extending through the trail’s rollers.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

Kicking Off Summer – White Water Rafting With All Seasons Adventures

Summer may be a season but it’s also an attitude.

Grabbing lunch is suddenly transformed to more than a meal but an experience with al fresco dining or an impromptu picnic. Forget sitting inside or at your kitchen counter – you want to be outside enjoying the sun and the fresh air.

Summer changes our outlook to where we want to get outdoors, try new things, and make every hour of sunshine count.

The question is, how do we kick off summer in the best way possible? Is it an ice cream cone?  A day at the pool?  Perhaps an outdoor concert with a picnic and your best friends?

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My husband Jay and I decided to kick off our summer with a white water rafting trip with All Season’s Adventures.

What better way to enjoy a summer day than hot sun, cold water and an experienced river guide named KaiLin?

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We drove about 45 minutes from Park City on Highway 89 to the Weber River where All Seasons Adventures puts in their rafts. (Transportation is available for Deer Valley guests, of course.)

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After greeting our guide, securing our life jackets, and listening to a safety lesson, we were ready to head out on the river. Our trip was about 2 1/2 hours of rafting down the Weber River. Since this is a Class II whitewater river, we were engaged and active paddlers with just the right amount of excitement on the river!

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The Weber river trip kept our interest because there are three distinct parts of the trip. During the farmland portion, we returned the gaze of a few horses as we viewed working farms as well as some vintage farm equipment from our vantage point on the river.

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After passing a more industrial section, we were treated to the gorgeous red rock mountain views that Utah is famous for. We passed rock arches and rock formations called “Devil’s Slide.”

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We had the chance to get a little wet as we hit a few rapids.

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We had to duck under a low bridge.

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Our guide had us spinning through waterfalls and navigating a “rock garden” in our raft. With her seven years experience on the water, she had no problem anticipating the flow of water around bends, over rocks and under trees.

With some directions like, “Pull two” or “backwards one” she skillfully had us negotiating our river journey with ease.

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You can see by the smiles on our faces that we had a great time.

It’s now official: it’s summertime!

For more information on whitewater rafting with with All Season’s Adventures, click here.

 

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 2

Look

“Look” is the first of what we like to call the “Four L’s.” For both inexperienced and experienced riders a common tendency is to look just ahead of your front wheel.  This does not allow you to anticipate what is coming next and makes us ride defensively. Being able to anticipate line choice and braking zones as well as the looking through corners and technical zones of the trail are the keys to a successful ride. So keep your chin up and your eyes down the trail.

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Doug demonstrates how to look beyond your front tire. His bike is turning but his eyes are already looking to the next part of the trail.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.