American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation Announces Trail Partnership With Trek Foundation
The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) has partnered with the Trek Foundation to develop 17 miles of mountain bike trails at Mt. Telemark Village. The Trek Trails at Mt. Telemark Village will feature more than ten miles of enduro and downhill style trails and up to eight miles of cross-country trails. With a price tag around $1 million dollars, this partnership puts ABSF well on its way to making this vision a reality.
When ABSF purchased the Telemark property, planning for mountain bike trails ran parallel with plans to revamp ski trails, add a paved roller ski path and build a new Base Camp lodge. Modern flow and technical trails, combined with the already incredible CAMBA singletrack network, will make the Cable area a destination for off-road cycling. For more than a decade, mountain bikers have daydreamed about the potential for trails that exists at Mt. Telemark.
ABSF and the Trek Foundation, along with Traction Trail Worx and Rock Solid Trail Contracting, have developed a 4- phase plan that will take four to five years to complete. ABSF will only be using experienced, professional trail builders to deliver a world class mountain bike destination. Phase one was completed and open to the public during the late fall 2022. It features a beginner loop called "Once" which starts near the Birkie Trailhead, and an intermediate trail called "Evenflow" that connects to existing Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) trails.
"Our commitment to advocacy and to changing the world through cycling is long standing. The Trek Foundation accelerates this commitment to invest in great places to ride and helps build a future where everybody has access to experience the difference bicycles can make." said Trek Bicycle President, John Burke. "We are especially excited to bring the Trek Trails at Mt. Telemark Village to fruition here in our home state of Wisconsin."
Planning for phase two is underway and scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2023. Phase two will surround the historic Mt. Telemark ski area and connect existing cross-country trails with gravity-oriented downhill and enduro style trails. Phase two will cater to all ability levels and be accessible from the Base Camp outdoor center at Mt. Telemark Village. The Trek Trails at Mt. Telemark Village will be integrated with the CAMBA trail system to expand and build upon an already spectacular trail system.
From the start, ABSF identified five key goals:
VARIETY: A stacked loop trail system with cross-country, enduro, and downhill experiences that cater to all ages and skill levels (green, blue, and black difficulty levels) and creates a more complete local trail experience on par with the best surrounding regional trail systems
BIKE OPTIMIZATION: Trails optimized for mountain biking with a variety of cross-country, flow, technical, jump, and downhill trails
CONNECTIVITY: A trail system that connects into the existing CAMBA trails and ski trail network
PRACTICE AREAS: Bike park practice areas where new and experienced riders can grow and hone their skills. Bike park areas to include a balance bike track for kids, pump track, jump zone, drop zone, and technical skills loop
RACE VENUES: Trail routes that would accommodate cross-country races, NICA high school races, enduro races, and position Telemark to develop a national-caliber bike festival
With 300 feet of potential vertical elevation gain, there is more than enough elevation to develop a good mix of climbing and descending trails. Trail systems ideally need elevation and varying topography to create a variety of trails that meet the diversity of mountain bike riding styles. The Mt. Telemark Village property and surrounding Bayfield County Forest meet all those criteria.
In addition to the mileage of trails described above, there is a plan for a balance bike track for the youngest of riders, a pump track to be enjoyed by all, a skill-building loop, drop/jump zone, and a slopestyle area. This diverse set of amenities will put the Trek Trails at Mt. Telemark Village on all midwestern riders' bucket lists.
"The ABSF is committed to making investments that help fulfill our mission of getting people outside," said ABSF Executive Director Ben Popp. "We are excited to build the amenities and infrastructure that will continue to have an incredible health and economic impact on the surrounding area. We could not do that without the help of partners like the Trek Foundation."
Access to the Trek Trails at Mt. Telemark Village will be free. Cyclists and trail enthusiasts are encouraged to support the continued development and stewardship of the trails by becoming a sustaining member of the ABSF through its non profit status. Supporters may also donate specifically to phase two of Mt. Telemark Village.
The Trek Trails at Mt. Telemark Village will also be an integral part of the Birkie One initiative, which aims to make skiing, running, and cycling more diverse and accessible for underserved communities. A satellite trail is planned for the Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) school property, just outside of Hayward, WI. Students in this community will have access to trails right from their school grounds.