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City asks IRRRB for $298,000 to develop nine-mile mountain bike system at Hidden Valley

by Tom Coombe -
A popular ski area could become a year-round recreation hub, and perhaps a major draw to the area, if plans that were advanced this week come to fruition.
Ely council members voted to seek just under $300,000 from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board to develop 9.1 miles of mountain bike trails at Hidden Valley.
The request was recommended by the city’s projects committee and follows months of discussion by the committee, council members and bike enthusiasts.
“Dr. (Scott) Anderson and the ski club have been developing this for a while,” said Harold Langowski, the city’s clerk-treasurer and operations director.
The city is turning to the IRRRB to provide $298,000 to build 9.1 miles of trails at the popular ski area, for cyclists of all skill levels.
Six loops would be developed for riders to practice and hone techniques, with easier loops closest to the trailhead and more difficult loops further away.
All intersections would coincide with existing ski trail intersections and the trails will be designed to be “fat bike” friendly to accommodate the growing winter cycling activity.
The project signals an effort to cash in on a fast-growing mountain bike movement in the region, and supporters say Ely is a natural fit for mountain biking, given its current tourism infrastructure as well as the existing Hidden Valley recreation complex with its chalet, parking area and outdoor toilet.
A Colorado-based designer retained for the project says Ely has “extraordinary terrain” and that the area’s natural beauty “sets the stage for a phenomenal mountain biking area”
Design for the project has been funded by private donations, and the city would provide in-kind staff services to administrate it.

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