Video: Braydon Bringhurst & Christina Chappetta's First Impressions of Snowmass Bike Park

May 2, 2022
by Pinkbike Originals  
The view from atop Elk Camp Chair is something special.

First Impressions: Snowmass Bike Park
Riders: Christina Chappetta & Braydon Bringhurst // Video: Christina Chappetta, Whit Boucher & Steve Karczewski // Photography: Brooks Curran
Presented by Snowmass Bike Park.

With travelling back on the menu last summer, Christina jumped at the opportunity to head back to her old stomping ground of Colorado for a quick visit and to lay her tires on some of that perfect Rocky Mountain singletrack. The air can be a bit thin up there, but the views and trails make it all worth it. As Christina's summer had been full of adventures, she only had one day at Snowmass Bike Park to sample as many of the amazing trails as possible. Luckily for her though, we sent Braydon Bringhurst in for a recon mission so he could let her know what to add to the hit list to make the most of her day on the mountain. Below are some pictures from his epic day out in the high alpine evergreen forest and Aspen groves ahead of Christina's arrival.

It's always more fun to shred with friends, so joining Christina in the bike park were two Aspen legends, both on bikes and skis. Whit Boucher is known around town for being quite fast and quite extreme, to say the least. He's the kind of guy that enjoys hiking 14,000+ foot mountains, on skis or bikes. And Steve is a local favorite anywhere he goes, ski boot fitter in the winter, friendly Four Mountain Sports employee in the summer, and always down for a good time! The guy is wicked fast as well! They both know the Snowmass Bike Park like the back of their hand which was quite handy for Christina. With just one day and a ton of trails to hit, it was helpful to have an experienced wheel to follow, even if Christina wasn't too sure if she could trust them yet or not.

The Snowmass Bike Park is located within only one of seven Gold Level IMBA Ride centres in the world. It's almost like a bike park within a bike park where there are the usual downhill trails, easily accessed via the Elk Camp Gondola and chairlift, but there are also XC style trails and ascending trails scattered throughout. Snowmass even hosted the Enduro World Series back in 2016, although a lot has changed since then. The bike park crew has made it their mission to continue to expand each year and it shows, with tons of new trails to please everyone from the most novice of bikers to the expert level riders that want fast, techy trails and big jumps. One of the many crowd favorites has to be French Press, the mountain's longest machine-built trail at 4.4 miles long with a descent of 2,100 vertical feet. Designed to be a blue freeride trail, this one truly had something for everyone and kept the heart rate up while the smile dial was fully maxed out. What's not to love about perfectly flowing singletrack?

After uploading the Elk Camp Gondola from Snowmass Village, situated above 8,000 feet elevation, you arrive at a mid-mountain point. This is pretty helpful once the hands started to get tired and shorter laps are necessary, as well as being handy for those snack or lunch breaks. It's also convenient because the upper and lower mountains offer slightly different terrain options. You can pick and choose based on how you're feeling. Christina, Whit and Steve couldn't miss the chance to see the Maroon Bells from the top of the Elk Camp Chairlift, situated at 11,325 feet so a fair few thousand feet of descending were on the agenda! From the top, everyone drops into Vapor before funnelling off to other options including Animal Crackers, French Press and eventually a new intermediate tech trail called Dust Bunny.

Following a pit-stop at Limelight Snowmass to fuel up the bodies, it was back on the hill to crush out some lower mountain laps. It was difficult to pull Christina, Whit and Steve away from the jump trails like Valhalla and Gonzo, but they managed to sample some of the black diamond tech trails which would challenge the best downhill riders, especially at speed. Surprisingly though, Christina's favorite section of trail was Papa Smurf, a new blue tech trail that is short in length but a super fun, tight section of singletrack that connects you back to the top of the gondola instead of the mountain base.

With the crew focused on riding as many trails as possible and nothing but blue skies ahead, it was time to hit the singletrack. Follow along for our First Impressions.

Aspen... where the beer flows like... perfectly built singletrack ribbons of dirt.

All trails off the top of the Elk Camp Chairlift start at Vapor. It's a perfect warm up to get the blood flowing and start clocking those air miles.

No shortage of insane, but distracting, views on the fast and flowy singletrack.

Bit uncommon to see Braydon with both wheels on the ground.

Dust Bunny, providing the blue tech fun, and perfect light.

Wildflowers and Maple groves... you almost forget you're in a bike park.

Valhalla, need we say more.

Tons of options for a quick snack or full course lunch to get you fuelled up and back on the trails in no time.

The Valhalla jump trail feels a bit like a speedwarp through the Aspen trees, and we loved it.

Sampling the Gonzo updates Braydon Bringhurst approves

Turn n Berm.

Bit of the smoother singletrack to mix it up and give the hands a quick rest before dropping into the lower mountain gnar.

Keepin it tight, but loose, on Battle Axe.

Sampling the Gonzo updates Braydon Bringhurst approves
Plenty of literal pieces of art to ride on or over for the freeride lovers at Snowmass Bike Park. Gonzo trail (left) and Valhalla trail (right).

Maroon Bells
The local wildlife capturing our feelings after a couple full days at the Snowmass Bike Park
Until next time Colorado.

Bike Snowmass mountain biking trails


  • 76 0
 Maple groves? Pinkbike, your Canadian is showing... dem's Aspens, bru
  • 23 0
 Lemme get some of that Aspen maple syrup...
  • 28 0
 @dlstucki: The rare Colorado white bark small leaf maple
  • 9 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: The rare Colorado Quaking Maple
  • 28 4
 HAAAA I'm LOL did I write that?? Dunno, gonna keep it
  • 7 0
 that wide photo with the aspens and the wood feature. Love.
  • 3 0
 @garrettstories: came here to say that. Makes me want to go just from that photo.
  • 37 1
 Huge thanks to Snowmass Bike Park for hosting me last summer. Missing those views from rainy Whistler now. And mega thanks to Braydon for banging out the photos for us
  • 3 1
 Yet no pics CC? What gives?
  • 8 0
 Those photos are incredible!
  • 5 1
 God dam, those pics are amazing. Serious talent there.
  • 3 1
 @KK11: Super sadness but I truly only had 1 day haha so it was LAPS!!! on laps on laps... no time for photos.
  • 2 0
 Yes the pic of the Wood jump in the Aspens is beautiful.
  • 3 0
 Steve the Pirate slays. Should see him ski pow.
  • 29 2
 Some place warm. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talking about a little place called Aspen.
  • 4 0
 It is a silly place.
  • 7 0
 I don’t know Lloyd the French are…
  • 7 0
 Wow, look at the buns on that
  • 7 0
 @enis: he must workout
  • 4 0
 Where beer costs as much as wine**
  • 7 0
 No, it’s a cardigan. Thanks for noticing!
  • 5 0
Killer boots man
  • 4 1
 Swallows not salmon LOL
  • 27 2
 Hype! What a great riding area. I mean; CO sux try Arkansas.
  • 1 0
 Loved it there. So much good riding in that zone. Always keen to return!
  • 3 10
flag cougar797 (May 2, 2022 at 11:26) (Below Threshold)
 No dang it! AR sucks, you should deff bike vacation in CO!
  • 6 0
 @cougar797: that depends on if you want to Mountain Bike or Trail Bike...
  • 1 4
 @Whataboutism: Nope sucks regardless. Everyone should stay in CO. Smile
  • 5 0
 @cougar797: Is anyone leaving CO to go bike in AR? I guess if they have a hardtail and want to ride trails and not mountains... Just make sure not to come to CO to bike as you are already in the "Mecca"...
  • 3 1
 @Whataboutism: Haha you’d be surprised dude although I don’t get it. Ehh CO has better riding for sure but you’d be surprised AR ain’t bad. AR is quiet and if there’s a ton of people here it kinda kills the one redeeming quality.
  • 1 0
 @cougar797: I want to enjoy it, but every trip I have made(while living in the midwest) I have been rained out trying to go early spring or late fall to miss the crowds.
  • 6 0
 @Whataboutism: I live in Colorado and went to Arkansas and I was very impressed! Great riding and great people!
  • 8 0
 need to get down there. love the riding around CB but never ridden near Aspen. is there a reason the video looks grainy, even in YouTube 4K? dunno if thats happening for anyone else...
  • 1 0
 wondering the same
  • 7 0
 Truly honored to get to meet @Bikerbrayd on this shoot - he is unbelievably talented on two wheels. Thanks for having us Aspen, I won't forget those views anytime soon!
  • 6 0
 I have family in the area. Looks like a trip is in order! They've apparently been hiding this from me.
  • 2 0
 Definitely worth checking out! You'll need a few days to see it all.
  • 6 0
 It's only become a noteworthy DH spot in the last 3-4 seasons with Aspen kicking up the funding for trail building/wanting an actual bike park. The same exact thing is happening in Telluride but their like 2 years behind Aspen.
  • 4 0
 I think this is my new favorite bike park in Colorado. It's got the natural, raw, fresh cut feel mixed in with super fun jump trails.
  • 2 0
 That zone has amazing biking and the bikepark is sweet. Sorry, Aspen sux. Nowhere have I been and found more economic stratification, more locals ready to make it known how superior they are. Go ahead and downvote me, it's true.
  • 5 0
 STUNNING photos! Now I'm starting the week with a smile on my face.
  • 1 0
 These trails look amazing, wish we had more proper large bike parks in Australia. Only complaint is that Pinkbike desperately needs to give Christina a better go pro. 4K on YouTube looks grainy af and spoils the enjoyment of watching it.
  • 5 0
 In awe of how hard Steve rips sans a fleshy outrigger. Whoa. And Arrrrrr!
  • 2 0
 I did a double take then a pause!! Amazing!
  • 2 0
 Great intro in the vid and pictures. Looks fun appreciate that they mentioned it wasn't chainless friendly. Would be great if somebody did a feature on the bike parks that are most chainless-friendly.
  • 2 0
 Downhill edition of First Impressions haha LOVE IT
  • 3 0
 Dust Bunny and Cowboy Coffee are "must ride" trails. Had so much fun on closing weekend last October!
  • 2 0
 "snowmass bike park, first impressions: presented by snowmass bike park", sounds like another great pinkbike article that is definitely not just an ad
  • 1 0
 Hey Steve can you not be a dingus and skid over everything. The two of you added absolutely nothing to the video, only redeeming quality is we didn’t get a lame ass appearance from #taeslyfe
  • 1 0
 I had a brief moment of hope they were open! One of my favorite parks. Some of the nicest jumps ever and animal crackers is rad too!
  • 2 0
 June 24th is opening this year.
  • 2 0
 killer trails, there are not a ton of trails, but its quality over quantity. banger pics!
  • 6 5
 Holy Shit. 50ish dollar lift ticket, this will be up to 120 by the time season opens, cuz Aspen.
  • 3 7
flag gretch6364 (May 2, 2022 at 12:11) (Below Threshold)
 This is the beauty of Aspen though. If it were cheap, it would be too crowded to enjoy. Luckily, for those of us with full winter ski passes, it is only $165 for a season pass to the bike park. Lunch laps as many days of the week as one wants...all summer long.
  • 3 0
 @gretch6364: I'm just shocked that it was that low. Good on Aspen/Snowmass
  • 1 0
 Make a local friend, get a 50% voucher. Or whatever the current season voucher is. You're welcome.
  • 1 1
 Nowhere on earth will you find a place so full of natural beauty that has been bought and paid for than Aspen. If this company could its winter rates ($200+/day) in the bike park, it definitely would.
  • 6 9
 The trails look great but those lawyer ramps are a bummer, how do you even see the landing behind all that wood? Im all for making a safe case zone but it has been taken way too far in Colorado. Just because Trestle has them on every feature doesnt mean every other park has to have them too, I would totally drive a little further to do a place that has legit drops and gaps.
  • 18 0
 I think it has a lot more to do with the amount of trail work Colorado bike parks receive/how loose our soil is relative to BC/ East Coast parks. The dirt ends of each landing turn into massive holes by the end of every season (at least at Trestle), this problem would be exacerbated if less skilled riders take the drop at lower speeds (& casing the landing). Most Western states have pretty expansive, dry soil, hence lots of bike parks are weary of creating trails that need lots of work.
  • 14 1
 Serious question: Is your experience ruined if you're an expert rider and you just air over those safety ramps?
Commercial bike parks have liability concerns, and having someone come up short on a drop or jump and really get wrecked could shut down the whole park. This is just the reality of a commercial bike operation.

Double black and pro line trails are a different story of course, but most of these trails were blue or black.
  • 7 1
 Personally I appreciate being able to learn a feature with a large margin of error so there’s less risk if you go too slow or too big. Once you have it dialed you just send over it, so I don’t really see what the issue is.
  • 7 0
 But how will I let people know how awesome and badass of a rider I am unless I simultaneously complain and humble brag in every article???
  • 4 0
 Stop complaining about places that have to pay for liability insurance and people go to to learn and improve, and go dig your own shit If you're so cool
  • 4 0
 Stop ya complaining and being selfish. I love to get a bit of air but can’t jump. If the trail team make my day safe then I’m all for it - in fact thank you to them - and you can still jump it any way.
  • 1 0
 That is why they call it "Colo-not-so-radical"
  • 1 0
 No elbow pads, but road rash instead. My kind of guy.
  • 8 8
 Snowmass Sucks.... I heard Trestle is sick though.
  • 3 2
 i 3 whit boucher
  • 1 4
 Looks kinda boring creativity on the trail parks are slippin
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