Stratton eyes August bike trail openings

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STRATTON — As spring begins and thoughts of summer come more frequently, mountain bikers should keep the month of August in mind.

That's when Stratton Mountain Resort plans to open eight trails off the six-person American Express chairlift. They are to span 4.6 miles from midmountain and have beginner, intermediate and progressive options.

"The trails have basically been designed and mapped out," said Alexandra Malloy, resort communications and social media specialist. "They just haven't been built yet."

Vermont-based Sinuosity came up with the plan for "phase one" of construction. The focus is on hand building trail in order to minimize the environmental impact.

Myra Foster, marketing and communications director, said about four different permit applications were submitted for local and state approval.

"We have done all the work," she said. "The last permit has been submitted and we worked very closely with environmental and state officials in laying out the plans. So I believe any potential concerns were addressed in the planning stages."

No trails will be built off the summit as it is home to a bird species known as Bicknell's Thrush. Bike rentals will be available but information about hours and whether lessons or guided tours will be offered are expected in a later announcement.

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Other improvements coming as part of Alterra Mountain Company's $6.5 million investment at Stratton this year include paving on roads leading to the resort and the replacement of a snowmaking pipe in a beginner area that will be expanded.

Stratton has seen a marked increase in participation in learn to ski and ride programs, Foster said, noting there had been a record turnout for Learn to Ski and Snowboard Day nationwide this year.

Stratton added a new program for novices this year. The goal is to keep them interested in the sport.

"Stratton is proud to be a place where those looking to learn how to ski and snowboard can be comfortable and confident in their learning," Bill Nupp, Stratton's chief operating officer, said in a press release. "When you visit the Green Mountains, we want you to embrace the region's culture of exploration and the outdoors to the fullest. With this investment in mountain biking and terrain based learning, we're able to expand our offerings to guests and anyone looking to be a part of the outdoor community."

The capital spending at Stratton this year is part of Alterra's plan to invest $500 million in its resorts over the next five years. Projects are based on current needs and guest input, according to the press release.

Stratton will see upgrades to the Stratton Training and Fitness Center. New lockers will be added with digital locks, with an eye to optimizing space. Some new gym equipment also is coming.

The investment plan also calls for a new snow cat and safety pads to cover the 2,000 snow guns and lift towers.

This summer, a new golf program at the resort will allow children to play nine holes. And the summer concert series will begin Memorial Day Weekend with a free concert May 26 performed by The Eagles Experience.


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