Local riders offer opinions on bike park closure
Local mountain bike racers are struggling with the closure of the Northstar-at-Tahoe mountain bike park, but are optimistic for next season.
Northstar’s trails closed for the summer due to construction, but the resort promises improvements for next year’s mountain bike season.
“It really sucks and it really hurt me,” said Paul Zarubin, a Truckee resident and Expert National “Super D” champion. “A lot of my training was part of the Thursday night series at Northstar.”
Zarubin was also optimistic, however.
“I wouldn’t say anything bad about Northstar because the promoters for the mountain bike events are telling me that Northstar is apologetic and really wants to hold a national level event.”
Dan Krenicki, a pro downhill mountain bike racer from Truckee who has won the State Cup at Northstar for the last two years, also has mixed feelings on the closure.
“I’m sad that it put a big hurt on mountain biking in the area, but I am also excited for Northstar when they open again. I’m hoping it will be better.”
The riders have had to travel farther to train without the use of Northstar. Zarubin said he was traveling to Auburn and riding his road bike, while Krenicki has had to drive all the way to Mammoth to work on his downhill riding.
Both riders look forward to Northstar reopening the mountain bike park next year.
“I’m kind of glad it’s being improved in a way,” Krenicki said. “The resort was for me and 15 other guys. It hasn’t been good for novice riders; it has catered to expert downhillers.”
But Krenicki is also somewhat skeptical.
“I’m afraid for next year. I don’t think the Ritz can be built in one year,” he said.
But Nicole Belt, spokeswoman for Northstar, said, “Right now the plan is to reopen in the summer of 2007.”
Belt addressed the reasons for the closure.
“It’s definitely to insure the safety of the guests. We didn’t think truck traffic and mountain bike traffic would mix very well,” she said.
Mountain bikers will profit from the work being done at Northstar, Belt said, with improvements to the trail system, new terrain and separate trails for bikers and hikers on the mountain. There will aslo be new and improved mountain bike retail, repair and rental facilities in the new Northstar village, Belt said.
“In the past, summer has accounted for 10 percent of our year’s income and the mountain bike park has accounted for a large percentage of that,” Belt said. “We are hoping to grow that business.”
Belt also mentioned the possibility of hosting a national level event, saying, “They are great for creating awareness of the mountain bike park.”
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.