As the seasons change here in Ellicottville, New York, so do the activities and lifestyles in and around the village. Golf clubs are dusted off, patios are frequented, and spokes are tightened as we welcome the sun and warm temperatures (which are long overdue after this winter!) If you find yourself one of those who craves the feeling of whipping through the trees, over roots, rocks and ridges, there is an exciting new prospect on the horizon for the local mountain biking community.
Bell Helmets has partnered with IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) to bring the ‘Bell Built Trails Grant’ to life, which has a lot of potential to add to the already impressive trail network at Holiday Valley Resort. We caught up with Dennis Baldwin of Bike & Bean in Ellicottville, and Shane Myers of Bell Helmets to find out more about this incredible opportunity.
Although this story is fairly new in concept, the reality is its quest began years ago, with Baldwin and members of WNYMBA (Western New York Mountain Bike Association) working together on developing master plans for several of the local trail networks. Their first attempt at participating in the Bell Built program - their focus was initially on the trail system at Allegany State Park - came up short. Realizing that a project focused on Holiday Valley and Ellicottville would garner more exposure, they then began pursuing a new trail design called a ‘flow trail’, which would lend two miles of this style of a track to the 7 they are currently presenting. Baldwin explained that a flow trail will provide a variety of challenging singletrack trails with elements like relatively high berms, rollers, jumps and wooden features, with alternate lines to encourage progression. More challenging than cross country singletrack, it’ll include grade changes and technical sections of rocks, drops and root systems but not as challenging or steep as a gravity or downhill trail.
Additionally, this flow trail will have a lot of benefits to the already popular trails at Holiday Valley, as it is the style of trail where expert riders can enjoy the functional style of the course, while beginner and intermediate riders can enjoy the smooth ride that a trail like this offers. The design plan calls for the track to begin at the top of Spruce Line and extend all the way down to the Yodeler base area, allowing riders to regulate and maintain their speed with minimal amount of pedaling. After consulting with Holiday Valley Marketing Director Jane Eshbaugh and Mountain Manager Steve Crowley, a plan was hatched to build a campaign to help earn this grant. And after making it through a heavily scrutinized selection process (beating out 75 other entries) Holiday Valley’s trail is now a finalist up against three other areas on the east coast, explained Shane Myers of Bell Helmets, who indicated he thinks based on the popularity of the Ellicottville trails, and the big MTB community in WNY, Holiday Valley has a real shot to earn this grant.
With all that said, here comes the important part: the success of this Bell Built project now lies in us, the local and regional community to see it through. This grant will be awarded via voting at bellhelmets.com/bellbuilt, so it is crucial that anyone who takes the time to read this article take an additional moment to click through and vote. It is estimated based on other voting regions that we will need around 10,000 votes to take home the grant! Once awarded, Bell will send out the crew from IMBA Trail Solutions to build the course, which would realistically be done by mid to end of summer. Voting will begin May 5, with the winner announced May 19. Baldwin encourages anyone looking to review the master plan or to get more information about the process to stop into Bike & Bean at 30 Washington Street or give him a shout at 716-699-BIKE.
The Ellicottville community is known for rallying around events like this, so let’s make it happen Summer Local readers!